Pregnant women need to be health conscious at all times because they are most vulnerable to infections, and their babies are the ones who primarily get affected by foreign substances. Fetuses only rely on their mothers for survival, and whatever you drink, eat, and inhale can deliberately affect their development. Foreign substances, like chemicals, are the ones that greatly affect a baby’s development because they can alter the body’s natural processes and can cause tons of adverse health effects. Therefore, it is important that pregnant women know which chemicals affect them the most and how these substances affect their pregnancy and their baby.
Lead – Lead is a heavy metal, and one of the components of paint. At present, it is still widely used in pot-making, manufacturing battery, auto repair and even printing. Even some of the traditional medication has high quantity of lead. Some gasoline has lead content also but is now given limitation in the US, and it’s also found in ground and in water. Because it is widely spread in the environment, all of us might have a little amount of lead in our blood. People can get this kind of chemical through inhaling dust and eating food. Therefore, it is important to wash hands regularly after doing some chores that gets you in contact with lead. If it happens that you are working in a jewelry manufacturing industry, it is advised to check the level of lead in your body. Exposure to the smell of paint may not be good for a pregnant woman. High exposure to lead can result to spontaneous abortion, premature rupture of fetal membranes and preterm delivery.
Carbon Monoxide – It is a gas that we breathe, coming from the vehicles around us, furnaces, fuel-burning appliances, cigarette smoke and even methylene chloride in paint. It can get through the body by inhaling and it goes through the lungs. Carbon monoxide can be poisonous if too much of it is taken. It causes damaged organs when the body has lesser supply of oxygen. Symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting and dizziness as well as death if no medications are taken. In cases of a pregnant woman, it can affect the placenta as it goes to the baby’s blood. It can impair the developing brain of a baby or even death. If you notice symptoms in carbon monoxide poisoning, visit the emergency room as soon as possible. You will then undergo a test on the level of carbon monoxide in your body, if it is proven high risk then submit to the doctor’s treatment.
Mercury – It is a naturally occurring metal that is shiny, silver-white liquid, but it can get into our body through food. Exposure to such element can lead to impairment to the fetus’ brain and kidneys. It can also cause skin irritation and skin diseases. Fishes and shellfishes with mercury content can severely impair the nervous system and even death. Pregnant women should avoid eating fishes like shark, swordfish, and king mackerel or tile fish as it has high mercury content.
Bisphenol A – Although its presence in most plastic products is highly appreciated because of its clear and tough characteristics, the fact that BPA can get to our body through our food and materials make it a bane in our health. BPA is one of the most controversial elements that consumers and health organizations have long been raging against due to its negative effects to our health, particularly to pregnant women, fetuses, and children. Thankfully, some manufacturers are producing items that are BPA-free. Studies show that fetuses who have been exposed to BPA through their mothers have behavioural and immunity disorders; the former manifests when they reach age 3 while the latter manifests upon birth. BPA is flushed out of the body through a certain process performed by the liver, and because infant livers are not yet fully developed, they may have the highest concentration of BPA in their body.
Here are ways on how you can keep away from exposure to these harsh chemicals:
- 1. Eat whole and fresh foods every day. The first 9 months of your baby inside your womb is a very crucial period in your child’s life since their nutrition depends so much on you. Eating nutritious foods every day is a surefire way to keep them healthy in your womb.
- 2. Ditch canned goods and fast foods. These are the worst food choices that you can possibly make.
- 3. Breastfeed. This act is very essential to every baby. Breast milk has the best levels of colostrums and other essential nutrients for baby’s overall development. It is also needed for baby’s immune system to develop well. Apart from that, baby feeding bottles are made with BPA, so use your breasts and not those rubber nipples for babies to suck on.
- 4. Stay away from places where building construction is being done.
- 5. Avoid cigarette smoking and avoid staying in smoking areas.
- 6. Avoid drinking alcoholic drinks, indulging with caffeinated products, and eating too much baked and sweet foods.