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Pregnant? Here are 7 ingredients to watch out for

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It's time to pay attention to the labels so that you don't put your baby's health at risk.

Pregnancy is a whole new world, and that means paying a lot more attention to ingredients and chemicals that you might not have thought twice about in your pre-maternal state. This list is not comprehensive, but features some of the most commonly used ingredients found in the items that you use every day.

Parabens

These are preservatives that are very common, particularly in foundation makeup, shampoo, body creams, sunblock, shaving gel, and facial wash. Experts worry that they can imitate natural estrogen, which can cause disturbances in the reproductive system, such as by increasing the possibility of estrogen-positive breast cancer tumors (although they are still testing to see if this is the case).

As for children’s products, the European Union banned parabens because they alter the endocrine system, causing hormonal imbalances. So it’s better not to risk it and to look for a paraben-free option, both for your baby and for you.

Phthalates

These dissolvents are banned in any toy or children’s item because they can cause asthma and increase the risk of childhood obesity. There are also studies showing that they can cause premature deliveries. And do you know where many of them are hidden? In your nail polish, aerosol deodorants, and hairspray. Read those ingredients!

Aluminum

Some time ago, there was an anti-aluminum campaign, particularly for deodorants. In this case, it’s best for all women to avoid deodorant with aluminum in it, since there is already evidence that connects it to breast cancer.

Butylhydroxyanisol (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT)

These are preservatives found mainly in eye shadows, lipsticks, blushes, lotions, and compact powders. There are studies showing that they can act as hormonal interrupters and cause development problems. Children and pregnant women are the most vulnerable.

Certain hair dyes

Generally, pregnant women are told that they shouldn’t dye their hair. But, according to the research, hair dye can be used in moderation if it does not have ammonium, mercury, or lead salts.

Caffeine

Caffeine is not only in coffee, but is also in some anti-cellulite creams. The problem is that babies’ bodies take a lot longer to process the caffeine, and they are exposed longer to its side effects, such as faster cardiac rhythm.

Retinol and vitamin A derivates

Many anti-wrinkle creams contain this substance because it stimulates the natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid. However, it can cause fetal malformations, especially in the first months.

If you feel overwhelmed with all the ingredients you have to watch out for, the best and easiest coping method is just to look for organic brands during your pregnancy. In fact, this is what inspired Jessica Alba to create her line of natural cosmetics and home products while she was pregnant with her first daughter.

This article was originally published in the Spanish edition of Aleteia and has been translated and/or adapted here for English speaking readers.

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