My Guide to a Healthy, Toxin-Free Pregnancy

Alicia in Wonderland Blog - My Guide To a Healthy, Toxin-Free Pregnancy

If you read my previous post about my full pregnancy journey (seen here), you already know that it has not been easy for us to become parents. Since I knew that things would be difficult for me, I started early adjusting my lifestyle choices to try to get myself as healthy as possible to try to better my odds of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. The most important thing that I adjusted was with what we were eating. While I have pretty much always eaten healthy, I took extra efforts to eliminate toxins from our diet, keeping it as organic as possible.

There are a million articles out there of things you should avoid while pregnant. To err on the side of caution, I eliminated anything that may be potentially hazardous while pregnant. I did a lot of reading, and put together my own master list of things to avoid. Here is my own list of things that I eliminated throughout the course of my pregnancy to try to ensure the healthiest possible outcome for our baby.

1. The obvious things like sushi & alcohol. I even limited myself to only consuming the host when going to Communion at mass (during the phases of my pregnancy when I was allowed to attend mass).
2. Cheeses made from raw milk (I know there is some debate on this issue, but again, I didn’t want to take any chances).
3. Soft and unpasteurized cheeses (e.g. brie, feta, camembert, blue cheese, and Mexican-style cheeses).
4. Coffee, soda & other sources of caffeine. Once I started developing issues with my heart later in the pregnancy, I even had to completely cut out chocolate per my doctor’s advice.
5. Any foods with nitrates (e.g. lunch meats, hot dogs, etc.).
6. Any high mercury seafood.
7. Any raw seafood such as lox.
8. Eliminated sugar as much as possible.
9.  GMO’s and fruits and vegetables treated with pesticides, etc. I continuously snacked on organic fruit and veggies (made easier since much of it was growing in our garden).
10. Canned foods (since these contain BPA).
11. Water in plastic bottles (I started carrying around my stainless steel water bottle everywhere I go).
12. Food with large amounts of preservatives and additives.
13. Anything with MSG.
14. Any food with any artificial coloring. I am allergic to red food dye, and figured I might as well eliminate the others as well.
15. Processed and bleached starch options (e.g. white bread, white flour tortillas, etc.) – replaced with whole grain alternatives.
16. Any artificial sweeteners. I haven’t read anything in specific showing any issues that these might cause with pregnancy, but with my goal to cut out anything that isn’t natural and healthy, I eliminated these as well.

In addition to eliminating certain types of foods, I also eliminated a number of things in my beauty routine as well.
17. Any skin care products with salicylic acid.
18. Any skin care products with retinols.
19. Standard perfumes (since these contain surprisingly high levels of formaldehyde).
20. Standard sunscreens – replaced with natural, paba free versions without lots of chemicals.
21. My regular facial moisturizer – replaced with a natural version with SPF 30.
22. Standard nail polish and remover – replaced with natural versions without acetone, formaldehyde, or other strong chemicals.
23. All over hair dye.
24. Any of my “fancy” lotions – replaced with lotions with natural and organic ingredients, all paraben and phthalate free.
25. Any self tanners. Even though I wasn’t going anywhere most of the pregnancy, I was tempted to use some on a couple of occasions but refrained. After months of only getting sun exposure through a window, I have never been so pale and pasty in my life! I haven’t specifically read anything discouraging the use of these, but again…why bother with any extra unnecessary chemicals going into your system?
26. Any “regular” makeup – replaced with natural and mineral products (although most days I just went without makeup anyway).
27. Any whitening toothpaste or tooth whitening products.
28. Basically any other products with any artificial scents, etc. That was also largely driven by my sudden super sensitive sense of smell and never-ending morning sickness. Even the pets had to switch to hair care products without lots of artificial scents. 🙂

Also, this was already part of my normal routine, but if it hadn’t been, I would have switched out to all natural cleaning products as well. You can read more about my eco-friendly cleaning routine here. I also started myself on organic prenatal vitamins with probiotics and herbal supplements long before I got pregnant, as well as some DHA supplements as well. Also something I had been doing anyway…we made sure any paints being used in our house were zero VOC paints.

I am not trying to encourage paranoia about what you should or should not do while pregnant, nor am I trying to pass judgment on anyone who does not avoid everything on my extensive list while pregnant. I instituted these changes in order to feel as healthy as possible, and feel confident that I am giving this baby the best possible start to his life that I can.

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Baby E – “I prayed for this child”

Time has been flying by lately. I feel like I am trying to play catchup after so many months of inactivity. I spent most of last week trying to catch up on almost two months of housework that had to get put aside while I recovered from the extreme Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction pain, as well as recovering from my c-section as well. One of these days, I want to start working on really recovering my garden as well, but that will take a bit more time. Whenever I have a few free moments, I have been trying to finish working on processing all of the pictures from baby E’s newborn sessions that I shot. I am extremely proud of the session that I posted on our photography blog today…be sure to take a look (link here)!

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Happy Earth Day!

Today, I was so happy to find an abundance of goodies in our garden, despite months of neglect from me being laid up with the pregnancy! I did a little Earth Day photoshoot with baby E to celebrate. Be sure to check out all of the pictures on our photography blog, here!

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My Maternity Photo Session Posted!

I just uploaded my own maternity session onto our photography blog! 🙂 Be sure to head over and take a look!

http://www.apluscphotography.com/blog/babies-kids/2013/03/my-own-maternity-session/15

Current Projects Around Our House

I am currently on pregnancy bed rest, so unfortunately my involvement with the projects around our house has come to a temporary standstill.  My husband on the other hand has been quite busy working on a number of projects.  Currently, he is working on building some pantry cabinets for the unused space in our laundry room, and a major project with the bedrooms.

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The bedrooms all have gross popcorn ceilings, so while he is doing a massive reorganization of these rooms, he is taking the chance to first scrape the popcorn off the ceilings. Luckily for us, the popcorn ceilings were actually recently applied by the previous owners, and one of the inspectors tested them to show that they are not the asbestos based popcorn ceilings that were so popular in decades past. Which means he can safely remove the popcorn himself, without having to hire a team of professionals. Before he started, he laid down paper floor tarp to catch everything he scraped off. Next he will start repainting the rooms.

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He also recently did a major overhaul on the bedroom that will be the baby’s room. Since our house has literally no insulation, he opened up the wall and added insulation, made new trim for around the window, painted, and more. Eventually, he plans to do the same for the other bedrooms as well, but in the interest of time (the baby will be coming soon!), the other rooms will be fine with just a new coat of paint for now.

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I apologize for the cell phone only pictures. I am not allowed to lift anything at the moment, which includes my dSLR. “Real” pictures of all of the rooms will be coming as soon as my doctor says I am allowed to start walking around/lifting things again! 🙂

Unexpected Summer “Project” #4…A Very Special Announcement: The Expected Arrival of Our Very Own Baby!

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Life has been crazier than expected the past few months.  Every project with our new house has taken longer than we expected.  We also had the unexpected stress of fixing up the house the my husband built in Texas after it was unexpectedly vacated, and putting that house on the market (original post here).  Amidst all of that stress, I had been undergoing a series of infertility testing, without much expectation that we would be able to get pregnant.  One of the procedures was particularly painful, took me a while to recover afterward, and left us quite discouraged with the results.

I have been told by numerous doctors ever since I was 12 years old that I would never be able to have children.  We had discussed it at great length before we got married, and had for the most part accepted the fact that our children may all be furry and walk on four legs. 🙂  We were okay if it never happened, but still wanted to find out what our odds were.

Immediately after we got married, we weren’t really ready to try to have a baby in our old house, and wanted to wait until we found a house of our own that didn’t have dangerous issues like black mold (that the landlord didn’t care to handle).  We began the search for a home of our own, and decided to focus on finding out more information about our odds of having a baby of our own once we were moved into our new home.  Since I was diagnosed with a number of different causes of infertility before we got married and ever started talking about having a baby, it was important to us to find out more information about what the risks/odds were of us trying to have a baby of our own.  I started a month-long series of infertility testing with a new doctor, and we were anxious to find out the results.  During the process, I surprisingly got pregnant!  When I went in for my follow up appointment for my infertility testing, there was a lot of confusion when it was discovered that I was actually pregnant. 🙂  I just had my second ultrasound of Baby Stanley, and am just about into my second trimester!  We are so excited and stunned…this is something that we really did not ever expect would happen for us. 🙂

The first trimester of this pregnancy has been particularly rough.  Since we still do not have a functioning kitchen, we have been forced to deal with eating out nightly. I got fed up with trying to battle flies and mosquitoes while trying to cook dinner on the camping stove in our patio each night.  Also, the battle of doing dishes in a bucket is just not worthwhile at this point since I am not supposed to lift anything heavy per my doctor, given my unique health conditions.  For people without food allergies, eating out every night might sound fun, but for me it is like playing Russian Roulette with my health every night.   We hope each time we order food that whoever is cooking the food pays attention and does not get me sick from cross contamination.  Unfortunately, I have not been completely lucky in the process.

I have spent the better part of the past few months really sick with allergic reactions.  Since one of my food allergies is chicken, it is pretty difficult to avoid.  Twice in the past few months I have bitten into some “vegetarian” pizza and found a piece of chicken sausage in my mouth.  Under normal circumstances, I could just take some medicine to alleviate the symptoms and go about my normal life.  However, being pregnant, I can’t take any of those medications now, and the symptoms have just dragged on for weeks, leaving me feeling miserable.  My husband has been working hard on the kitchen, and hopefully we will have some bit of functionality soon!

Normally, I do not delve into such personal matters here on my blog.  I hope that in reading this, it may give some other couples struggling with infertility issues some hope.  We feel strongly that despite all the odds, I have gotten pregnant only through prayer, faith, the grace of God, and the strength of our love.  We can’t wait to meet our little miracle baby in March!