5 Toxic Chemicals You Must Avoid during Pregnancy

TOXIC CHEMICALS TO BE AVOIDED IN PREGNANCY

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Pregnancy is one of the scariest times in a woman’s life. You might start to question everything around you, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Environmental factors play a big role in the development of the baby, so mothers do need to be careful regarding the factors at play in her surroundings.





As human beings, we come into contact with many harmful chemicals on a daily basis. These may not have caught our attention earlier, and they did not need to- they were not especially harmful to a normal human. However, the fact that you are pregnant changes everything. Even the simplest of chemicals or objects may turn out to be harmful to the baby in your womb, so you must take precautions to avoid these toxic chemicals at all costs. Let us take a look at a few of the most toxic chemicals that you must avoid when you are pregnant.

Dangerous Chemicals to Stay Away from when Pregnant

Toxic chemical exposure during pregnancy could cause complications in the health of your baby, so you must be careful so that you do not come in contact with any of these chemicals when you are pregnant. Some of the chemicals not to use while pregnant are:




1. Lead

Lead is a common constituent of many household items and is used in a widespread manner. Therefore, it is all-the-more important that you do not come in contact with this toxic chemical during pregnancy.

 LEAD

Why Avoid





Lead, if it comes in contact with the mother during pregnancy, can cause a lot of complications in the baby growing in your belly. Some of these complications include premature birth, low birth weight in the baby, and may even lead to miscarriage. Some children have also been observed to have delayed developmental milestones because the mother came in contact with lead during pregnancy. Even if it is in a small amount, it may impair the ability of your child to learn and develop like his peers.

How to Avoid




Check the lead levels on the plumbing system installed in your home. Lead solder may be used in the copper or brass taps you use at home, and they may need to be replaced as soon as possible. You could also ask experts to take a sample of the water from your home and check whether it is safe for consumption. Paint also contains a large amount of lead, especially in old buildings. So you should stay away from walls where the paint is peeling off so that the fumes or particles do not enter your body. You should go for a repaint with lead-free paint, if possible. Other common ceramics for lead include old ceramics, crystal glassware and the wicks of candles.

2. Mercury

Mercury is another one of the most common chemicals which affect the health of the mother and the unborn child. Mercury usually comes in contact and enters the body of the mother through fish, since it is found in high levels in some types of fish.





MERCURY

Why to Avoid

Mercury levels in the body can have extremely detrimental effects on the health of the baby in your womb. They usually start off by affecting the development of the nervous system, and your child may be born without a developed brain. The effects usually range from mild to severe, in some cases. Since the nervous system is the one most affected, your child may exhibit certain problems when he is growing up. The motor skills, development of speech and the vision of the child may be affected due to this chemical. It can also affect cognitive abilities, like memory and concentration in a large manner.




How to Avoid

Many types of fish are free of mercury in their bodies, so those are definitely safe for consumption. However, mercury levels are high in the bodies of some types of fish, like a shark, king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish. These must be avoided at all costs since even a small amount of the chemical can have huge implications on the health of your baby. Also, fresh and white tuna usually contains a larger amount of mercury in their body, compared to light tuna. So it would be better to avoid fish during pregnancy, although you could have a talk with your doctor about which fish are safe for consumption during pregnancy.





3. Arsenic

Arsenic is not as common as the two chemicals mentioned above, but they still represent a problem for pregnant women. Arsenic, if it comes in contact with the body during pregnancy, can result in many problems for the child when he is born.

ARSENIC

Why to Avoid




Miscarriage and stillbirth are the common results of arsenic contact during pregnancy. It can also have adverse effects on the health of the mother, and indirectly on the health of the baby. Arsenic, even if it is only in small amounts, can cause issues like high blood pressure and anaemia during the pregnancy. If it is present in higher concentrations, it might even result in cancer and diabetes in the pregnant woman.

How to Avoid





Arsenic most commonly comes in contact with the women through old outdoor wooden furniture. This is because chromated copper arsenate is the chemical used in treating the lumber for such furniture so that the furniture remains intact for a longer period of time. It is also a major contaminant of the soil, and will usually be found in the areas near a waste dumping ground or even agricultural fields. Therefore, you could also test the water supply you receive at home for possible arsenic content.

4. Pesticides

Pesticides are harmful to any human being- not just pregnant women. However, if consumed during pregnancy, they could result in larger implications for the health of the baby as well as the health of the mother.




PESTICIDES

Why to Avoid

To put it simply, contact with pesticides can cause the same amount as smoking during pregnancy does, to the health of the baby. Common results include premature birth and low birth weight of the baby. Also, it might even result in miscarriage or other birth defects in the child.


How to Avoid

Pesticides usually enter the body of the pregnant woman via the food she consumes. They might be popular in the area you stay in, so consider this aspect when you buy food for the mother. You should always wash the food thoroughly before you cook, or eat it. Also, try to seal off places in your home via which pests can enter into the place you cook at. If you need to use the help of a professional pest-controller to fumigate your home, make sure that you vacate the premises during the exercise.

5. Organic solvents

Organic solvents cover a lot of chemicals, which are commonly found in substances like paint thinners, varnish removers and degreasers. They include alcohols, toluene, benzene, xylene and ethers.

ORGANIC SOLVENTS

Why to Avoid


Exposure to some of these solvents can lead to major problems in the child, like spina bifida, clubfoot, hearing defects and the likes. For example, exposure to glycol during pregnancy can lead to a miscarriage of the baby. The fetal solvent syndrome is another condition that may affect the child, like fetal alcohol syndrome. Children affected by this have low birth weights and smaller heads, because of incomplete brain growth.

How to Avoid

You will have to stay away from chemical substances like paint thinners and varnish removers, during the time of pregnancy. In most cases, they enter the body of the mother by huffing or the mother breathing in the harmful vapours.

There are no specific answers to what chemicals to avoid when pregnant- the most common, harmful ones have been detailed here. You should have a talk with your doctor about these substances, for his input on whether you have to take any extra precautions.


Also read: Using Perfume & Deodorant During Pregnancy