Updated: Dec 2, 2019
From painting your baby's room to brushing your teeth, some of these are so common that you are going to be surprised...
1. Using a special cream for dark spots
Having facial dark spots (melasma) is common among pregnant women. Some of us might feel tempted to use a whitening cream during pregnancy, but you should wait.
Some whitening creams contain Hydroquinone that is very effective at preventing pigmentation but also highly absorbed into the skin. This chemical is related to congenital disabilities. We recommend you to wait till after you deliver your baby before you treat your face. If you can't wait, seek professional advice and orientation.
2. Painting the baby's room
Most paints, especially oil-based ones, release toxic volatile compounds, especially the core ingredients, toluene (a solvent) is one of concern. Toluene has been associated with low birth weight and neurological, ear, face and neck abnormalities. In the house, interior air is sometimes more polluted than exterior air, partly because of the volatile compounds of paint. It's advisable that someone else paints the baby's room for you, and that you choose a non-toxic paint for your or your baby’s room. Among the alternatives, we have vegetable and mineral derived paints and special latex paint with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOC's). The bottom line is to make sure that whatever you choose doesn't contain this or any equally toxic solvents.
3. Wearing sunscreen
Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen every day to prevent skin cancer. Matter-of-factly, sunlight protection is very important for pregnant women to avoid dark spots, but the kind of filter used should be considered too. Gynecologists have found chemicals like Oxybenzone in the maternal bloodstream, placental vessels, and amniotic fluid. Oxybenzone classifies as an endocrine disruptor, and its effects on the fetus are still being studied. You should always use sunscreen but for the safety of your baby, choose a mineral-based sunscreen, like zinc oxide. Being a mineral with reflective properties, zinc oxide does not penetrate the skin and is also hypoallergenic.
4. You are brushing your teeth
Wait...what? Isn’t this going’ a bit too far? No, we aren’t suggesting that you stop brushing your teeth, or tell you to brush your teeth with coconut oil and clay. We’re only advising that you check for this one ingredient, Triclosan. Triclosan is an antimicrobial that is present in some toothpaste brands, and while most companies avoid it, some others keep using it. Although as an antibacterial, Triclosan can prevent gum diseases but when used by pregnant women, it can cause abnormal thyroid functioning. Thyroid hormone is vital for neural development in the newborn. Study and research are still ongoing on this. A completed research found that higher urinary concentrations of Triclosan in a mother cause inferior performance in cognitive testing in children at the age of 8.
5. Wearing red lipstick … or any regular lipstick!
Regular makeup can contain many toxins like fragrance, phthalates, and preservatives like parabens, which has a noncontroversial reputation as a hormonal disruptor. We barely think about it, but many women, even from adolescence, wear makeup every day. Whatever is in makeup, people don’t care. They use up to 10 different cosmetic products (even 20 if you are watching YouTube's makeup tutorials), applying them all over the skin, inside the eyes, even on the lips, inhaling it, absorbing and swallowing it. Even if we decide to care about what's inside our makeup, labels are tiny, the ingredients list are long and minuscule, and we have so many of them! Who would read them all? But seriously, we should; we should read them all. We should use less makeup, from a later age and they should be free of toxins.
You should not obsess over safety. It’s enough to live every day more mindfully, be more aware of your surroundings and make smart choices when you can.
If you haven't yet, read the previous post of 5 during pregnancy habits that could be toxic for your baby and soon we’ll complete an article with a to-do list for a safer home.