7 of My Favorite Product categories to SWAP out for Cleaner Alternatives during pregnancy to Reduce Toxic Exposure
1. Cleaning Products
Every modern-day mama, knows that cleaning products are to be considered both during pregnancy and with young children in the home. "Dirty" cleaning products wreak havoc on your endocrine system, and are a known contributor to cancer, autoimmune responses and other ailments. Especially during pregnancy, the first thing I would switch out is my cleaning products! But we all know that is easier said then done, especially when our nesting response kicks in. So, how do you stay away from cleaning products during pregnancy?
First, give yourself an excuse to clean less. I said it. Rather than wiping down the counter with disinfectant nightly, try wiping it down with water or consider using Norwex cloths, which are chemical-free, microfiber cloths that incorporate natural antibacterial properties to clean by adding water. If you just can't stand it and need the chemical clean (which I am guilty of), consider using a safer alternative, such as The Honest Company or Mrs. Meyers products. Or, take it one step further and hire a housekeeper every so often. This will keep you away from harsh chemicals, while also keeping your house in tip-top shape. Whether you or a housekeeper are using the products, I always opt for cleaner options. Here are a few of my favorite brands:
2. Facial Skincare Products
The next thing I would consider switching up is your skincare routine. Personally, I don't take chances with skincare products, which is why I use (and sell) Beautycounter. Beautycounter is, yes, a multi-level marketing company that sells skincare and cosmetics products that are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. That isn't the company's only bottom line though, it was founded with the intent of getting safer skincare into the hands of everyone, not just us pregnant women. This is why Beautycounter ensures their products are not only safe, but that they are also effective. The line isn't 100% organic because Beautycounter argues that not all synthetic chemicals and ingredients are harmful. Similarly, Beautycounter argues that not all organic ingredients are beneficial. The key is to include the right ingredients that are safe for your body, that will also leave your skin glowing and radiant.
I still like to look beautiful and glowing during pregnancy, which is why I have invested BIG TIME in Beautycounter and their respective products. Here are a list of my favorite products:
If you vehemently despise MLM companies, check out the Drunk Elephant.
As a daily makeup wearer, I failed to change up my makeup routine with my first two pregnancies... and I regret it, majorly. Yes, my two little boys are perfectly healthy, but there is something about makeup (heavy metals, lead, etc.) that sets off a flashing red siren when it comes to things I am cognizant of during this third pregnancy. Because I wear makeup everyday, I need to be even more scrutinous of things like foundation, which goes all over my skin! Again, this is why I have invested in selling Beautycounter. In addition to their skincare/bodycare line, they also have a makeup line. The products are 100% safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and are also made to enrich your skin. So when you wear your makeup, you are not only doing your body (and your baby) a favor, you are doing your skin a favor, as well. Hello, anti-aging makeup during pregnancy!
When it comes to makeup, be smart with what you choose to invest in and don't break the bank on things that may make a minor difference. For instance, I feel that foundation is extremely important to switch out because I wear it daily and I put it on all over my face. Alternatively, mascara goes on the ends of my lashes, so if I had to pick and choose, I would choose to switch out foundation over mascara. However, it all adds up, again which is why I have totally reinvented my makeup routine with Beautycounter (at least for the time being).
Also - a heads up if you are a heavy makeup wearer like myself, Beautycounter is a lighter finish and a lighter look. While at first, I wasn't sure I could get used to the look and feel of the makeup, I have grown to love it. I can no longer put my old products on my face. One, they totally destroy my skin with how much progress I have made since switching over to Beautycounter. Two, they feel so heavy now that I am used to the lighter, more natural feel of Beautycounter.
Here are a few of my favorites that are part of my daily routine:
4. Bath and Body
Another category that is super important, seeing that your skin is the largest organ, is products that come in contact with your body, aka what you keep in the shower. Truth be told, I never switched out my shampoo and conditioner for a safer alternative because I could never find one that worked equal to or greater than my current routine. Enter Beautycounter. The Beautycounter Daily Shampoo is actually what sold me on the company. I rationed that if they could figure out something as complex as shampoo and make it effective, their line must be something to consider, and I was right. Lo and behold the rest of the bath and body products are nothing short of incredible. In fact, a lot of people consider this to be a highlight of the Beautycounter line, including people like Gwyneth Paltrow. Here are a few of my favorites...
Supplements are a category that I see as super important for prenatal (and also postnatal) health. Generic prenatal vitamins include unhealthy fillers, don't absorb as well and can actually contribute to a toxic buildup in your body if they don't include the correct form of supplementation. For instance, if you have the MTHFR gene mutation and take a vitamin that includes folic acid rather than folate, the folic acid can buildup in your system causing toxicity. Not only that, your body is unable to absorb and breakdown the folic acid, which in turn means your baby isn't getting the benefit that is so important for development. Instead, physician grade supplements ensure that you are getting all of the right and up-to-date nutrients when it comes to your prenatal vitamin.
If you are interested in taking our prenatal vitamins, which are all physician grade, you can check them out here. We require that you fill out a health questionnaire, which you can find here. This is because our supplements are physician grade! Not everyone is able to get their hands on them and it is technically a practitioner/patient basis that we sell them based on.
Here are the vitamins that I take:
I recommend downloading our Postpartum Slimdown Guide, even if you aren't pregnant. You won't be able to partake in the detox/product portion of the program, but there are some helpful tidbits about diet in the 21-Day Maintenance portion of the program. This includes a long list of foods to avoid and why. I won't go into why, but here is the list. If you are interested in reading, please checkout our guide!! Foods to avoid:
While dairy and gluten may not necessarily be things you must avoid during pregnancy, I've felt it important to at least so how my body reacts to both of those food groups. Personally, I do best while not consuming dairy or gluten. That said, dairy can be very beneficial during pregnancy. Gluten, eh, probably not so much. I say just trust your body and don't try to cut out too many food groups if you aren't used to it! If you are used to cutting out things like gluten and dairy, I'd say give it a try during pregnancy and at least try to consume these food groups in moderation.
7. Water Filtration System
Okay, these may seem like a big jump and I may lose some people on this one. Not to mention, whole home water filtration systems cost around $3,800. So why is it so important to get a whole home water filtration system and at the very least a reverse osmosis water system for drinking water? Well, Hayley Cate has a whole post on why tap water is bad during pregnancy; you can read it here.
Basically, bacteria and nitrates can make their way into our water and potentially the following harmful elements:
These are obviously bad for your body and your baby. Mercury and lead are classified as heavy metals, which are a big no-no during pregnancy. Why? Toxic levels of heavy metals can displace essential minerals and may affect the development of your baby during pregnancy. High chlorine consumption has been found to be linked to a variety of ailments including various cancers, reproductive problems, problems with the immune system and heart attacks. Antibiotics, on the other hand, wreak havoc on your body's microbiome, killing both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria in your body during pregnancy is necessary and also shapes your baby's development of his or her microbiome. And synthetic estrogen? Dare I go further.
Now that we know that tap water or unfiltered water is problematic, especially during pregnancy. What can you do to help it? Opt for filtered water if feasible.
Two Most Common Water Filter Technologies:
Alrighty, ladies... that's it for now! Hopefully I didn't scare you away, but if you're into this stuff (like I am), it is interesting and worthwhile to invest in you and your baby's health. And it starts at pregnancy. Do what you can to start your little one ahead of the curve. Health is their birth right!
Photos: Jessica Valentine Photo
Today marks 17 weeks along my pregnancy journey! I am feeling incredible, fully like myself again, but at the same time am starting to look pregnant... and not just from the side, if you know what I mean. We will get into all of that good stuff here in this blog post, so might as well get started talking about my 17 week pregnancy update; here we go...
Current Disposition: Overall, I feel totally and completely like myself - woo hoo! Energy-wise, mood-wise, and personality-wise. I feel like I keep saying that from week to week since 15 weeks, but it feels like it's getting better and better. At 17 weeks, I mentally don't feel like I'm pregnant. I kind of wake up and go about my day, and tend to forget that I have a baby brewing inside of me. On the flip side, while my mentality is going strong, my body feels fully pregnant ha! I will talk more about this in the body section.
Boy or Girl?: Most of you know that we are not finding out the gender until delivery. Again, this is something that Ryan and I did with both boys and because of our history with it, we've decided to keep the tradition alive. I don't need to reiterate, but there is something so special about waiting til the day-of to meet your little bundle of joy and to find out who he or she is. So where does that leave me in terms of my own thoughts about gender? Well, I haven't the slightest clue! Lately, I've been feeling like this baby is a girl. Almost completely sure that it has to be a girl given the odds that we already have two boys. I mean, right? With two boys, how can we possible get another little boy? Currently, the room that will become baby's nursery is somewhat geared towards a little girl, so I think I presumably feel like it has to be a little girl. With that said, we have no clue what our girls name would be and alternatively, we have the strongest little boys name. I've heard variations of it, but have only heard this version of his name once on a documentary (which is actually where we got the idea for the name!). I love this name so much that I almost hope we have a little boy. Is that weird? Also, I think I feel more comfortable with the idea of having a boy, but then I quickly give it to God and say, "Just give us what you think we need to complete our family... (or even not to complete it), but to make it exactly how HE wants it." Giving up the gender - out of my control - makes me stop and remember that this baby's gender isn't about me. It is about glorifying God on this earth and teaching me more about who I need to be in order to glorify Him. Even still, if you asked me what I want (a boy or a girl), I honestly couldn't give you a straight answer. And that is from my heart of hearts!
Diet: Okay, so my diet has been crap the last week. I mainly attribute it to the fact that we had family in town for Vance's second birthday party. That meant that I was off of my normal routine and was faced with opportunities to eat more crap, such as leftover birthday cake in the morning, bagels with cream cheese for breakfast, heavier dinners, more sugary drinks, and so on. Generally, I am able to control my diet in these types of situations, but for whatever reason (maybe the fact that I am pregnant), I let myself go a little. Doing so, I can definitely feel the excess weight on my body. Yes, I am pregnant which means more weight, but this weekend caused an even bigger weight gain, in my opinion... which is totally fine, just means I need to get back on the horse and continue on with my pregnancy and health journey.
Weight: As for weight, I am still within the healthy range of weight gain, but on the upper end, which gives me reason to tighten up my diet a little bit over the next month or so. I believe at 17 weeks pregnant that I should have gained between 5 and 8 pounds, and I have gained about 7 - at 136/137 lbs. Not bad, but also not great. I do go to the doctor next Tuesday, which means a real weight checkin, but honestly their scale is always a pound or two heavier than my own, so I usually just go with my own scale!
Nursery: Currently trying to figure out how I am going to house this little babe. Right now, we have two guest rooms in our house; one downstairs and one upstairs. The baby is planning on going in the upstairs guest room, which is currently setup with a queen bed and cute furniture. While I'd love to space plan a nursery, I am also trying to get creative with how I am going to do it without moving the queen bed in and out. What I am thinking of doing is just keeping the bed in the nursery for nursing and for reading, since we have a huge playroom a few steps away that can be used for tummy time and the like. Anyhow, currently the room's colors are black, grey, cream, pink, blue and purple. I know, totally girly. Again, I think I may leave it until he or she gets here ( I totally almost called it a SHE by the way! Which I never did in my past pregnancies with my boys.. they were always he even though we didn't know the gender). Anyhow, we will indefinitely be doing a nursery reveal whether it is making over V's current nursery or redoing the new nursery altogether. Stay tuned!
Exercise: As for exercise during this pregnancy, I am crushing it! No, I am not working out everyday, but pretty dang close to it. What do I do for exercise? Generally, I do spin class a few times per week, maybe some barre, a tabata class and throw in a few 30 minute 3 mile runs. All in all, I workout either 5 to 7 days per week. I'd say that is pretty good for a pregnant lady. Also, to make my workouts more manageable and comfortable, and given my round ligament pain, I have partnered with Baobei Maternity and am using one of their ProBump Pregnancy Belly Support Bands. So far it has helped reduce round ligament pain and discomfort SO much. During my second pregnancy, I had to stop running at 20 weeks pregnant given extremely painful round ligament pain. Thus, I am hoping this belly band will help to prolong my runs into pregnancy, if possible.
Feelings About Going From Two to Three: In the first trimester, I had the worst anxiety about our decision to have a third. Looking back, I fully think it stemmed from how lethargic and nauseous I felt. Because I felt terrible and thus unable to care properly for my two sons, my thoughts shouted, "And you're having a third?? How is that going to be possible when you can barely take care of these two boys?" Yes, Satan shouting in my ear constantly. I was filled with doubt and sometimes bitterness. But, after hearing a mom speak at a MOPs talk, she reminded me that doubt is not believing that God will get it right, while bitterness is believing that God got it wrong. Ummm hello, Brooke! God got it right, and I prayed for him to show me a sign, when I should have known that Him putting it on both my husband and my heart to get pregnant was our sign... AND THEN me getting pregnant was the ultimate sign!! But to stop and think that he got it wrong... oh no, no he did not. And like I said, I really think this notion stemmed from the fact that I felt so helpless during the first trimester. My boys were watching so much TV, something that I rarely let them do during the day... they literally get like 45 minutes of screen time at night, if that. But compared to us parking in front of the television screen first thing in the morning until the afternoon and sometimes until my husband got home, it felt like a lot. I began to feel like a failure as a mom. What I needed was to give myself a big dose of grace, and to reiterate to myself daily that God certainly got it right, and that I needed to parent with the cadence of my capability at the time. And at that time, during the first trimester, I wasn't able to do much as a parent.. and you know what? That is okay! I am growing a baby and with that comes setbacks, but ultimately, this baby is going to be the biggest gift to our family and also to my two little boys. I just know it. All in all, I feel very confident going into this third pregnancy with the idea that we will add a third kiddo to the crew. I do have some reservations about Vance, my youngest, because he is SUCH a mama's boy right now. Literally, he won't go to sleep unless I read him stories and rock him to bed... no one else. If Ryan tries to do it, Vance will wail, crying out, "Where's mommy??" And only calms in my presence. He also loves physical touch - totally his love language - and loves being close to me or having me hold him. I've also noticed moments in which he becomes a bit jealous of other kids, even Rhett sometimes, if they get too lovey with me. So ya, I am a little lost at how I am going to handle him no longer being the baby and having to share myself with him and another, but I also know that I will find a way. Rhett, on the other hand, is cool as can be. The joys of him getting older and more mature! He is so excited about meeting the baby. He really could care less. In fact, he is more excited to attend his big boy school next year than anything else!
That is all for now mamas! Please leave me comments with where you are at on your own journey. I love reading them and having a community along the way. Stay tuned for next week!
Photos: Jessica Valentine Photo