The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.
Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy
These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.
If you really want to help prevent birth defects, remind women that the most vulnerable time is 4 to 12 weeks, and during that time, they want to avoid anything that smells or tastes bad. This means no use of household cleaning products that have a chemical odor; completely avoiding handling gasoline; no use of synthetic perfumes (almost all commercial perfumes are synthetic and based on petrochemicals - suggest organic essential oils instead); ideally, you could avoid situations where someone else is wearing perfume; no food that isn't known to be organic, so no eating out; and definitely avoid riding in a non-electric automobile or being around gasoline fumes or exhaust.
I'm very sensitive to chemical toxins, especially petrochemicals, so I've unfortunately had to go out of my way to eliminate toxins from my home and lifestyle. I avoid wearing synthetic clothing, I try to wear as much unbleached, organic cotton clothing as possible, and I use only natural products in my laundry and personal care. I eat only organic vegetables, except for the occasional eating out, and I drink only bottled spring water from high in the mountains. I even carry a quart of water with me when I go out so I only have to resort to other liquids in unusual circumstances. When we repainted the house, we had no trouble finding latex-based paints because the state of California has outlawed everything else, and we specifically avoided the use of polyurethane on the floors, using acrylic and mineral oil instead. I've stopped cooking with microwaves and using blenders because of the way they leave food with an electromagnetic charge that I don't want in my body.
I made a gross mistake and used an anti-dandruff shampoo for a couple of months, not realizing that coal-tar is apparently a carcinogen and definitely wreaked havoc with my liver. I'm still trying to detox from that.
So, "drugs" aren't the only toxins in the environment. I don't expect women to completely re-do their houses just to protect their babies, but they should be aware that anything synthetic is suspect. It breaks my heart to visit the homes of pregnant women and find them painting the baby's room and putting in new carpet, almost all of it introducing major toxins into the pregnant woman's life and the baby's environment. And they get new furniture, almost all of which is made from particleboard held together with noxious chemicals. And then they wrap the baby up in synthetic clothes washed in detergents and fabric softeners.
I know they're doing the best they know how, but this just alerts me to the fact that there's a great need for public education about environmental toxins.
I really got up on my soapbox about this one, but I've seen firsthand what chemical sensitivity can do to a previously healthy adult, and it's frightening to think what it might do to a vulnerable fetus or newborn.
P.S. The volume of my postings tells you that I'm the last one to throw
stones about exposure to radiation from cathode ray tubes, but there have
been studies . . . I admit I get a little nervous about all you pregnant
women sitting in front of your computers and monitors, and then later holding
your newborn at the keyboard. I know it's all just a matter of tradeoffs
and making choices, and the important information and support you get online
probably far outweighs any risk, but don't let the Morality Police catch
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