Guidelines for Pregnancy
During pregnancy, women need to be especially aware of what they put in, and on, their bodies as it can have a direct impact on the developing baby.
• Do choose organic foods and filtered water: Babies are not able to efficiently process toxic compounds – such as those found in pesticides – so limiting exposure is key. Research shows an organic diet can reduce the incidence of allergic diseases such as eczema.
• Don’t start a new exercise program: While there are many documented benefits of physical activity during pregnancy, consider your level of fitness pre-pregnancy when deciding what’s right for you.
Once pregnant, you may be motivated to get active and healthy, but stay away from more intense forms of exercise during pregnancy unless it is something that you have done consistently pre-pregnancy and you have discussed it with your doctor.
Also beware of swimming in pools with chlorine treated water (see Summer 2010 Newsletter). Try to place your focus on activities such as walking or prenatal yoga to promote circulation, flexibility, and relaxation.
• Don’t use chemically based or artificially scented beauty products: Your products should have as few ingredients as possible… and if there is no ingredient listing, don’t use it!
Look for creams and lotions with natural moisturizers, such as shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil. If the label says ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’, chances are it contains phthalates (“thalates”) which can have effects on the hormonal system.
There are no regulations that require phthalates to be included on ingredient labels. Parabens however, which are also hormone disruptors, must be listed on ingredient labels.
Also avoid nail polish, which usually contains chemicals such as formaldehyde and toluene, an irritant to the skin and respiratory tract.
Other ingredients to avoid: sodium lauryl sulfate (a foaming agent found in shampoo, bubble bath, and toothpaste), propylene glycol, glycol ethers, and petroleum based products (like Vaseline, paraffin, and PEG).
Keep your beauty regime as simple as possible and remember, your skin will absorb anything you put on it!
• Do use deodorant instead of anti-perspirant: In addition to the aluminum used in anti-perspirants, remember that they are also blocking a primary detoxification route: the skin!
There is a significant amount of lymphatic tissue in the breast and underarm area, and supporting elimination of toxins and metabolic wastes is impeded by anti-perspirants.
Natural deodorants often contain salts and essential oils to mask any odor, but do not block the natural sweat response. To support lymphatic circulation, drainage and detox even further, use an infrared sauna.
Baby Formulas: Their Role and What to Look For
The benefits of breastfeeding are endless, ranging from immune support to emotional bonding between mother and baby. We encourage exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, continuing beyond food introduction up to 18 months or longer.
However, breastfeeding is not always an option and alternatives are necessary for some mothers. With such a variety on the market, it’s important to know what to look for when choosing the right one for your child. Hydrolyzed formulas: These formulas have been processed so the nutrients are broken down into smaller pieces and are easier to absorb.
An infant’s immature digestive tract has larger spaces allowing large proteins to be absorbed before they are broken down, which increases the risk of digestive upset and food allergies or sensitivities.
As baby gets older, the digestive tract matures and becomes more selective about what to absorb, and then food introduction can be started. Until this process occurs, hydrolyzed formulas are the ideal starting point if you cannot breastfeed, particularly if your baby is at risk for developing allergies, asthma, or eczema.
The best choices for hydrolyzed formulas are Neocate, Nutramigen and Alimentum.
Soy formulas: the only vegetarian formula option (also lactose free), although it can cause more digestive upset due to difficulty breaking down soy proteins.
Goats milk formula: a formula you can make at home using organic goat’s milk and several other nutrients. Goat’s milk has less allergenic potential than cow’s milk, so this may be a useful alternative. For more details, ask your naturopathic doctor.