Go Green during your Pregnancy
by Kanishka Pachaury on Jun 26, 2023
It must not be surprising to know that almost 69 percent of adults are now more concerned with ‘going green’ before even expecting a child.
It’s not just because being eco-friendly is a ‘trend’. People are nowadays more aware of the impacts their actions and choices have on the environment.
The more healthier your actions for the planet, the more healthy the planet and the people inhabiting it.
Once you realize that you are about to be parents, it changes your entire perspective towards the world.
Now, it’s no longer just you, but you are also responsible for your baby as well.
During your pregnancy, you can make some simple changes in your diet and in the products you use so as to limit your exposure to toxic and harmful chemicals.
In today’s time we have more information on climate change and global warming, and the evidence of the havoc it creates. Thus, obviously, there is a pressure to be perfectly environmentally friendly.
And while you may not be able to choose the most environmentally-friendly options each time, taking baby steps towards a green pregnancy will lead to a healthier planet and healthier baby.
Despite the plethora of choices available for baby products, fortunately you do have a lot of options for organic, recycled and sustainable products available in the market.
You can always make greener choices, whether it’s seeking organic and chemical-free linens, using natural fertilizers in your garden or purchasing organic household products.
For an eco-friendly pregnancy, you can repurpose clothes into maternity wear instead of buying new ones, ditch the plastic packaging of edible products, and use chemical-free personal care products.
You might find yourself bombarded with advertisements about stretch mark creams, maternity workout gears, prenatal teas and a never-ending list of baby gears.
It is bound to be overwhelming.
It is also very confusing given what is supposed to be essential newborn gear varies even among friends and family, never mind the social media influencers.
It’s obvious knowledge that being eco-friendly is not only hard, but is often energy and time consuming.
Considering how expensive it is to buy organic, you also need to have the privilege of money. But you don’t have to spend too much on unnecessary products to be green.
In this blog, we will help you decide how you can take a simple step and go green, or put in a bit more effort to be greener, or go greenest and make conscious choices wherever you can.
Here are a few ideas to reduce, reuse and recycle through all your three trimesters and beyond.
1. Personal Care Products
While you and everyone else might only be focusing on the baby, do not ignore yourself.
Being pregnant forces your body to go through multiple changes in only a very short period. Thus it is important that you take care of yourself just as much as you care for your baby.
You deserve pampering every now and then, especially when you are expecting.
However, did you know that majority of personal care products have ingredients that are have not been tested or regulated.
Most of these ingredients have hazardous effects on you, your baby and also the environment.
Many personal care products like soaps, shampoos, lotions, soaps and deodorants are known to contain toxins like phthalates, parabens etc. which are linked to permanent birth defects of the male reproductive system.
Unfortunately, we cannot fully avoid the exposure we have to phthalates, but the least we can do is limit ourselves to it.
So while using natural products is good for you at any point in your life, it is especially necessary during your pregnancy.
Babies are extremely vulnerable to harsh toxins and chemicals so it is imperative that you are conscious of what you are using on your skin.
Choose products that are free of parabens, phthalates, SLS, fragrances, etc. Whether it is skincare, haircare or make-up, avoid harsh chemicals in these products and go for natural and organic ones.
Make sure your self-care routine is sustainable.
If you are finding it difficult to research confusing ingredients, you can always use an app or website to check the ingredients in personal care products before you buy them.
But being eco-friendly does not mean you have to buy expensive products. Things like soaps and shampoo, you can easily make them DIY-style.
You can start small and save environment through small baby steps.
Do not buy personal care products that you do not really need, like nail polishes and hair dyes. Look out for ethical brands that produces sustainable and environmentally-friendly items.
Using gentle, organic and natural products are beneficial not only for new parents but also for the planet. It reduces the amount of toxic chemicals that end up in our air, soil and groundwater.
2. Maternity clothes
You’ll need to procure maternity clothes for sure. But instead of buying some, first turn to your wardrobe.
Have any baggy or stretchy clothes? You could use them as maternity wear, especially in your first trimester. If you are handy with needle and thread, you can also alter some clothes.
If you do have to buy clothes, go thrifting! You can also ask your relatives or family members who can pass on their maternity clothes to you.
Some second-hand items are barely worn and will save you loads of money.
If buying completely new clothes, look for those made in your own country that are made sustainably by organic cotton.
Avoid synthetic fabrics and go for natural fibres. Make sure they are sourced sustainably and organically.
The procuration process should be free of toxic pesticides or fertilizers containing harmful chemicals and toxins.
Look for small, eco-friendly brands that sell everything you might need during your pregnancy journey as well as beyond that.
When you no longer need them, donate them to thrift stores.
While you may be able to reuse your oversized clothes, you might need to invest in a couple of maternity outfits to stay comfortable throughout your pregnancy.
Unfortunately, for clothes that are to be used only for a few months, these clothes are pretty expensive.
If you are looking for stretchy jeans or a dress for a maternity photoshoot, check out your local thrift store. Many women tend to donate their old maternity clothes when they no longer have any need for them, so you’ll be able to find a lot of options.
Shopping without thinking tends to create a lot of waste, especially if you buy from fast fashion brands that are notorious for their poor labor and waste practices.
With thrifting, not only are you cutting costs, but also contributing to the environment. The less you buy, the more money you save.
If you are trying to be more eco-friendly, then going second hand is a solid start.
You can also join local or motherhood groups or communities. Not only can you procure some maternity clothes from there, but you can also swap some other baby items.
Before talking about diet, let’s focus on hydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water during your pregnancy. Avoid bottled water, instead go for an eco-friendly reusable bottle that you can fill up every time you are out of water.
As you need to consume a diet that supports both your and your baby’s well-being, you need food that is nutritious and healthy.
There are nutritional guidelines for pregnant women to follow, so you might find yourself discouraged for foods that you cannot have.
But you have to focus on healthy food that is nourishing and satisfying.
Avoid processed foods and those grown with artificial pesticides as they have been connected to birth defects.
In case of gestational diabetes or any other dietary restrictions, then no need to fret! With the online wealth of recipes, we have multiple options at our disposal.
You can look for healthy recipes that use natural, organic ingredients while still being tasty and fulfilling.
For a healthy environment and a healthy baby, you need a diet of organic and in-season picks. You can go shopping at your local farmers’ market or plant a small herb garden.
You must have heard that we are all made up of what we eat. And the same goes for the baby in your womb. Thus, you need to shift your diet for the sake of your child’s health.
Avoid unhealthy, oily and junk food at least during your pregnancy. Focus on vegetables, pulses and fruits.
Have meat once a week, and for the rest of the week, you can depend on pulses as your source of protein.
Go for organic vegetables and fruits that have the least exposure to chemical fertilizers and pesticides, after all, you do not want pesticides on your plate.
But organic options are not easily available, and those that are, happen to be expensive and not easily accessible to everyone. You might not get 100 percent organic food, but do try your best.
As your diet provides nutrients to your baby as well as you, play close attention to your diet and health.
When it comes to food, you’ll find that there are a lot of environmental concerns.
If possible, buy food that comes with zero packaging or packaging that is either recycled or reusable, such as glass.
Still, a lot of fresh produce and groceries are wrapped in plastic, and travel a lot of miles to reach you.
So buy produce at your local farmer’s market and greengrocers to get your supply of fresh, local, unpackaged foods.
Do remember to carry your own bags as you go grocery shopping.
4. Cleaning Products
Considering cleaning products are full of toxins and chemicals, it must not be surprising to know that a majority of products are unsafe for pregnant women.
You need to be very careful that these are not absorbed through your skin, and avoid inhaling these products.
You’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of environmentally-friendly products containing natural ingredients such as lemon, vinegar and eucalyptus.
They not only smell good, but pose a less of a threat to you and your baby’s health.
Chemicals from these cleaning products tend to linger in your home for a long time, so do not wait for the birth of your baby to switch to natural cleaners.
As for clothes and fabrics, you might want the whites to be bright. There are a ton of natural bleach alternatives available. You can try pre-soaking in vinegar or hanging out clothes to dry.
Household cleaners are filled with harsh and toxic chemicals - from ammonia to sulfuric acid to VOCs, which can be released into the air even when they are not being used.
Look for cleaning products that are biodegradable, effective and do not compromise on the health of you and your young one.
Make sure these products have natural and safe ingredients that are effective cleaners.
Like beauty and personal care, you need to be aware of what types of cleaning products you are using. For example, products that are labelled as disinfectants happen to contain carcinogens that are dangerous for you and your baby.
You can also opt for DIY, and make your own cleaning products if you want to.
These few tips given in the above blog would help you a lot in reducing the waste production after having your baby.
But remember, this is just the beginning. Give your baby the gift of raising them with an eco-conscious mindset.
Following this eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle is going to leave an impression on your baby from the early days.
They are likely to adopt these practices subconsciously and use these later in life as they continue to grow.
While having a baby is a blessing, it is also a big responsibility. Do ensure that their first years on this planet are as eco-friendly as possible. This is a safe investment not only just in your baby’s future but also in the environment.
When it comes to your baby, you might feel a lot of pressure to buy everything you can for your baby. But before buying anything, do your research and ask other parents about what they used.
Look for hand me down and second hand products from thrift stores or your friends and relatives.
As you learn about your pregnancy, a lot is going to change in your life. But stay firm to your commitment to an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle, and you will contribute to building a safe planet for your future.
In this journey, even small changes count. Take baby steps like replacing household cleaners for natural ones, using thrifted maternity clothes, and consuming nutritional and organic diets.