Making healthy babies and keeping them healthy, happy … and safe.

Flu shot during pregnancy?

Posted by NonToxic House on November 12, 2008

Flu season is just about to pounce. And if you’re pregnant it’s something you’re likely concerned about. But I’m still on the fence about a flu shot.

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Posted in mercury, vaccines | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Air travel during pregnancy

Posted by NonToxic House on August 18, 2008

The last thing I thought I’d be doing during my first trimester would be hopping on a plane to spend a week in far Eastern Europe. But I’m heading out. And before I do, I checked in with my doc to make sure it was kosher. Since I don’t have a worrisome history of health complications, she gave me the all clear. Her take is that air travel is fine up through 24 weeks. It’s on a case by case basis after that.

The only increased risk I’d have of traveling by air during pregnancy is one of thrombophlebitis, or blood clots in the veins. It sounds bad and the incidents of blood clots due to air travel are widely publicized. But they are relatively uncommon

Here are some tips on how to prevent them:

  • Take a walk. Get up and take a walk down the aisles, as allowed. At least once an hour.
  • Stretch your calves. If the seatbelt light is lit, you can still flex your calves to keep the blood circulating properly
  • Massage your legs. Reach down and massage your legs regularly. If space allows and your travel companion is willing, ask for a leg massage
  • Drink fluids. Water, water and more water. We all know the dehydrating effects of plane cabins.

And some general tips on traveling while pregnant:

  • Pick an aisle seat; ask for a bulkhead, if possible
  • Carry snacks; stingy airlines probably won’t have what you need
  • Try motion sickness wrist bands
  • Avoid gas-producing foods before a flight; your intensines are naturally slower during pregnancy and air travel exacerbates the effect
  • Avoid fitted clothing and wear comfortable shoes
  • Rather than go through security checkpoint machines, request a hand or wand search. [Note: the machines are said to be safe, but since you will experience some radiation exposure from the atmosphere during flight, why not minimize it overall?] 
  • You might also want to look into compression stockings or support hose 

Of course, check with your doc first. Particulary if you have health complications, a history of difficult pregnancies or if your travel plans include locations where special immunizations are required or food/water quality issues are active. For a more extensive review of travel precautions during pregnancy, here’s an extensive writeup from the CDC.

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safeBABY is …

Posted by NonToxic House on July 29, 2008

… expecting! Exciting news! Am looking forward to a pregnancy that’s healthy, happy and safe. Can’t wait to meet you, baby!

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What’s in your car seat?

Posted by NonToxic House on July 23, 2008

A new report from the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based advocacy group, warns parents that car seats contain certain dangerous chemicals. The group released its second annual guide to toxins in car seats this week. Read on for the details…  Read the rest of this entry »

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Banned cancer-causing fire retardant still in use

Posted by NonToxic House on July 14, 2008

Fire retardants are designed to protect you and your family – and that’s good – but there are growing concerns over some of them.

This week, for instance, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  ran a story indicating that a flame retardant called “chlorinated tris” –  which was banned from use in children’s pajamas more than 30 years ago after it was found to cause cancer – is being used with increasing regularity in furniture, paint – even baby carriers and bassinets – and manufacturers are under no obligation to let the public know about it.

Chlorinated Tris is meant to make products like upholstered furniture and mattresses safer by preventing them from catching fire. But the Journal Sentinel‘s story leaves many wondering which is the bigger risk: a potential fire or the product meant to minimize it?

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Posted in detox your home, fire retardants | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Safer lawns and gardens

Posted by NonToxic House on July 1, 2008









Don’t wait until your kids are rolling in the grass or digging in your tomato beds to rethink your lawn and garden strategy. In fact, research suggests that it’s something to consider before the little ones even come along.

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FDA revises its position on the safety of mercury fillings

Posted by NonToxic House on June 16, 2008

The FDA has revised its position on the safety of amalgams (silver-colored mercury fillings) for pregnant women and small children. A lawsuit by a group of consumer advocacy organizations prompted the revision on the FDA site, which now reads,

Dental amalgams contain mercury, which may have neurotoxic effects on the nervous systems of developing children and fetuses

Until now, the FDA had never admitted there were potential “neurotoxic effects” from mercury fillings. Despite the new admission, though, the FDA does not advise pregnant women to remove your silver-colored fillings because the process could expose you to mercury vapors. And while the agency says it doesn’t have enough information to advise women against mecury fillings altogether, it does say it will come up with a final decision and, potentially, more specific warnings by next summer. 

Until then, here are some resources:

And some tips:

  • Visit the dentist before you become pregnant, if possible
  • Avoid chewing gum and grinding your teeth if you currently have silver-colored fillings (the FDA says mercury can be released via normal chewing activity)
  • Consider gold, composite (tooth-colored)* or glass fillings, though they are said to be less durable than the mercury fillings.

This post probably raises more questions, but the truth is that there aren’t any easy solutions. Even dentists are split on the issue of silver-colored fillings. One thing is clear, though: everyone involved in this controversy is clear to say that you shouldn’t avoid dental care if it’s needed. Just get educated and ask smart questions, and make the best decisions you can.

* Be sure to review this post about dental sealants and composite (tooth-colored) fillings, which contain BPA but are said to be less harmful than amalgam (silver-colored, containing mercury) fillings.


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Tips and Resources: Non-toxic toys

Posted by NonToxic House on June 6, 2008

The thought of inspecting every toy for toxicity can be overwhelming for some, while others revel in the empowering feeling of cleaning out the toy bin (guess which camp I fall in?). I think I can satisfy both groups with some general guidelines to help you choose non-toxic toys and some detailed tips and resources to help you examine your existing batch and new ones you bring into your home.

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Anamalz: non-toxic wooden toys that flex

Posted by NonToxic House on June 6, 2008


It takes a bit more effort to find a safe non-toxic toy. Many plastic toys – rubber duckies, bath books, teethers, etc. – are made of PVC (plastic #3), which uses a group of chemicals called phthalates (pronounced “tha-lates”) that make the plastic soft and pliable but also have been shown to disrupt hormones and cause other health issues.

Wooden toys are definitely a safer alternative…

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Food coloring linked to hyperactivity, says advocacy group

Posted by NonToxic House on June 4, 2008

Fruit Roll-ups get their ‘fruity’ colors from Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40 and Blue 1 – artifical food colorings. The ‘blueberries’ in Aunt Jemima waffles are blue because they contain a mix of Red 40 and Blue 2. And Kraft’s guacamole dip is green, but not from avocados – from a combination of Yellow 5, Yellow 6 and Blue 1. 

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