Chemical and Workplace Hazards
Your home and your work are places that you might be exposed to chemicals every day. One of the biggest problems in the home is lead paint. This is more often a problem in homes built before 1978 when all paint contained even trace amounts of lead. If you are unsure about your home's paint, you might have a few chips of paint analyzed. Lead can cause severe damage to a baby's growing brain and neurological system.
If you are repainting rooms in your home, you should consider how the paint fumes could affect you or your potential unborn child. Latex paint is considered much safer than oil-based paint because the fumes are less concentrated. When painting, be sure that you are in a well-ventilated area and take breaks as needed. It might also be a great excuse to leave the house and let your hubby do some housework!
If you work with chemicals at a laboratory or in a factory, start doing your homework. How might these chemicals affect the health of your pregnancy? Your employer should be able to tell you this information very easily. If you find that they cannot, contact the manufacturer of the chemical for a full report.
If you find that you are working with chemicals hazardous to a pregnant woman, you need to begin to make adjustments to prevent accidental exposure. It will buy you peace of mind during the preconception period.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) offers free pamphlets on patient education. They offer Planning Your Pregnancy (AB012) as one of their topics. Contact the distribution center at 800-762-2264.
Birth control is another issue that you many not have thought about. It's best to discontinue using any form of chemical birth control for at least three months prior to trying to conceive. This allows your body time to get back on its normal track and cycle. It gives you time to allow the chemicals to leave your body as you prepare for your healthy pregnancy.
However, you still need to find a way to prevent pregnancy while not using chemical methods. You might choose to use birth control options like barrier methods, such as condoms or a diaphragm. These have good success rates at preventing pregnancy and don't release hormones into your body.
By taking the time to do your homework and acting pregnant even before you are, you can save yourself some worry and extra headaches. It's all worth it on the day the test turns positive and you know you've been safe all along!