Celebrating Pregnancy Awareness Month Because Your Choices Do Matter photo 0

Celebrating Pregnancy Awareness Month Because Your Choices Do Matter

Celebrating Pregnancy Awareness Month Because Your Choices Do Matter

Alan Greene, MD, FAAP

All of us at Pregnancy Awareness Month® have been honored and have enormous gratitude for the ongoing support and commitment that Dr. Alan Greene, MD, FAAP has so consistently lent to us and our campaign since the 1st year of PAM.  We are constantly inspired by him and think you will be too, read on.  

Alisa & Anna


While reading the recent journal article, Environmental Chemicals in Pregnant Women, I was reminded of the importance of Pregnancy Awareness Month. This study highlights again how important your choices are everyday and especially while pregnant.

In this study, many industrial chemicals were found coursing through the blood of pregnant women. Some chemicals were found in women all across the country because of background levels widespread in the environment. Some varied state by state, according to environmental regulations there. 

But for some chemicals, the levels varied widely, as do the choices individual women make in the products they use in their homes and on their bodies. The antibacterial chemical triclosan is perhaps the best example of this. For most of us, there is no proven benefit from using this chemical. Meanwhile, many experts are concerned about triclosan causing bacterial resistance, increased allergies, thyroid hormone problems, and sex hormone imbalances.

Some women have a lot of triclosan in their bodies; some have almost none. Pregnant women in this study had more, on average, than non-pregnant women the same age.

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Five percent of pregnant women had triclosan levels more than 35 times higher than the average (median) pregnant woman in the study. It’s stored in the fat.

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Where does a woman get exposed? It’s obvious on the label of antibacterial liquid hand soaps. But it’s in lots of other products as well, from spoons to socks and from toys to trash bags. Many women are surprised to learn that it is often found in eye shadow, blush, lip gloss, lipstick (e.g., Revlon Overtime), facial cleansers (L’Oreal Dermo), fragrances (Avon NATURALS), antiperspirants (Soft &Dri, Old Spice), and toothpaste (Colgate Total).

The products you use change your body.

But what to do? Green and natural claims on labels can make it tough to tell the difference between good products and good marketing. Triclosan feels complicated – and that’s just one chemical. I have two simple suggestions.

  1. I suggest pregnant women or those with young families take an online field trip to Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep where you can easily check your favorite brands and see what’s in them and what it means. It’s a simple red, yellow, or green light system. Pay special attention to things you use on the skin, in the mouth, or that you spray in the air. You might love what you discover about your favorites – or choose to switch to one of the many safer brands.
  2. Instead or in addition, you may want to shop in a store like Ecomom where everything in the store has been selected to be healthy, safe, and smart – after doing the research every mom would do IF she had unlimited time and resources. You won’t find triclosan in anything at Ecomom – and you can be confident before squinting to try to find it on an ingredient list.
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When you pick products for yourself when you’re pregnant, you’re choosing for two.

Alan Greene, MD, FAAP

For more insights from this seminal study, visit DrGreene.com

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