Household Products to Avoid When Trying for a Baby
Now you’ve decided to start trying for a baby, it’s necessary that you decrease your exposure to chemicals that can affect your fertility. Here are some household products that you should avoid.
Scrubs, Soaps, and Creams with Parabens
These common household products are not as safe as you might think. In fact, if you’re trying to conceive, you should watch out for the chemicals found in makeup, body wash, creams, and soap. Those that contain parabens–a preservative commonly used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.
Parabens have a chemical structure that’s similar to estrogen, implying that they can mimic the effects of that hormone in your body. Thus, products containing parabens have the potential to cause hormonal imbalance and, consequently, affect your fertility.
When next you’re in the market for household products such as conditioner, body wash, and soaps, watch out for parabens-containing products and ditch them in the six months leading up to conception and during the period that you’re trying for a baby. Ingredients that have the word “paraben” in it include:
- Sodium butylparaben
You have no need to worry if you’re using a vegetable-based dye. Fortunately, most commercial hair dyes that are available on the market are vegetable-based and safe for use during pregnancy. However, it is generally recommended that women should wait until after 10 weeks of gestation–when organogenesis is complete–before using any sort of chemical.
Tip: Go for vegetable hair dyes and methods such as hair painting and highlighting to avoid chemicals from getting in contact with your scalp. Read additional precautions to take when dyeing your hair during pregnancy.
House Paint and Paint Products
You should avoid freshly painted rooms for a few days (approximately three days) or skin contact with paint. Of note, you should keep away from oil-based paints and other products such as paint thinners and painting supplies containing lead or mercury when you’re trying to get pregnant. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that women trying to get pregnant should avoid latex paints containing ethylene glycol ethers and biocides.
Studies have suggested that exposure to paints and paint products can increase your risk of miscarriage. Exposure to these products has also been linked to birth defects, with the risk being higher during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that lead can pass through the umbilical cord to the fetus and cause a miscarriage, premature delivery, and low birth weight. Babies born to mothers who suffered from lead poisoning are reported to have developmental disorders and nervous system of kidney damage.
Tip: So, if you’re prepping to paint your nursery, it would be wise to have your partner do it or hire someone to take care of the job. If you can’t get someone to paint your nursery, you should at least wear protective gear if you plan to do it yourself.
Bisphenol A (BPA) in Plastic Containers and Cans
Bisphenol A is a chemical found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are usually used in food containers and water bottles.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises women planning to get pregnant to avoid BPA because it has been linked to recurrent miscarriage.
According to the National Institute for Health, you can take the following precautions to avoid BPA:
- Don’t heat food in the microwave using plastic containers. Repeated microwaving of plastic food containers will result in their breakdown and subsequently, BPA will be released into food.
- Always check the recycle codes at the bottom of the plastic food container. Those that have codes 3 and 7 may contain BPA.
Canned foods have also been linked to BPA risk. The study also suggested that people who consumed canned soups and pasta were exposed to higher concentrations of BPA than canned vegetables and fruit foods.
Tip: If you need to microwave food, use a glass container instead. Avoid canned foods as much as you can. Buy fresh vegetables and fruits and dry foods instead.
Perfumes and Home Deodorizer Sprays
Most of us appreciate pleasant odor, don’t we? While most of these products are safe, it is prudent to avoid them when you’re trying to conceive.
Synthetic fragrances, for example, can cause of disruption of hormone levels and should, therefore, be avoided by women trying to get pregnant.
Additionally, women should avoid products containing phthalates–compounds used in a wide range of cosmetic and food products–and synthetic musk.
Tip: To be on a safer side, keep fragrances out of your shopping list for now and opt for pure essential oils. However, talk to your doctor first to find out which ones are safe for you.
Nail Polish and Nail Polish Remover
Want to have pretty fingernails and toes? That’s totally fine; however, you should watch out for those containing acetone, which has been linked to fertility. No worries, if you’ve had to use it a couple of times before stumbling on this post. Acetone-based products can only affect your fertility if you’ve been exposed to the chemical frequently or for long periods.
Tip: Go for toxin-free nail polish and use acetone-free nail polish remover. Here are some non-toxic nail polish brands that you can choose from:
- Smith & Cult
- Deborah Lippman
- Butter LONDON + PANTONE
Retinoids and Retinol-Based Skin Care Products
When you’re trying for a baby, you should be ready to give up some of your favorite beauty products, especially those that contain retinoids such as aging creams, foundation, or face masks.
Retinoids can disturb the development of an embryo or fetus and cause craniofacial, cardiovascular, and central nervous system defects. They can cause harm as early as during the embryonic stages, during the first two weeks of fertilization, and during the two to seven weeks following conception. Therefore, women are advised to avoid retinoid-based products when trying for a baby and during pregnancy.
Tip: Switch retinoids and retinol-based skin care products for those containing glycolic acid and vitamin C.