During the first weeks of pregnancy, a baby's body experiences rapid growth and each development depends on a precise and successful development in the previous stage. Because so much is happening so quickly, these first weeks are a particularly vulnerable period. Given that almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned, living a conscious and ecological lifestyle may be the best thing you can do to prepare your body to have children, planned or not.
This also applies to gentlemen: it is known that toxins affect the health and mobility of sperm. To prevent birth defects or other unwanted health impacts, start now.
Here are 10 tips to prepare for your pregnancy:
1. Avoid products with pesticides. According to the Environmental Working Group, you can reduce your pesticide exposure by 90 percent by simply avoiding the most conventionally contaminated agricultural products: peaches, apples, sweet peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuces, imported grapes, carrots, etc. and the pears. If you are really craving one of these foods, opt for the organic. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that have the lowest levels of pesticide residues include: onion, avocado, sweet corn, pineapple, mango, asparagus, peas, kiwi, cabbage, eggplant, papaya, watermelon, broccoli, tomato and sweet potato.
2. Celebrate with folic acid before conception and during pregnancy. Sources include dry beans and peas, citrus fruits, spinach and broccoli. Adequate folic acid in the early stages of the baby's development helps prevent neurological defects, such as spina bifida. Note: too much folic acid may represent your own risk, so talk to your doctor about how much you need.
3. Reduce the consumption of alcohol and caffeine, and stop smoking. Women who smoke during pregnancy (or are exposed to secondhand smoke) are more likely to give birth to small babies with low birth weight. Alcohol and caffeine decrease overall health and can negatively affect the fetus.
4. It facilitates the consumption of animal fats. Animal products may contain synthetic hormones, antibiotics and organochlorine chemicals, such as dioxin, DDT and other pesticides, which are concentrated in animal fat. The same chemicals that accumulate in animal fats are transferred to ours when we eat them. Then they remain there for years causing damage in silence. When buying meat, chicken or dairy products, look for low-fat options (get the unsaturated fats your body needs from plant sources like nuts, flax seeds and avocados). Trim all fats and skins and grab meats and fish so that the fats run out. Avoid frying, as it will block contaminants. You can also do your body a favor by reducing the amount of meat you eat. Making even a vegetarian meal a week can make a big difference.
5. Select safer seafood. Eating seafood is the main way we are exposed to methylmercury, a potent neurotoxin. Fish can also be contaminated with PCBs, which are a probable carcinogen. Even so, fish are an important source of good fats known as omega-3 fatty acids. Eat seafood in moderation and choose types with lower levels of contamination such as herring, mackerel, anchovies, clams, wild Alaskan salmon, shrimp, tilapia and sea bass.
6. Be smart with plastics. Some plastics cause dangerous contamination during manufacture and others contain chemicals suspected of causing harm, especially to developing fetuses. Avoid those numbered 1, 3, 6 or 7 (PC). These resin codes are usually on the bottom of an element in a triangle of arrows. When using any plastic, be sure not to use it in the microwave or with hot foods (the heat promotes leaching). Discard or stop using food and beverages when the product begins to show signs of wear. Also, prohibit the can. Canned foods and beverages are coated with a plastic resin that contains bisphenol-A, a hormone-altering chemical. Many manufacturers are beginning to explore safer alternatives, but in the meantime you should choose fresh, dried or frozen foods or packaged in glass jars.
7. Wet your whistle with water. Americans drink an overwhelming amount of soft drinks, sports drinks, energy stimulants, juices (which often contain little juice) and other bottled beverages. The first problem with this is that most of these drinks are full of artificial sweeteners and flavors and colors. The second is that they are bottled in plastic, which can filter additional chemicals into the drink. Your body has approximately 70% water, so hydrate it with water! Skip single-use bottled water that can be contaminated with the plastic bottle (it is also less regulated than tap water). Make an investment in a water filter and reusable stainless steel water bottles. They pay quickly by themselves.
8. Take a lead test while planning your pregnancy. Lead is a potent neurotoxin that is stored in the bones and can be passed to a developing baby through the placenta. Test your paint if your house was built before 1978. The US Environmental Protection Agency UU Maintains a list of certified laboratories where you can send paint samples. The removal of lead paint should only be done by a professional and pregnant women should stay away from the area until it is thoroughly cleaned. Take a lead test in your tap water and talk to your doctor about getting a blood lead test.
9. Use less personal care products. Many personal care products contain chemicals that alter the hormones your baby will depend on for proper development. And others contain carcinogens and neurotoxicants, among other things. The best thing for you and your baby is to reduce the amount you use and choose the safest products. Look for products with fewer ingredients, ideally those with the USDA Certified Organic Seal. Avoid products with parabens, phthalates (DEHP, BBP, DBP, DMP, DEP), DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance, Triclosan, Lauryl Sodium / Laureth Sulfate, DEA (diethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine), Formaldehyde, PEGs and polyethylene glycol. anything with "glycol" or "methyl".
10. Clean without toxic chemicals. You do not need a chemical arsenal to keep your home clean. Basic ingredients, such as baking soda and vinegar, can cope with most household chores. Or, you can look for natural products in the store (however, do not be fooled by the marketing, check the label to see the ingredients). Avoid products that say poison, warning or danger and products with unidentified "fragrance". You should also avoid the main toxins: nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE), triclosan, ammonia, chlorine bleach, DEA, TEA, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid.
Christopher Gavigan is the Executive Director of Healthy Child Healthy World. For more than a decade, he has dedicated himself to improving the lives of children and families. He has a degree in environmental sciences and geography from the University of California, Santa Bárbara, and has extensive postgraduate training in child psychology and education. He has worked as a professor of ecology and science in Los Angeles and the Bay Area of San Francisco, and as a specialist in children and families. He is the founder of Pinnacle Expeditions, an outdoor leadership program for teenagers.
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