how to avoid toxins while pregnant

Toxins to Avoid During Pregnancy for a More Healthy Baby

There are lots of Toxins to Avoid During Pregnancy that can Result in a More Healthy Baby.

In our daily lives, we are absolutely bombarded with chemicals every single day.

From the products that we put on our body, to the way we wash our clothes, to the foods that we eat. Chemicals are everywhere and they can cause a lot of harm to a developing fetus.

These toxins are actually things that every person should be avoiding or minimizing exposure to at least every day whether you are pregnant or not.

But one beautiful thing about pregnancy is that it teaches us how to take better care of ourselves so that we can take better care of our babies!

This post contains links to items that I own and am confident will benefit you immensely. For full disclosure please read here.

RELATED: 7 Things I was Shocked I’d Need for Pregnancy

Why you need to avoid toxic chemicals during pregnancy.

Environmental toxins are hazardous to your health and your hormones. Not to mention they are hazardous to the health of the tiny feeble human growing inside your tummy.

Environmental toxins can be an array of things that are often man-made, but some are naturally occurring as well.

Chemical toxins can alter your hormones, thus altering the formation of your baby. Many toxic chemicals are also known to cause birth defects. Mothers exposed to high levels of toxins during pregnancy is also believed to be the cause of some children testing lower on cognitive and memory tests throughout childhood.

You cannot avoid all toxins.

In our fast-paced, microwave, immediate gratification required society there is no way to avoid all toxic chemicals. Sigh.

However, it is quite easy to make a few lifestyle changes to avoid a ton of your exposure! Lowering your levels of stored toxins and giving your baby the best chance at health.

Today we will be discussing lifestyle changes that you can make to eliminate most exposure to the top 7 toxic chemicals known to hurt baby’s health.

avoid toxins for a more healthy baby

List of Chemicals to Avoid During Pregnancy and How to Avoid These Toxins

1. BPAs

BPAs are a very common chemical that I bet you’ve already heard of. BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemically created compound used in resins and polymers for the past 60 years.

You will notice a lot of products claiming to be BPA free on the packaging because we now know how harmful BPAs can be to our health!

BPAs are hormone disruptors. Your hormones are all over the place already during pregnancy. Your hormones fluctuate so much during pregnancy to tell your body what it should be doing at that point in your gestation.

It is important that they are balanced (as balanced as pregnancy can be) for your growing baby!

Hormone disruptors like BPA can be very harmful to your baby’s reproductive system, among other things.

How to Avoid Toxins BPAs:

  • Replace plastic water bottles with glass ones. Plastic water bottles leach BPAs into the water they contain when heated. By the time you purchase a bottle of water, it has been heated and cooled already many times in transit. Pick up a super affordable glass water bottle now!
  • Do not eat canned soup. Ideally, also avoid canned pasta and canned tomatoes. Most cans are lined with BPA (unless stated otherwise.) Recently a study was conducted at Stanford University of Medicine to test the levels of BPA in a person after consuming certain canned goods. It was discovered that those who consumed canned soups had a 229% increase of BPA in their urine, those who consumed canned pasta had a 70% increase above those who consumed no canned foods.
  • Don’t use plastic storage containers like Tupperware. Plastic storage containers leach BPA into food the same way plastic water bottles do. Never heat your food in them and be sure food is not hot when placed in them. The best idea is to replace plastic food storage containers with ceramic ones like these.
  • Never heat food in plastic! Only microwave on glass or ceramic! (Just a tip, be sure your ceramics do not contain lead! Some older cookware actually has lead in the glaze. You can easily test for this by picking up a cheapo lead surface test kit!)
  • Be wary when handling receipts. The coating on receipt paper is very high in BPAS. It is readily absorbed into the skin. I don’t think that grabbing your receipt after shopping occasionally should be a huge concern. However, if you work as a cashier keep in mind that your job extremely spikes your levels of BPAs. Gloves should be worn while working as a cashier during pregnancy. Keep in mind this goes for all receipts, like at the ATM as well.

toxic bpas and phthalates during pregnancy plastics

2. Phthalates

Phalates describe a large group of harmful chemicals that are also contained in many plastic products as well as an array of other products I’m sure you use daily! These include but are not limited to plastic shower curtains, plastic wrap, and plastic bottles.

Not only are phthalates in plastics but also in many commercial beauty products! Lotions, nail polish, and perfumes almost always include the toxic chemicals phthalates in them.

The number of ways that we are exposed to phthalates on a daily bases is scary. Virtually all food products that come out of plastic containers will contain some level of phthalates.

All artificial fragrances that you may use on yourself, on your clothes, or in your house are create phthalate filled air pollution.

Much like BPA phthalates are known to disrupt hormone production. Chemicals that do this are known as endocrine disruptors and should be avoided during pregnancy.

How to Avoid Toxic Phalates During Pregnancy

  • Follow the guidelines in the above section to avoid BPAs. Many of the products containing BPA also contain phthalates! You can minimize your exposure to both by following the directions in the previous section.
  • Stop using scented products including perfumes, air fresheners, most candles (unless they are soy based and only contain essential oils for fragrance). Replace these products with phthalate free shampoo and conditioners, 100% pure essential oils to naturally fragrance your new products if you’d like (sometimes fragrance-free alternatives smell kind of like play-doh to me), create your own body sprays using essential oils safe for pregnancy.


3. PFCs

Perhaps you have heard of PFCs and maybe not. PFC stands for perfluorinated chemicals. The ones we’re talking about today and your highest exposure to these toxic chemicals during pregnancy come from non-stick cookware.

Nonstick cookware, while extremely convenient, contains a chemical known as polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE for short. When your pan is scratched at all OR heated higher than 325 degrees F it begins to leach out another PFC chemical. This chemical is called perfluorooctanoate or PFOA for short.

These are man-made chemicals that are extremely difficult for your body to break down because they are not found in nature anywhere! High levels of exposure to these chemicals can cause pregnancy complications such as limiting the growth of your baby in all aspects. Head circumference, length, and brain development, and organ development to name a few.

How to Avoid Toxins PFCs including PTFE and PFOA

  • Kick your nonstick cookware to the curb and replace with stainless steel pots and pans (this set is the best deal!)
  • Replace non stick skillets with a best selling cast iron skillet (which actually also aid during pregnancy by naturally fortifying your food with iron).
  • Eliminating non-stick bakeware and replace with ceramic bakeware or glass bakeware.
  • If you see PTFE on any of your ingredient lists on products you use on yourself or for cleaning your home, ditch them to avoid excess toxins during your pregnancy and ideally indefinitely!

pregnancy nutrition to grow a healthy baby

4. Pesticides

I’m sure pesticides come to mind immediately when you think of toxins that you encounter on a daily basis. In order to supply our growing nation with foods, pesticides are used to protect from insects unless stated otherwise on your food products.

That doesn’t only include fresh fruits and vegetables. But also anything processed and made from plants. Even that boxed cereal could contain traces of pesticides unless stated otherwise on the packaging.

Pesticides are poison. That’s why they kill pests that consume our crops.

Some plants are known to hold onto more pesticides than others. Each year a list is created called the dirty dozen. These are the top 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue currently.

On the flip side, there is also a list published called the clean 15. The fruits and vegetables on that list contain the least amount of pesticide residue.

It is also worth noting that produce with a thick skin that you don’t consume like bananas and oranges help to protect the fruit from pesticides too. Always take the first few layers of your head of lettuce and cabbage off and toss in the trash as those have the most immediate exposure to chemicals.

How to Avoid Consuming Pesticides in Your Diet.

  • Buy organic whenever you can afford it. Organic food is expensive. So if all organic is outside your price range, at least focus of purchasing your product from the dirty dozen organic.
  • Always use a fruit and vegetable wash on produce to remove pesticide residue the best. They are very inexpensive and fast and easy to use. After shopping just fill your sink with water, toss in all the veggies and fruits, add a few drops of fruit and vegetable cleaner, scrub gently, and rinse.
  • Grains (including products made from them like bread, cereal, and pastas) and legumes are known to have high levels of pesticides in them. Be aware of this and make wise dietary choices.
  • When you can afford to buy grass-fed meat do so. Meat derived from grain or soy fed animals is also higher in pesticides (as you can figure if our grain products are already high in pesticide residue).


I am so excited that I found this stellar resource for my pregnancy that before we go any farther, I HAVE to share it! I found an amazing thorough prenatal class you can take AT HOME in your pjs!

Taking a quality prenatal course is so important. It lets you know what to expect, takes away your fears and builds your confidence for the big day ahead! By far my favorite prenatal course that helped me feel the most prepared was The Online Prenatal Class for Couples.

I’ve taken a few at different prenatal classes at hospitals but this is the first I was able to take at home! Game changer. AND if you aren’t ready to commit to buying a course, start with a FREE online prenatal class that will help qualm your birth fears and get you started on the right track mama!


5. Fluoride

This is not a toxic chemical that you might think of avoiding in pregnancy. Perhaps you have been taught that fluoride is important because it protects our teeth. Dentists push fluoride toothpaste, fluoride filled mouthwash, fluoride sealants on kids’ teeth and more.

In addition to all that fluoride we already consume, it is also added to our water supply and bottled water. But does fluoride even help to prevent cavities?

You might find it very surprising that in recent studies to prove that fluoride is actually effective against cavities, concrete evidence is lacking to prove the benefit. In addition, hard evidence to prove the benefits of fluoride to warrant the dangers of the exposure to this chemical isn’t there.

You can read further about the benefits and dangers of fluoride in this article about fluoride from Dr. Axe.

Fluoride is known to cross the placenta. Thus it begs our attention during pregnancy. It is possible that large amounts of fluoride exposure during pregnancy can possibly affect your child’s bones, thyroid, kidneys, and brain. It may decrease cognitive function.

How to Avoid Excessive Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy.

  • Use fluoride-free toothpaste and fluoride free mouthwash.
  • Filter your tap water using a filter that removes fluoride like this one. Some filters only remove other chemicals like cholines and chloramines (also great to get out of your drinking water!). So be sure the one you get filters fluoride as well.
  • Non-organic grapes are a surprising source of fluoride. Always pick organic grapes.
  • Tea is another source of fluoride. Black, green, white and oolong tea contain high levels of fluoride. Cheap tea has more. More expensive teas have less. Either opt for high quality and priced teas or switch the type of tee you drink to red tea, which comes from another type of plant.


6. Parabens

Parabens are another commonly known toxic chemical that we are aware of these days that are common in most of our cosmetics and hygiene products. They are used to prevent bacteria from growing in your products.

But parabens have been found to be another endocrine disruptor! Throwing off your natural hormones in ways that you do not want especially during pregnancy!

Parabens act like estrogen in the body. Right now your levels of estrogen, progesterone, HCG, and other hormones are very important to your growing baby’s development. Exposure to parabens has been known to cause reproductive problems.

Did you know that in Europe use of parabens is already banned?

America is very behind in requiring companies to remove chemicals from their products. This includes our food products as well. In America, we need to be extra cognizant of the toxic chemicals to avoid during pregnancy.

Some parabens do cross the placenta. Some exposure may be ok. But compound exposure to parabens definitely is not. So try to eliminate them from your beauty routine where you can.

How to Reduce Exposure to Toxic Parabens.

  • Check all your cosmetics for parabens. It is not going to say “parabens” verbatim on the packaging. It will read as a long scientific word ending in paraben. Examples are methylparaben and butylparaben.
  • Change some of your makeup to versions that do not need preservatives. Mineral powder foundations are one example of these. Wearing less makeup is another great option if that is something you’re ok with.
  • Try a natural deodorant.
  • Overall if there is a cosmetic or hygiene product that isn’t essential, think about things like sunspot corrector or concealer, eliminate it for now. Less is more when it comes to hygiene products during pregnancy.


7. Mercury

eat fish during pregnancy

Mercury comes to mind for a lot of us once we are pregnant. And when you think of mercury you think of fish (or maybe thermometers… or maybe I’m super old school to even be thinking that).

One neurotoxin that your health care professional has probably told you to avoid or limit is mercury in fish.

But not all fish has high enough levels of mercury to be a problem. Here is a great way to estimate how much mercury is in a fish. The bigger the fish, the more fish it has eaten in its lifetime, and the higher the mercury content of that fish probably is.

You should definitely be eating fish during pregnancy. (Read the top 5 foods for growing a healthy baby.) Fish is high in omega-3’s, iron, and iodine. 3 nutrients that really need to be focused on getting (and ideally from your food) during pregnancy.

We have now tested the cognitive skills in the children of women who consumed 12 oz. of fish per week during pregnancy vs. those who avoided fish altogether. The results were shocking!

The children of these women consistently tested higher cognitively from birth through age 8! Implying that consuming the nutrients in fish far outweigh the risks of consuming fish containing low levels of mercury.

How to Avoid Mercury During Pregnancy.

  • Do not eat swordfish, shark, king mackerel, or tilefish.
  • Limit tuna intake to no more than 6 oz. per week.
  • Do not get amalgam fillings during pregnancy.
  • Opt for mercury-free vaccines if you chose to get any during pregnancy.




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    1. Thank you so much! It’s true, pregnancy kicks into gear the healthy way we should be living every day for ourselves! It sometimes just takes a tiny little person fully dependant on you to help us remember to avoid toxins during pregnancy and throughout life.