PREGNANCY AND CHEMICAL EXPOSURES
by Doris J. Rapp, M.D.
How Bad Is It Mom, and What You Can Do
Bad Is It?
have an epidemic of infertility in couples. In addition, the number
of stillborn or developmentally- or birth-damaged babies has increased.
One major cause of this infertility is the massive unavoidable exposure
to chemicals in our air, food, water, homes, schools and workplaces.
These chemicals are found in the blood, urine, fat, semen and breast
milk of most humans including young children. These chemicals can
unquestionably adversely affect a developing infant. (In one study
there was a 70% increase in stillborns if mothers were exposed to
one pesticide in the first three months of pregnancy.)1
All babies hiccup and kick a bit, but some pregnant mothers
notice that their unborn infant will suddenly start to hiccup or
kick so violently that they are in pain and cannot sleep. Sometimes
the mother's abdomen can be bruised or black and blue from the inside
because of the severe kicking. These mothers should think back to
what was eaten or smelled before the over-activity began. Foods
might take a few hours to cause a change but chemicals can affect
infants in minutes. Mothers often detect allergies to specific foods
or sensitivities from exposures to chemicals prior to the delivery
of an infant.2
After the baby is born, these same foods and chemicals can cause
similar sudden bouts of extreme hyperactivity.
At the present time the amount and the quality of the
sperm of many men has diminished. The sperm can be contaminated
with chemicals that can potentially seriously damage the baby at
the time of conception. Men who were in Viet Nam, for example, can
have semen that still contains dioxin or Agent Orange.1a,3 For nine
months unborn babies float and are exposed, inside and outside their
bodies, to chemicals such as DDT, lindane, and PCBs in the uterine
fluid. Their first bowel movement contains these same toxins. The
babies often are then fed breast milk, which is indubitably the
best food for infants, but many mothers' milk contains DDT, lindane,
PCBs or other chemicals.1b,4 In fact, human breast milk can contain
up to ten times the amount of chemicals that are found in a mother's
body, because breast milk is one way that nature enables a mother
to excrete toxins from her baby. In Japan the chemical content in
some breast milk was found to be so high that there was mention
they might consider it to be a toxic waste.1c,
5 If a milk or soy formula is selected to replace the breast milk,
it routinely can be put into plastic bottles and then heated in
the microwave. Microwaved food loses important nutrients. Heat in
the microwave enables the chemicals (phthalates) in the plastic
to enter the milk and then the baby. These chemicals can cause sexual
changes particularly in male babies and early puberty in the form
of breast development at 6 to 8 years of age in girls.1d
One last potential problem concerns diapers. Babies are typically
wrapped in disposable diapers for one to several years. These can
contain a chemical in the plastic called Bis-phenol A which again
can affect the sexuality and/or sex organs of boys.1e,6
Mothers Can Do about
Avoiding Chemicals Prior to Pregnancy:
For at least six months prior to conception:
· Eat only organic food as much as possible. Ask your spouse
to also do this. (A 1998 USDA report stated that nearly 55% of
7,000 fruits and vegetables contained pesticides.) Current methods
of detection are not completely accurate and believed to miss
up to 60% of pesticides in foods. It is reported that one single
apple can contain as many as 10 pesticides from a possible 37
different chemicals commonly found on apples.1f
· Try not to eat any genetically-engineered or irradiated
foods.1g Eat mainly fresh fruits and vegetables. Milk, soy and
corn tend to be genetically engineered at the present time. Animal
studies indicate pigs can become cripples and blind, cows die
earlier and have arthritis and more stillborns, and rats develop
thyroid cysts and prostate abnormalities from genetically engineered
foods. We do not have adequate studies showing the safety of these
products for human adults or infants.
· Drink only purified water in glass for at least six months before
attempting to become pregnant. Ask your husband to do likewise.
Eat nothing stored in plastic or Styrofoam.
· Check your urine, blood, and possibly semen, for toxins before
you attempt conception. Call AccuChem Lab 800.451.0116. The average
number of chemicals in blood is 99, but some single blood samples
can contain up to 700.
· Check your breast milk for chemicals near the time of delivery.
Call AccuChem Lab at 800.451.0116.
· Don't use heating pads or electric blankets when pregnant.
· Don't sleep on a bodyform-fitting synthetic mattress or pillows
which contain chemicals. · Don't sleep between polyester sheets
(formaldahyde) that have had fabric softeners used on them.
· Use only organic cotton or wool blankets, no synthetic fibers
or cotton that does not require ironing because it contains chemicals.