You have been nurturing your developing baby inside of your belly throughout your entire pregnancy. You make sure to eat right, go for checkups, rest, avoid alcohol and drugs, and stay away from dangerous off-limit foods like unpasteurized juices and soft cheeses; so, why would you stop when it’s time to birth your baby?
For many expectant mothers, a hospital or birthing center is the destination for delivering their precious baby. Do you know what products your chosen facility will be using on you and your new baby? Do you want your baby’s first interaction with the world to be with products containing concerning ingredients that have been linked to hormonal disruptions, cancer, behavioral problems and reproductive abnormalities? Of course not.
Unfortunately, due to the economic times, lack of knowledge and lax chemical regulations, there are many hazardous chemicals lurking in hospitals and birthing facilities. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has conducted research on this topic and has found phthalates (chemicals found in personal care products that have been linked to reproductive problems) are “widespread and variable in infants.” Where are these phthalates coming from?...from trusted brands of baby washes, lotions, powders, and shampoos. Other studies conducted by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, No More Toxic Tub and Baby’s Tub is Still Toxic, revealed that many popular baby products contain cancer-causing chemicals.
Your baby is not the only one exposed these harmful ingredients…so are you. And when you are exposed, so is your baby. The Environmental Working Group estimates that the average person uses up to 25 products a day and each product contains multiple chemicals. Before birth, your baby is connected to you by his umbilical cord and receives nutrients from you via this life line. Did you know that blood moves through the umbilical cord at an approximate rate of 4 miles/hour? This means that nutrients, oxygen, and toxins get to your baby quickly. After your baby is born, these ingredients can be excreted through your breastmilk.
Don’t fret, there are things that you can do to help reduce both you and your baby’s exposure to some of these harmful chemicals. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a healthy and pure childbirth experience:
1. When you take a tour of your birthing facility, ask questions like:
- “What wash do you use to give a baby bath?” • “Do you use diaper wipes? If so, what kind?”
- “Has this facility initiated any ‘Going Green’ measures?”
- “Can I bring my own products for my baby?”
- “Do you offer organic or locally produced food?”
2. Pack your own labor bag not only for yourself but also for baby. Include products that contain healthy ingredients which you have researched and chosen. See our Labor Bag Checklist...
- Start by reading the ingredients on your product labels. Know what you are putting on you and your child. (Find a list of ) Worrisome Ingredients here
- Look up your products on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. Can’t find your product? No problem, look up the ingredients in question to learn of their safety rating.
- Check out the GoodGuide.com to research your products. When you’re on the go, use their handy mobile app to get safety information right at your finger tips.
- Include items for baby such as diapers, wipes, and baby wash.
- Include items for yourself like shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, gel, hair spray, maternity feminine napkins, nursing pads, lip balm, lotion, and massage oil.
- Don’t forget to pack a bag for your labor support coach, too!
3. If the research is too time-consuming or over-whelming, take advantage of our new, healthy hospital labor bags. Our My Pure Delivery labor bag has been created to save you time and eliminate the hassles of researching product safety. Everything that you need for the mother-to-be, baby and dad-to-be/labor coach is in the bag! Since our bag was created by a neonatal nurse, lactation consultant and passionate baby safety expert, you can trust that each product in the bag has been researched for safety and relevant for before, during, and after childbirth.
4. Let your staff members know of your wishes to use your products on your newborn. Never assume that they will know your wishes. Communication is key!
Author : Diba Tillery RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST