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Three steps to a healthy, green, organic pregnancy

The Green Mama’s three steps to achieving the healthiest, greenest pregnancy

1.   Eat organic.

Pregnant women and children will especially benefit from eating organic food.

Studies have found that organic foods can be 25% more nutritious. Even more importantly, organic food doesn’t contain pesticides. Many pesticides, artificial growth hormones, and heavy metals found in conventional food is know to cross the placenta into the fetus. Because babies are virtually unable to detoxify until about 6 months of age, even subtle exposures can have lasting impacts on developing organ systems. Conventional produce uses more than 400 chemical pesticides and the residues remain on the food even after washing and have been linked to birth defects, early puberty, breast cancer and other cancers, and asthma.

When pesticides are used in the home (or when children live in farm areas where pesticides are used), childhood leukemia rates more than quadruple according to National Cancer Institute study. In meat, it is not just pesticide residue but artificial growth hormones that remain in the meat. As well, non-organic animal products can be exposed to radiation and in the U.S. cloned animal products are also coming onto the market. 

The most important foods to ALWAYS eat organic include:

  • Animal products (free-range is also very important in animal products), including: eggs, dairy, chicken, beef, pork, etc.
  • Rice (pesticides show-up in rice more than most other grains)
  • Concentrated foods e.g. baby foods, tomato paste, fruit juice (all which can have concentrated levels of pesticide residue as well)
  • The Dirty Dozen (most contaminated) fruits and vegetables: tree fruits e.g. apples and peaches are always among the worst fruits and celery and leafy greens are among the most contaminated vegetables. To learn more about which foods have consistently have the most pesticides, and which ones are better visit
  • Seafood is another important food to find “kid safe” i.e. lower in mercury and PCBs but the organic label is basically meaningless for seafood. Visit Safer seafood includes: farmed blue mussels, US farmed crayfish, farmed bay scallops, farmed tilapia (US/Central America), Northern US and Canadian shrimp, Wild Alaskan Salmon (Chum, Coho, and Pink)

2. Learn to read product labels on your skincare products

Pull out the magnifiying glass and start looking at the fine print. You will be glad you have because beauty products and babycare products are stock full of known endocrine disruptors (effect hormone systems), neurotoxins, and carcinogens. Yes! Even those products that cost more, say “safe for baby,” or “natural” can be loaded with toxins. In fact, baby products can be the worst offenders.

Much of what you use on your skin passes through your blood-brain barrier and much of this can pass through the placenta. You have likely applied more than 126 unique chemicals to your body today according to independent researchers at the Environmental Working Group and the majority of these have never been tested for human safety. 

Learn the worst offenders.  Read the blog or print it out and take it shopping with you. (Or, remember: for your baby and for yourself when you are pregnant, trust yourself: if it smells strongly perfumed or if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, then avoid the product if you can.

Want a short-cut? These certifications will protect you from all, or most, of the worst chemicals found in body-care products: Natrue, BDIH certified  natural cosmetic, EcoCert, USDA Organic.

3. Be picky about plastics.

Try to forego plastic in your: cooking utensils and pans (no non-stick), food and beverage cans (which are lined with plastic), tea or coffee pot, to-go containers (Styrofoam is among the most dangerous plastics), left-over containers, and in your beauty care products (that’s right phthalates are in plastics and body care products and are known carcinogens).

Plastics and plastic by-products are being linked with reproductive issues (estrogen mimickers), birth defects, neurological disorders, and cancer. The big offenders are phthalates (estrogen mimicking, and suspect human carcinogens), BPA (estrogen mimicking), vinyl (contains phthalates and lead), and Styrene (possible human carcinogen). As well, plastic never biodegrades and plastic molecules are found in every drop of seawater.

Some of my favourite resources on these topics:,, and Read more by The Green Mama on this very topic at What to

Written by Manda Aufochs Gillespie, The Green Mama. The Green Mama works with hundreds of expectant parents as well as parents. Ask us how we can save you hundreds of dollars and hours of worry by UN-Toxifying your Nursery.

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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