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What are some toxins I should avoid during pregnancy?

Here's a list of major toxins to avoid during pregnancy.

Smoking/Alcohol/Drugs:
  • Tobacco and secondhand smoke.
  • Alcohol.
  • Marijuana and other recreational drugs.
Chemicals, etc.:
  • Spray paints and paint thinners -- use latex paint instead.
  • Bisphenol A (in plastic water bottles; look for the number 2 or 4 inside the triangle on the bottom of the bottle, but not 3, 6, 7, 8, or 9; 1 is acceptable but not reusable).
  • Phthalates (in composite dental fillings; also released when plastic is microwaved).
  • Fluorotelomers (in linings of microwave popcorn bags, as well as stain-resistant carpets and furniture).
  • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls, which are organic compounds in fish caught from polluted waterways).
  • Pesticides.
  • Heavy metals, such as mercury and lead.
  • Organic solvents, such as toluene, xylene, benzene, tetrachloroethylene, ethylene oxide, acetone, acetonitrile (in nail salons), and formaldehyde.
  • Anaesthetic gases.
  • Excess radiation (x-rays; frequent long-haul flights) and radon. Splurge on a $10 kit, and leave it in the basement overnight to check if your house is leaking this dangerous gas from the soil.
Foods:
  • Hot dogs, lunch meats, and saturated fats. They contain nitrates and methylates, which unwind the DNA that's not supposed to be unwound.
  • Trans fat (e.g., anything "partially hydrogenated").
  • High-fructose corn syrup.
  • Sushi, undercooked meat, soft cheeses (e.g., brie, gorgonzola), and unpasteurized cheese and milk.
Medications:
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin. Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead.
  • Accutane (isotretinoin), an acne medication.

Note: Don't stop any medications you're currently taking before talking to your doc. The issue of medicine is often a risk-versus-benefit decision. If you're at high risk of a complication by not taking your medication, you may very well be putting your baby in harm's way by stopping.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.