Expecting a baby is probably one of the most precious times in most women’s lives. As an expectant parent, you have more than a vested interest in the future of your own family as well as the planet, so what better time to ‘go green’ than while you are pregnant. And if that is not good enough reason then the latest research from the University of Edinburgh should convince you to do so sooner rather than later.
The smell of danger
The latest research suggested that products such as perfumes or scented creams could cause unborn boys to suffer infertility or cancer later in life.
According to Prof. Richard Sharp, director of the Medical Research Council’s Human Reproductive Sciences Unit in Edinburgh, eight to twelve weeks in to pregnancy is crucial in determining reproductive problems later in life. The researchers believe that exposure to certain chemicals in cosmetics during pregnancy may affect sperm production in later life.
The researchers used rats and blocked the activity of androgens, which include male sex hormones like testosterone. The researchers found that the animals suffered fertility problems when the hormones were blocked.
Certain chemicals contained in cosmetics, household fabrics and plastics can block the activity of hormones such as testosterone. (See Top Tips).
Prof. Sharpe said that: “These chemicals also increase the risk of developing other reproductive problems like testicular cancer in boys during later life.”
Change of habit
60 per cent of everything we put on our skin is absorbed in to our bodies. When pregnant, all the toxins the mother comes in contact with through her skin are passed to the baby.
It’s little wonder then, that pregnant women should therefore avoid products containing toxic chemicals. However, most pregnant women don’t realise that the very ingredients that are supposed to make them feel and look better are potentially endangering their unborn child.
Charlotte Vhotz from the organization Green People explains the situation in simple terms. She says that chemicals called phthalates are widely used in nail varnishes and mascaras, adding flexibility and endurance to cosmetics. They are often hidden under the term ‘fragrance’ and have been shown to cause birth defects and harm.
Prof. Sharpe reiterates these facts and confirms that it is essential for pregnant women to change their lifestyle during pregnancy.
- Make sure to read the label before you buy any cosmetic product
- Get rid of cosmetics that are heavily fragranced
- Choose toiletries and cosmetics that are made from purely organic materials and labelled “fragrance-free”
- Use products that are exclusively scented with pure botanical or essential oils
- Avoid products containing phthalates, parabens (found in cosmetics), anionic surfactants (foaming agent), formaldehyde (commercial make-up products) and propylene/butylene glycol (found in stick deodorant causing brain, liver, and kidney malfunctions)
For centuries flaxseed was used for almost everything except food, from being a source of textile fibre to making paint. Nowadays, because of it’s new found ‘fame’ as a health food it is enjoyed for its slightly sweet, nutty taste and for the benefits of protecting against heart disease, improving kidney function and being a cancer preventative.
“You can use flaxseeds on almost anything to get their health-promoting benefits,” says holistic nutritionist Dr. Janet Maccaro in Ormond Beach, Florida in the US.
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Do beauty treatments harm my unborn baby?, published online netdoctor.co.uk
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