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Archive for the ‘in the womb’ Category

making the healthiest nest for your baby

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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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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Free prenatal vitamins for the Midwest!

Posted by NonToxic House on May 29, 2008

Starting this weekend, all 182 Meijer store pharmacies in the Midwest will be offering free prenatal vitamins for soon-to-be moms – including those in baby-making mode.

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Pregnant? Folic acid could counteract bisphenol A

Posted by NonToxic House on April 18, 2008

It’s not a new study, but it’s highly relevant in light of recent news about the risks of bisphenol A. Read on for the scoop:

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BPA concern greater in canned goods (sorry, Chef Boyardee)

Posted by NonToxic House on April 17, 2008

This week’s study by the National Toxicology Program put the spotlight on the potential health risks of BPA. But it seems everyone has latched onto the (polycarbonate) baby bottle connection and overlooked the fact that the lining of food and beverage cans (including infant formula) incorporate BPA-embedded plastic as well.

In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group, canned foods are thought to be the predominate route of BPA exposure, and instances in the womb and during early childhood hold particular risk. In some instances, a single exposure contained enough BPA to bring a woman or infant to levels more than 200 times the government’s traditional safe level for industrial chemicals.

In light of that, it would surely be prudent to avoid, as best as possible, canned goods. Read on for some alternatives to consider:

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Posted in baby-making, bisphenol A, detox your home, food & nutrition, in the womb, plastics | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Bisphenol-A in food cans, baby bottles (and more) a risk

Posted by NonToxic House on April 16, 2008

A new federal government report is raising concern about Bisphenol A  – a chemical (also called BPA) found in many baby bottles, water bottles, sippy cups, food storage containers, dental sealants, the lining of metal food cans (including infant formula) and some children’s toys. Though it says more research is needed, the National Toxicology Program’s report clearly indicates risk with BPA exposure: 

“…there is some concern for neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures. The NTP also has some concern for bisphenol A exposure in these populations based on effects in the prostate gland, mammary gland, and an earlier age for puberty in females …”

How can you reduce your children’s (and your own) exposure to BPA?

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Hydrate safely

Posted by NonToxic House on April 8, 2008

If you’re expecting, you need lots of water to stay hydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends pregnant women drink about 10 cups a day. Nursing mums should drink more, up to 12.5 cups, because breast-feeding depletes your fluids.

But does it matter where all this water comes from?

Absolutely! A recent Associated Press investigation found high levels of prescription drugs in the tap water of 24 major metro areas around the country. And the Environmental Working Group’s 2005 study of water test results found more than 141 contaminants (including rocket fuel) in 42 states.

Sadly, pure water just isn’t a guarantee. So, here are some tips on how to hydrate safely:

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Posted in detox your home, drinking water, food & nutrition, in the womb | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Get the lead out (of your home)

Posted by NonToxic House on April 4, 2008


Remodeling? Then you should test painted surfaces and your plumbing for lead. Kids and developing babies are highly sensitive to the effects of lead: it can cause birth defects, anemia, behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth and hearing issues. Adults are also prone to complications, including reproductive problems .

This week, the EPA issued new rules for contractors renovating older homes where children or pregnant women live. The standards will require them to get training for proper lead abatement, including avoiding the use of sandblasters and other power tools that work up lead dust. But, contractors won’t be required to meet the standards until 2010.

So, until then, how can you safely renovate your home?

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Pregnant (or working on it)? Detox your diet!

Posted by NonToxic House on March 31, 2008


Decisions over what to eat can be overwhelming when you’re pregnant – or if you’re trying. You know you’ll need to fuel your growing baby with good stuff and avoid passing bad stuff along. But, what’s good? What’s bad?

I came across some great advice from Fit Pregnancy. They’ve simplified food choices down to six simple steps, using The Whole Pregnancy Handbook by Joel M. Evans, M.D., and Robin Aronson (Gotham Books, 2005) as their guide. Read on for the tips:

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