Healthy Home

Mamas on Bedrest: The Truth About Chemical Ingredients During Pregnancy

April 13th, 2012

I love it when other bloggers create well written blogs about really pertinent information. So it is with The Truth about Chemical Ingredients During Pregnancy. Aremisa May-Hailey, a doula, peer breastfeeding counselor and herbalist. In her post on, Aremisa gives great information about the effects certain chemicals found in cosmetics can have on your unborn baby. Citing information regarding Kourteny Kardashian having her hair dyed while pregnant, Aremisa provides the following information about potentially harmful chemicals for unborn babies.


Parabens which are commonly used as a preservative in skin care products, have been linked to having adverse affects on the reproductive systems of baby boys. Although this research is fairly new, parabens should be avoided.


Phythalates, also listed as DBP (diputyl phathalates), is an ingredient used in nail polish. Absorption in the mother’s blood stream has been linked to genital changes in baby boys.


Toulenes is another ingredient used in nail polish. The constant inhalation of these fumes is believed to cause developmental damage to the fetus.


In 2007, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 popular brands of lipstick. Out of those tested, 61% of them contained unsafe levels of lead. The issue here is that lead exposure can crosses the placenta very easily and can interfere with fetal development.


Retonoids is a form of Vitamin A commonly used in acne treatments and wrinkle creams. High doses of Vitamin A are known to be harmful to the fetus.

Hair Dyes

The Organization for Teratology Information Specialist (OTIS) reports that low levels of hair dye can be absorbed through the skin after application. It is also known that the dye is excreted through the urine. Therefore, there is no significant danger that has been proven as of yet.

Aremisa’s post contained many of the same chemicals we mentioned in our post where we relayed the recommendations and warnings from the American Academy of Pediatrics on chemicals and their effects of pregnant women, unborn babies, infants and children. Many chemicals, though not ingested orally are in fact absorbed through the skin, our largest organ. Once in a mama’s system, the chemicals have access to the unborn baby via the placenta. While the placenta acts as a filter for many substances such as nutrients, blood, oxygen and fluids, many other particles (chemicals) are able to penetrate the protective barrier. For some chemicals, such as those found in cosmetics and personal products, the amount of the chemicals in the products may be small, but because the products are used repeatedly (sometimes 2 and 3 times daily) the effective exposure can become significant. So as Aremisa, the American Academy of pediatrics and others have pointed out, mamas need to be aware of the ingredients in their personal products,  avoid those products that have the harmful chemicals listed and use care when using products so as not to produce a cumulative effect.

For more information on pregnancy and chemicals visit and or

Aremisa May-Hailey, Dallas Pregnancy Health Examiner

Aremisa May-Hailey is a full circle doula (ICTC), breastfeeding peer counselor, and acting state rep for International Center for Traditional Childbearing. She also owns and operates Indigenous Doula Services as well as Indigenous Remedies, which is a resource for herbal and holistic sciences….

Mamas on Bedrest: 9 Tips for Greener Living

November 9th, 2011

Click to take the postpartum depression survey conducted by Case Western Reserve University Thank you very much for your consideration.

My friend and colleague Rosalind Haney, RN, ACN, was recently awarded one of the Austin Birth Awards for “Best Nutritionist”.  Rosalind is a wealth of information and helps many couples achieve pregnancy naturally with her programs on health and nutrition. Rosalind recently sent out an e-mail with more alarming statistics on toxins in our environment. (We have discussed these very issues in previous blog posts on Green living and Healthy home.) With her permission, I am sharing the e-mail with you here as it contains some excellent practical tips Mamas can use right now.

Now let’s go green – as in a clean, green home for you and your family!

There is mounting evidence that man-made chemicals might mimic, amplify, or block our natural hormones effecting metabolism, mental processes, physical growth, sexual development, reproduction, and many aspects of fetal development.  [A study just last month in Pediatrics found in the womb exposure to bisphenol A (a compound used in making plastics) was associated with neurobehavioral problems in girls at age three. 10/24/11]

We know that 80 to 90% of our exposure to toxic chemicals comes from the food we eat and from the inside environment where we live and work – thus you do have a large measure of control to protect yourself and your family.

Top 5 changes to a safer, greener home:

1.     Ventilate, Ventilate, Ventilate!

Open windows a crack for an hour or so every day. Airtight homes allow toxic fumes and pesticides to accumulate to very high levels.  Ventilate the laundry room when washing and the bathroom when scrubbing and your office for clearing computer monitor and printer emissions.  Keep your garage door open for an hour after you pull your car in or park outside to allow the car to cool before pulling it into the garage.  Never idle the car in your garage.  Garages accumulate some of the nastier heavy metal toxins.

2.     Keep dust (pesticides, lead) outside of your home.

Place a commercial-grade doormat inside and outside of each door leading into your house or remove your shoesDust and vacuum inside your home twice a week.  [Active vacuuming increases dust kickoff for several hours.  Ventilate and do not vacuum in the presence of children.  A HEPA filter vacuum will remove 99.9% of dust particles.  Normal vacuuming removes only 5-15%.]

3.     Use only natural pesticides inside, outside, and on your pets.

Use natural cleaning supplies.  Avoid the most toxic offenders, which are oven & drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, and any extra strength cleaners.  Do not store any chemicals near heat or hot water pipes, which may volatize compounds into the air you breath.  [See below for recipes on how to make your own green cleaning products.]

4.     **Avoid plastics as much as possible (they are hormone disruptors!).

  • Do not heat food in plastic containers or use plastic wrap to cover.
  • Store only cooled food in plastic containers.
  • Drink from glass containers whenever possible.
  • Do not use plastic cutting boards.
  • Avoid cooking with Teflon, but if you must, use lower temps and never heat an empty pan (oil, liquid or food reduces the temp & the release of toxic gases).

5. Food and drink green checklist:

  • Eat “certified organic” protein foods (butter, cheese, milk, eggs and meats).
  • Most small, wild fish are safe seafood choices, with wild Alaskan Salmon having the most benefits.
  • Wash all produce and eat a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies.
  • Eat a diet low in rancid fats & trans fats (no fried fast foods or junk foods).
  • Eat fewer processed foods and more whole foods that you cook yourself.
  • Use filtered water.

Regarding “natural cleaning supplies” and making better choices, you can:

1.     Continue to use your current favorite cleaning product but purchase the one that is “Free” of perfume and “Clear” of dyes.

2.     Wean off your products to a green cleaning product line in your grocer.  The People’s Choice for 2011 was “7th Generation”.

3.     Google “healthy cleaning supplies you make yourself” for many simple and inexpensive recipe options with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen.

4.     A few examples of how to make your own cleaning supplies.  Many of the products you have in your home along with a few basic, inexpensive products (borax, washing soda, a natural liquid soap) can get you started.

Window Cleaner

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ tsp. of  liquid soap (to cut the wax residue from the Windex you may have used)
  • 2 cups of water

Oven Cleaner

  • Spray the oven with water
  • Shake on baking soda and salt
  • Spray again with water
  • Let it sit overnight
  • Wipe up in the morning and wash any remaining residue with liquid soap.

All-Purpose Cleaner

  • ½ tsp. of washing soda (such as Arm & Hammer Washing Soda – a “free” & “clear” detergent that boosts cleaning power by 40%)
  • 2 tsp. borax (a naturally occurring mineral compound that cleans and deodorizes – borax acts like a bleach by converting some water molecules to hydrogen peroxide)
  • ½ tsp. of natural liquid soap (a completely biodegradable soap, uncolored and unscented)
  • 2 cups of hot tap water
  • Combine in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved.  [Optional:  Add 3 drops of an essential oil – lemon, tea tree, lavender or eucalyptus.]

Mold and Mildew CleanerMold is very harmful and difficult to rid.  Prevention is the key.  You have many options.

1.     White distilled vinegar sprayed without rinsing is reported to kill 82 % of mold.  [Straight vinegar is also great for cleaning the toilet bowl.]

2.     Equal amounts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.

3.     Tea Tree oil is a natural antiseptic.  [Mix two cups of water and 3 drops of tea tree oil and spray your bathroom walls once a week.]

4.     Use Borax for scrubbing and to inhibit future growth.

Note:  The smell of vinegar and tea tree oil are very strong so ventilate to dissipate.

Conventional cleaning supplies are toxic to you and your family.  To minimize your toxic burden consider one or two or more of the safer options listed above.

To your safe and greener home,

Rosalind Haney, RN, ACN, Fertility & pregnancy guidance through health and nutrition

Note: Another excellent resource for creating a greener home is The Healthy Home Book by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz. The Healthy Home is Available in The Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond Amazon Store under “Healthy Living”.

Mamas on Bedrest: Pediatricians call for stricter laws on toxic chemicals

April 26th, 2011

In a policy statement issued on April 25, 2011, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) declared that the U.S. needs to do a better job protecting children and pregnant women from toxic chemicals.

The group says children’s developing brains and bodies are far more vulnerable than adults’ to toxins and is requesting that the Toxic Substance Control Act, first penned in 1976, be updated .The pediatrics group is the latest of a growing number of medical organizations — including the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association and American Public Health Association— to call for changes in the way that the government regulates dangerous chemicals.

As currently set up, the Toxic Substance Control Act relies on chemical manufacturers to raise concerns about their products and to test for product safety.

“That law treats chemicals as “innocent until proven guilty,” which puts the burden on the government to prove something is harmful,”  says pediatrician Harvey Karp, a longtime environmental advocate who was not involved in the new policy. And unlike the system for guaranteeing the safety of pharmaceutical drugs or substances added to food, the Toxic Substance Control Act limits federal officials from ordering testing or banning industrial chemicals. Although companies are required to notify the EPA about new chemicals, they aren’t require to test chemicals for safety. Only about 15% of these notifications include health or safety test data, according to the Government Accountability Office.

The AAP is requesting that before chemicals are allowed to be sold, they should be tested to consider how they can affect children and pregnant women.

Among the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations:

— The consequences of chemical use on children and their families should be “a core component” of the new chemical policy.

— Chemicals should meet standards similar to those required for new drugs or pesticides.

— Decisions to ban chemicals should be based on reasonable levels of concern, rather than demonstrated harm.

— The health effects of chemicals should be monitored after they are on the market, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should have the authority to remove a chemical from the market if it’s deemed dangerous.

Many children’s advocates say they’re concerned that toxic exposures could be fueling the recent rise in early puberty in girls and a variety of chronic diseases, such as autism, allergies, asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has introduced legislation to update the regulation of toxic chemicals four times. His most recent effort, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, was introduced this month. Some children’s advocates say they are more hopeful this time, because the chemical industry now supports changing the law.

Here is a short list of toxic chemicals particularly hazardous to children.

BPA – Bisphenol A. BPA is a building block of a lightweight, clear, heat-resistant and almost unbreakable plastic called polycarbonate. It’s also used in epoxy resins. It is found in water bottles, baby bottles, reusable food containers, plastic tableware, infant feeding cups, linings of infant formula cans and other cans, jar lids, CDs, electrical and electronic equipment, dental sealants.

Phthalates– This family of chemicals softens plastics. They also are used to bind chemicals together. They are found in Shampoos, conditioners, body sprays, hair sprays, perfumes, colognes, soap, nail polish, shower curtains, medical tubing, IV bags, vinyl flooring and wall coverings, food packaging and coatings on time-release pharmaceuticals and are absorbed through the skin.

PFOA — Perfluorooctanoic acid (also called C8). PFOA is used to make Teflon and thousands of other nonstick and stain- and water-repellent products.  PFOA is present in Teflon and other nonstick or stain- and water-repellent coatings as a trace impurity. These coatings are used on cookware, waterproof breathable clothing, furniture and carpets and in a myriad of industrial applications. PFOA can also be produced by the breakdown of these products.

Formaldehyde – Formaldehyde is an ingredient in resins that act as a glue in the manufacture of pressed wood products. formaldehyde can be found in pressed wood products such as particle board, plywood, paneling and fiberboard; also, glues and adhesives and durable press fabrics like drapes. A carcinogen.

Asbestos. Linked to lung cancers and lung disease. Still found in many products, from brake pads to some kinds of cement.

Hexane. Linked to nerve damage. A solvent in craft paints, spray glues, stain removers.

Hexavalent chromium. Linked to several kinds of cancers. Found in soil, water.

Methylene chloride. Can cause poisonings and death. Found in wood-floor cleaners, water repellents, spray shoe polish.

Flame retardants. Linked to altered brain development resulting in loss of IQ points; some linked to cancer. Used in polyurethane foam in couches, nursing pillows and strollers. Flame retardants used to be used in children’s pajamas. If you have older or “hand me downs” check for flame retardants on the fabrics.

Tricholoroethylene. Linked to cancer in animals and birth defects. Used in rug cleaners and spot removers.

Vinyl chloride. Linked to liver disease in animals. Used in polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, and in flooring, car interiors and children’s toys.

This list is in no way exhaustive, but merely shows what in our normal, everyday life we are being exposed to. If you want to know how you can reduce your exposure, we highly recommend reading The Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz. If you would like a free copy of the book, simply post a comment to this blog stating how toxins have affected you or your family and/or how you are making changes to live in a less toxic environment.

If you want to discuss how you can make your home less toxic, sign up for a Complimentary 30 minute Bedrest Breakthrough Session. In this session we’ll focus on how you can take simple steps to have a healthier, less toxic home.


The Chicago Tribune


USA Today