Pregnancy and toxins: precautions to take

We very often come into contact with many toxic products without knowing it, by breathing (solvents), by eating (pesticides), by drinking (lead in the pipes water), by touching (toxic cleaning products) ... paints, plastics, cleaning products, dry cleaning, insecticides etc. can have harmful effects on our body. And the danger most often comes from the accumulation of small repeated exposures, as well as the storage in the body of some of these substances.

 Pregnancy and toxins

The liver, responsible for detoxifying the body from numerous foreign substances, is extremely stressed during pregnancy, because it is responsible for regenerating the hormones (estrogen and progesterone) highly secreted during this period. It will therefore be necessary to avoid overloading it unnecessarily, by avoiding contact with products such as AGEs (due to overly aggressive cooking), pesticides, dyes, sweeteners, preservatives, etc. contained in our food and our environment.

We now know that the placental barrier allows many toxins to pass through, which are found in the fetal body when the mother has been exposed to it (pesticides, mercury, bisphenol A, PCBs and many others). 'other toxic molecules).

The following should therefore be avoided:


Studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between the toxicological environment of the parents' professional environment and the existence of certain abnormalities in their babies (for example cryptorchidism). The best known case is that of regions where agriculture is intensive and where sexual malformations are frequent. There are also fertility problems.

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  • Food (fruits and vegetables) containing pesticides should be avoided, and prefer organic products .

Predatory fish

Large fish at the end of the food chain are loaded with methylmercury, a neurotoxicant capable of crossing the placental barrier and reaching the fetal brain. It is therefore preferable to do without tuna, pike, swordfish, eel, etc ...

  • Prefer small type fish sardine , mackerel etc, just as rich in omega-3 and good fatty acids.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

This chemical is used in the manufacture of certain plastics used in baby bottles , linings for cans, cans etc. Harmful for the hormonal, reproductive, neurological and immune systems, it is suspected of being involved in major health problems (such as breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, reduced fertility, etc.).

As a precaution, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid regular contact with this product:

  • Avoid storing or reheating food in plastic containers for their prefer glass, stainless steel or ceramic .
  • Avoid the use of glass, utensils or plastic plates and choose verre, metal or ceramic.
  • Prohibit the use of bottles and drinking containers for babies, choose glass or polypropylene bottles (other kind plastic).
  • Pay attention to the internal coating of cans and especially do not heat them directly in a bain-marie. Choose cardboard or glass packaging.
  • Be wary of various food packaging and prefer baking paper.
  • Other products calling for vigilance concerning BPA: spectacle lenses, certain contact lenses, bicycle helmets, CDs, adhesives, medical and surgical utensils, dental resins…

Some of these plastics can be identified by the number 3 (PVC) , 7 or PC (polycarbonate) in the center or below the recycling symbol.

Paints and solvents

Many paints contain volatile organic solvents (gases). Solvents are also found in common products such as nail polish, dry cleaning products.

  • Avoid exposure to paints, thinners, strippers etc during pregnancy, beware of dry cleaning products , acetone-based nail polish removers…
  • Conventional and non-certified organic cleaning / cosmetic products.
  • Certain chemicals contained in powerful cleaning products can have an impact on the respiratory, nervous, hormonal systems ...
  • Always consult labels and avoid the most toxic common chemicals. Turn to organic products , more respectful of the body and nature.

In practice, how to limit toxic substances?

  • For fruits and vegetables, buy organic or buy from AMAP.
  • Ban from your diet predatory fish that concentrate heavy metals (tuna, pike, swordfish, eel, shark, etc.).
  • Beware of household or cosmetic products, and choose eco-labels (type AB, Demeter, Cosmebio, etc.) which prohibit most dangerous chemicals.
  • Avoid aerosols, incense, and ventilate as much as possible.
  • Avoid prepared dishes and foods containing preservatives and additives (the famous "E"), very often of synthetic origin .
  • Rid meat of its fat, because toxins and pesticides are concentrated in the fat of the animals that we eat (they are fat soluble).

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