In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

Pregnancy Essentials

Pregnancy Essentials
Credit: Elena Pimonova ©
By Juliet Spurrier, MD ⋅ Mom-in-Chief
Wednesday July 18, 2018

The journey of discovering you are pregnant to holding your baby for the first time is an incredible one. There is nothing like this moment when you are filled with new energy and growing life. It is a time of unbelievable emotional and physical growth where important decisions and lifestyle changes will happen.

The goal of our Pregnancy Essentials series is to help guide you through the journey from prenatal vitamins to packing your bag for your labor day. We'll share what you need for each stage, and include product recommendations and tips from BabyGearLab's founder and board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Juliet Spurrier. This article is long, but you can use the Table of Contents to go directly to any section you want to learn more about.

Pregnancy Essentials by Stage

Here are the standout pregnancy stages you'll find in this article. We encourage you to skip around as you see fit:

You may also find Baby Essentials for the First Year interesting, especially the section that covers your time in the hospital with your newborn.

Credit: auremar ©

Getting Pregnant

The experience of getting pregnant varies from woman to woman. Some get pregnant quickly or by accident. For others, time and patience are key and can include medical intervention. No matter where your journey begins, pregnancy is a thrilling ride of personal and physical growth as human life grows in your womb. Nothing is cooler than the miracle of creating life. Have no doubt that pregnancy will be an unforgettable ride.

This article includes essential health and product-related information to make the pregnancy experience a smoother, comfortable trip from the twinkle in your eye to cradling your sweet baby for the first time.

clearblue digital ovulation test
Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test
Credit: Clearblue

Prime Time: Ovulation

  • Ovulation Tracker — Using an ovulation tracker can help many women get pregnant. They track your LH surge and tell you when you are most likely to get pregnant and should have intercourse. The Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test is the top option when it comes to ovulation trackers. They have basic and more complex options depending on your needs.

Doctor's Visit and Vitamins

If you take prescription meds, you should meet with your doctor before getting pregnant to see if they are safe for you and your baby during pregnancy. Also, your doctor can discuss important pregnancy basics with you including:

  • Folic Acid — Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) are the leading cause of congenital central nervous system malformation that results from the failure of the neural tube to close during days 21 to 28 of pregnancy at the upper (anencephaly) or lower (spina bifida) ends of the brain and spinal cord. The incidence of NTDs in North America ranges from 0.4 to 4 per 1,000 live births. Folic acid supplementation of 400 mcg/day, like that found in Nature's Bounty Folic Acid, for 2-3 months prior to conception can be an important preventive measure against NTDs. This recommendation is additional to what is naturally present in a varied diet. Dietary folate is also an important supplement found in leafy greens (particularly spinach), vegetables (especially asparagus and brussels sprouts), fruits, beans, peas, nuts, dairy, eggs, fish, poultry, meat, and grains. So, chow down on a big salad, sautéed spinach, combined with overall healthy eating. Your growing baby will love you for it. Increase folic acid supplementation to 600 micrograms/day during pregnancy to accommodate the rapid cell growth of your baby. Many folic acid supplements, including prenatal vitamins, include a higher level of 800 micrograms/day for this very reason.

The acceptable upper limit of folic acid for a woman of 18+ years is 1,000 micrograms/day.

rainbow light prenatal one multivitamin
Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin
Credit: Rainbow Light
  • Prenatal Vitamins — If you take a prenatal vitamin, it should contain enough daily folic acid along with a complete vitamin profile that includes Iron, Vitamin D, and Calcium. Some women experience nausea with prenatal vitamins. If this happens to you, try taking them with food or try a whole food variety. For a great over the counter vitamin, we recommend Rainbow Light Prenatal One Multivitamin, this prenatal is whole food based and is easier on the tummy. One tablet contains 800 micrograms of Folic Acid, 30 mg of Iron, 200 mg of Calcium, and 400 IU of Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol).

  • Calcium Supplement — Because the average prenatal can be shy of adequate Calcium, or if your diet fails to provide this essential nutrient for bone health, consider adding the Rainbow Light Food-Based Calcium to your daily regime. Although the recommended one tablet/day is a pretty hefty size, it will boost your daily calcium by an extra 500mg/day and provide 500 IU of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) as well.

It is crucial not to go overboard on Vitamin D. A maximum oral intake of 1,000 IU of Vitamin D a day is usually sufficient.

  • DHA — DHA contains Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for mom and for a developing fetus' brain and eye development. Because fish oil can contain mercury and other heavy metals, it is reasonable to opt for a plant-based DHA like Spectrum Prenatal DHA.

  • Eliminate — There are several things you should eliminate for baby's health while trying to conceive or when pregnant. No alcohol (yes, that includes wine). No energy drinks (what the what!). No smoking. No drugs (need we say it?). No raw fish (including sushi). No unpasteurized soft cheeses (bye-bye brie, hello parmesan). No deli meats. And last, no cleaning the kitty litter box (get to scooping Dad!).

  • Reduce — There are other things you should limit when pregnant or trying to conceive for your health as well as baby's. Expectant mothers should limit caffeine intake to under 200 milligrams per day, which is about one 12-ounce cup of coffee. While some mothers drink more, doctors feel it is best to limit the amount because everything will eventually make it the baby. Moms should also limit over the counter medications and should always read labels and discuss medications with their doctor before consumption to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks. Also, avoid excessive exposure to paint, cleaning products, and other products that can emit potentially noxious fumes (see our living green recommendations below).

Credit: olegdudko ©

Dental Health

Dental health may seem unrelated to pregnancy, but allow it is very important. Periodontal disease can cause preterm labor. So, to help keep the bun in the oven until its due, get check-ups and follow your dentist's recommendations. If you can, try to get a checkup and dental work before pregnancy. The following are useful hygiene helpers:

  • ToothpasteKiss My Face Anticavity Fluoride Whitening Gel, comes in a fresh and cool mint gel, is a fluoride paste that doesn't contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or artificial ingredients, colors, or sweeteners. It is a healthy way to remove plaque build-up, whiten teeth, and freshen breath.

  • Dental Floss — If you use wax floss, you may consider switching to an unwaxed option like POH No Wax Classic 490 Nylon Floss for a better clean. While wax floss does a decent job of removing food particles between teeth, it doesn't remove plaque as well as unwaxed floss. So while something like switching floss may seem trivial, it can make a difference at your regular check-ups.

  • Teeth Cleaners — A great compliment to unwaxed floss is GUM Soft-Picks. These successfully remove food that floss may not capture and it contributes to plaque removal. They are also a handy tool for on-the-go cleaning.

  • Xylitol — Last in your dental arsenal, xylitol-containing mints and gum help reduce decay. Having xylitol spread around can help you keep your pearly whites pristine. Epic Xylitol Gum is a tasty option that is easy to chew. While xylitol gum has a limited flavor life, this brand seems to last longer than other brands.

Toxic to Pets
Xylitol can be toxic to dogs and other pets, so be sure to keep these items safely out of the reach of your furry friends.

Credit: ©

Creating a Toxin-Free, Green Home

Pregnant or not, following a green lifestyle is a worthwhile endeavor. It is a never-ending learning process with tweaks that can happen here and there that pay dividends in the long run for your health and baby's. There are several ways to accomplish it, and many are budget-friendly.

This topic requires a dedicated article and it is on our list. In the meantime, we'd have some useful resources that we think are helpful in the pursuit of green living. The Environmental Working Group has a list of the Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disrupters that we highly recommend reading. Another resource we recommend is Healthy Child, Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home.

Green Commercial Cleaners

Traditional household cleaners like Clorox, 409, and Lysol leave chemical scents and residues that trickle into the water supply and harm wildlife. Fortunately, green cleaning products are widely available from Babyganics, Ecover, Method, Seventh Generation, and Meyers Clean Day, so you can find a green cleaner for your budget that works well and is easier on the Earth.

bon ami powder cleanser
Bon Ami Powder Cleanser
Credit: Bon Ami
  • Powder Cleanser — An awesome powder cleanser is Bon Ami Powder Cleanser; it is Hypoallergenic and contains no chlorine, perfume, or dye. It is biodegradable, doesn't scratch, and is made with five natural ingredients including limestone (calcium carbonate), feldspar, surfactant (from coconut and corn oil), soda ash, and baking soda.

  • ToiletMethod AntiBac Toilet is an environmentally friendly, antibacterial toilet cleaner that uses citric acid as its active ingredient. Spearmint is combined with peppermint, menthol, and geranium to create a clean scent that is typically tolerable during pregnancy.

  • Air Freshener — If you must have a product to neutralize odors, we suggest all-natural options made with essential oils. Air Scense Natural Air Freshener is an all-natural, non-aerosol air freshener with essential oils and plant derivatives. This one has a variety of scents, with no artificial ingredients or synthetic perfumes, and the oils neutralize odors.

  • Glass — We like BabyGanics Multi Surface Cleaner for glass products and mirrors. This cleaner works without leaving residue or streaks. BabyGanics is a gentle, plant-based product safe enough to use around your baby but powerful enough to clean. This cleaner is safe for sealed hard surfaces including glass, countertops, walls, floors, and painted surfaces. The formula is non-toxic, with no ammonia, bleach, phosphates, phthalates, sulfates, artificial fragrances or dyes. If all that isn't fancy enough, it has never been tested on animals (hooray!).

  • LaundryNellie's All Natural Laundry Soda is a concentrated, all natural product that works in all water temps, and leaves clothes feeling soft and smelling clean. It takes just one tablespoon for a whole load, and the ingredients are environmentally friendly, so you can feel good while you save money.
biokleen bac-out stain + odor remover
Biokleen Bac-Out Stain + Odor Remover
Credit: Biokleen
  • Stain RemoverBiokleen Bac Out Stain and Odor Remover contains strains of live enzyme-producing cultures for multiple uses. The product continues to produce enzymes that attack organic waste and odors until they are gone. Food-grade lime extract eliminates stains and odors related to pet stains, diapers, coffee, tea, berries, chocolate, ink, grease, and oil. Bac Out is environmentally friendly with no negative effects on water or wildlife. It has no harsh fumes and is gentle on sinuses and skin. This remover contains no glycol ether, alcohol, chlorine, petrochemicals, phosphate, MEA, EDTA, nonyl phenol, sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate, artificial fragrance, colors or preservatives.

  • Bleach Alternative — Traditional chlorine-based bleach deodorizes and whitens, but it is not healthy for your body or the Earth, and it poses an extreme hazard to children if ingested or inhaled. A great alternative to remove stains and odors, and to whiten whites and brighten colors, is to use a non-chlorine based oxygen powder like Charlie's Soap Oxygen Bleach. Charlie's takes toxic out of the equation and provides a product you can feel better about using. Charlie's is an ultra-concentrated, chlorine-free bleach that non-toxic and rinses clean.

  • Dishwasher DetergentGrab Green Automatic Dishwashing Detergent is a green alternative to the usual chemical laden standard fare. This formulation cleans dishes, remove grease and leave a spotless finish. It uses naturally-derived ingredients that are non-toxic, free of phosphates, chlorine, and dyes, which means dishes are free of potentially harmful residue. Grab green is also fragrance-free and imparts no flavor to the plate or future food.

  • Dishwasher Rinse Aid — Many dishwashers require a rinse agent for complete cleaning. If your machine needs this, an eco-friendly option can be difficult to find. Ecover Rinse Aid prevents streaking and calcium deposits with no chemical residue. It uses plant-based ingredients that biodegrade quickly and entirely with minimum impact on wildlife and water life. Ecover Rinse Aid is safe for septic tanks and has not undergone animal testing.

  • Dish Soap — Available in seven scents using high-quality, certified organic essential oils (lavender, peppermint, almond, citrus orange, eucalyptus, rose, tea tree, and unscented) including an unscented formula, Dr. Bronner's Castile Liquid Soap is a concentrated all-purpose liquid soap appropriate for most cleaning tasks. Scrub the counter! Use it to wash your hair and body! Wash pots, pans, sippy cups, or hands! You can even use it to clean on a camping trip because it's biodegradable! The ingredients are refreshingly pure with a base of natural oils (coconut, palm kernel, olive, jojoba, and hemp), tocopherol (Vitamin E), and essential oil mixed with water, citric acid, and potassium hydroxide; the latter of which is used up in the process of the oils saponifying to create liquid soap and glycerin. As such, potassium hydroxide is devoid in the final product.

Credit: thamkc ©

DIY Cleaners

If your budget is tight, you can make cleansers via simple internet recipes or books like The Organically Clean Home (available free for Kindle subscribers) and create a great natural fragrance with essential oils. The following ingredients can do the trick with a little elbow grease:

  • Spray BottlesSally's Organics Glass Spray Bottle comes in clear, blue, or brown glass. These bottles are beautiful but require care to avoid breaking them. If a cleaning solution contains essential oil, the colored glass will keep them effective longer by limiting exposure to sunlight.

  • Distilled White Vinegar — A staple of any good cleaning kit, white vinegar can be used by itself or with other ingredients to get the cleaning done quickly. White vinegar cuts grease, eliminates odors and removes mildew, some stains, and wax build-up. Plus, it is a must-have for cleaning most humidifiers.

  • Baking Soda — aka Sodium Bicarbonate, Arm and Hammer Baking Soda can clean, deodorize, scour, and soften water. This product is good for loads of cleaning applications from brushing teeth to deodorizing kitchen drains. It also does a good job scrubbing tubs and keeping refrigerators fresh.

arm & hammer super washing soda
Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
Credit: Arm & Hammer
  • Washing Soda — aka Sodium Carbonate, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. It is possible to make your own washing soda, but buying it is the easiest way to go as washing soda is somewhat caustic and gloves are required when handling. You can't eat it like baking soda, and it should not come in contact with skin. However, if you need something with a little oomph, then this is a good choice. Super Washing Soda adds extra cleaning and freshening power for tough jobs. This product is all natural and also works as a detergent booster for laundry.

  • Borax — Borax is an excellent cleaning tool to have in your natural toolbox. 20 Mule Team Borax is a natural laundry booster and multi-purpose household cleaner. It can make your dishes sparkle, and it helps eliminate stains and odors.

  • Corn Starch — You probably already knew that cornstarch is good for thickening liquids, but you probably didn't know it is also good for cleaning windows, polishing furniture, and shampooing. Anthony's Organic Corn Starch is a non-GMO option that is certified organic.

  • Lemon — Lemon is good for more than adding a fresh scent. It is a robust natural acid that acts against most household bacteria.

  • Orange Essential OilAura Cacia Sweet Orange Essential Oil can help lend a fresh scent to any at home cleaning product. Some believe that orange essential oil can be uplifting, refreshing, and cheering; not a bad bonus while cleaning.

Personal Care Products

Did you know that mainstream personal care products typically contain loads of chemicals that aren't so good for you? For instance, hair and skin products are no strangers to synthetic chemicals such as parabens, sulfates, and phosphate. Also, did you know that mineral-based sunscreens containing zinc and titanium dioxide are better for you and the environment than chemical-based ones?! Antibacterial liquid hand soaps are bad news as well because they typically use triclosan as an active ingredient, which has been found to be yuck-o.

Credit: Olga Yastremska ©

Phasing these things out of your life is definitely a step in the right direction. Why should you bother? Because your skin is the largest organ in your body with the incredible potential to absorb the things we put on it, just as our internal body does with what we ingest or breathe. We are big on label reading for personal care products you use both during and outside of pregnancy and we recommend you do the same.

With just a little extra know-how and effort, it is easy to make the change to using healthier personal care products. It takes a shift in mindset, some dedicated label reading, and a commitment to purchasing healthier products, much the same as a change in diet dictates. Focus on replacing one product at a time, so you don't feel overwhelmed and to ensure it doesn't cause any skin reactions.

A great resource to begin learning about and researching better products is the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database run by the Environmental Working Group. In general, finding products with a rating of either 1 or 2 will be a giant step in the right direction. Give it a whirl and look up some of your most commonly used personal care products to get the lowdown. Beware, it is very easy to get bogged down in the details, which is fine, but much like Pinterest, it can be addictive!

avoid parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme essential oils during...
Avoid parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme essential oils during pregnancy.
Credit: Wikipedia
It is also wise to educate yourself regarding the use of essential oils during pregnancy. It is generally recommended to steer clear of them during the first trimester, but certain diluted oils are fine for use on the skin in the second and third trimesters. However, particular essential oils must be avoided during pregnancy as they can cause uterine contractions and potential miscarriage. Common ones include rosemary, clary sage, cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, Spanish or French lavender (lavandula stoechas), parsley, and thyme. (In fact, Simon and Garfunkel's third album and the song "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme" will help you remember much of this list.) You would be surprised how many products contain rosemary essential oil due to its great antioxidant property. However, we found conflicting opinions on whether or not it has a preservative or antibacterial qualities. Although essential oils and extracts such as rosemary and clary sage are likely in small concentration in personal care products, it is better to play it safe and avoid them altogether.

Common essential oils that get the green light in the second and third trimesters are common lavender (lavandula angustifolia and lavandula latifolia), sweet orange, grapefruit, eucalyptus, chamomile, tea tree, sandalwood, patchouli, rose, and rosewood.
During pregnancy and lactation, it is important to use high-quality essential oils such as those from Aura Cacia. They should never be taken internally or used undiluted. Over large areas, topical use should not exceed 1% dilution and 3% dilution for small areas; dilution requires a carrier oil such as extra virgin olive, grapeseed, sweet almond, calendula, avocado, and jojoba. Daily use is not advised; rather occasional use for nausea, insomnia, or fatigue is best. Last, ensure that all essential oils are of the reach of children.

We have used all of the personal care products listed below as well as many of their competitors and have scoured each ingredient list. Each one passes some pretty serious muster as well as the sensitive skin challenge. Of course, sensitivities can vary, so always spot treat to make sure you do not have any reaction before going hog wild. While it is difficult to avoid commonly used preservatives such as potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and phenoxyethanol in absolutely everything, we have sought to avoid them as much as possible in our search for the holy grail of skin care. And, of course, all of the products below are free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, petrolatum, and formaldehyde.

  • Make-Up Removal — Removing makeup shouldn't be a big ordeal or introduce unnecessary chemicals to your skin. We like the Natracare Organic Make-Up Removal Wipes for removing gunk at the end of the day.

  • Face Wash — Face wash comes in different forms. If you're looking for a gel type product, we like Acure Facial Cleansing Gel. It cleans up the dirt and oil, removes makeup, and leaves your skin radiant and refreshed. If you prefer a more traditional bar soap, the Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Face and Body Bar is an all-natural soap that lathers thick and rich to clean, moisturize, repair, and protect skin from cell damage.

  • Oat BathAura Cacia Soothe Body Soak is a soothing soaking product that helps muscles relax, makes skin soft, and some even report morning sickness relief while using it. We think it's nice to pamper yourself, and an all-natural product is a good choice for getting in a little skincare and relaxation at the same time. Think of it as multi-tasking at its finest.

  • SoapEarth Mama Morning Wellness Body Wash is a great alternative to using ordinary soap and it is non-toxic and smells great. While we can't guarantee that you'll be happy when using it, we can bet you won't feel worse.

  • Shampoo and Conditioneralba Botanica Hawaiian Shampoo and alba Botanica Conditioner are available in 6 "flavors": Drink It Up Coconut Milk for moisturize, Body Builder Mango for volume, Gloss Boss Honeydew for shine, So Smooth Gardenia for frizz control, Real Repair Cocoa Butter for damaged hair, and Colorific Plumeria for color-treated hair, so there is definitely a solution for everyone. Void of sulfates, salts, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, and formaldehyde, 100% vegetarian ingredients, and without animal testing, it is a crowd pleaser that leaves hair smelling fantastic.

crystal essence lavender & white tea roll-on deodorant
Crystal Essence Lavender & White Tea Roll-On Deodorant
Credit: Crystal Essence
  • Deodorant — A new natural favorite is the Crystal Essence Lavender & White Tea Roll-On Mineral Deodorant which is free of aluminum, parabens, and phthalates, and is hypoallergenic. Though you'll need to wait a minute for it to dry fully before getting dressed, it isn't sticky and doesn't have issues with residue or staining. For another option, try EO Organic Deodorant in either Lavender or Vetiver scents. This deodorant is a natural, spray-on option that can last most of the day and keep you smelling fresh. We suggest the Lavender or Vetiver scents.

  • Non-petroleum ointmentThirsties Booty Love Yes, this is a cloth-safe diaper cream. And, it is a petroleum-free substitute with superb moisturizing qualities, and it shouldn't be undervalued as a useful facial tool for makeup removal and moisturizing properties.

  • Facial Toner — All four types of Alaffia Facial Toner are good to go for pregnant women. This 100% Certified Fair Trade product is a balancing toner that protects against environmental damage. It is formulated to naturally balance the skin's pH to maximize hydration, and it uses natural scents with Ylang Flower Essential Oil and Vanilla Extract.

  • Facial Oil — Facial oil?!? Are we kidding? With potential pregnancy breakouts and raging hormones wreaking havoc on your face, you might think we are a little crazy. However, the Naturopathica Rosehip Seed Regenerating Facial Oil is a blend of seed oils that promote firmer, younger-looking skin. Ingredients that include Rosehip Seed Oil and Geranium Oil help slow the signs of premature aging, and who doesn't love that?

  • Face Cream — For daytime use, we like Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream Light. It has a light rose scent and helps soothe and protect skin without creating a greasy feel. It helps decrease red and irritated skin and restores moisture to stressed out skin caused by hormone changes during pregnancy. After a long day, we like Dr. Hauschka Night Serum for bedtime. Similar to its little brother, it helps keep skin soft, smooth, and looking good.

  • Eye CreamSibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Age Defying Eye Cream is a dream for helping improve the look of tired eyes. This product smooths fine lines and wrinkles and provides firm support with lasting hydration. It is 100% natural, soothes sun-damaged skin, hydrates, softens, and rejuvenates to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This cream is good for all skin types.
andalou's 1000 roses body lotion
Andalou's 1000 Roses Body Lotion
Credit: Andalou Naturals
  • Body MoisturizersAndalou Naturals 1000 Roses Body Lotion is one awesome body lotion that both moisturizes without a greasy residue and smells heavenly. Blending rosehip and argan oils with both fair trade shea and cocoa butter and aloe vera, it nourishes hungry skin even in dry climates.

  • Hand Cream — Constant hand washing and worrying about germs can cause healthy skin to turn dry and cracked. Burt's Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream is good for keeping hands smooth and repairing damage from drying hand soaps and cleaning products. If being pregnant has you diligently washing your hands to avoid illness, this hand cream can help make the repairs. Burt's Bees Ultimate Hand Cream features Baobab Oil to moisturize, Watermelon Seed Oil to nourish, and natural Fruit Acid Complex to gently exfoliate, creating softer skin for the most abused hands.

  • Sunscreen — Finding a healthy sunscreen that works great without making you feel like a complete ghost or a grease slick is a tricky one. We have been auditioning sunscreens zealously over the last five years scouring both adult and kid-centric brands such as Kiss My Face, Alba, Nurture My Body, Kabana, Coola, California Baby, Dolphin Organics, Badger, Honest, thinkbaby, Blue Lizard, BurnOut, BabyGanics and more. Our favorites to date are the following — For mom: Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint is an unscented mineral sunscreen (3.2% Titanium Dioxide and 1.8% Zinc Oxide) that is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, and has a number 1 rating on EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. It is chemical and preservative free with over 70% organic-based inactive ingredients. Great for sensitive and normal to oily skin, it is a workhorse for daily use with moisturizing organic shea butter as well as organic rosehip and linseed oils that leave the skin feeling hydrated without a greasy afterglow.
  • For babies and kids: Thinksport Kids, also a mineral-based sunscreen rated "1" on EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, with 20% non-nano particle Zinc Oxide as the only active ingredient, it provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is water-resistant up to 80 minutes. Though it rubs on white, it doesn't ball up or rub off easily, and it has a relatively pleasant scent.

  • Sinus and Allergy Care — Allergies can sometimes feel even worse when pregnant. With your body already feeling swollen and tissues often full of fluid, having swollen sinuses and itching mucus membranes can feel like the last straw and have you reaching for any solution. However, a lot of medications for allergies are not safe when pregnant, and we feel less is more when you can potentially do without medication, regardless of its safety. We like Simply Saline Allergy and Sinus Relief for the first line of treatment and defense against congestion and clearing out allergens. Another option is a Neti Pot available in porcelain, stainless steel, copper, and plastic. Himalayan Institute Original Neti Pot Starter Kit comes with a porcelain pot as well as Neti Wash Salt and Neti Wash Plus. Both options work in a similar fashion by rinsing the affected membranes with saline of the proper pH to reduce tissue irritation that causes symptoms like congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and itching.

  • HeadacheTylenol Extra Strength (acetaminophen) is one medication that can be used safely during pregnancy, although sparingly and only when absolutely needed. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) must not be used during pregnancy as it can adversely affect fetal cardiac circulation.

Credit: daizuoxin ©


Another big area of contention in green living and improving health is plastics. While resistant to breaking, they aren't as innocuous as they seem, even if they are BPA-free. The amount of water bottles that our continent consumes is simply tragic. Purging plastic is an ongoing battle but one that is worthwhile both for the environment and for personal health. It is everywhere, but there are much healthier alternatives such as glass and stainless steel. Check out the Plastic Purge for more information on this topic.

  • Food Storage — Storing food is another opportunity to make better choices. Whether its glass or stainless steel, there are options out there that are potentially healthier for you. Lunch Bots 16 Ounce Thermal Stainless Food Container is good for soups and meal leftovers, and LunchBots Bento Cinco is a nice option for on-the-go snacking or lunch at work or school.

Electromagnetic Radiation

The real quite lurker is Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) in the home. Though unseen and unheard, radiation emitting from cordless phones, wireless routers and computers, cell phones, and microwaves is very real. Sound like a fuzzy topic? Well, the limited research isn't looking rosy, and we feel it is better to err on the side of caution and take precautions when you can.

  • Literature — For more information on this topic read A Wellness Guide for the Digital Age. This book is a very readable guide that puts the research in one place to help you sort through the studies and decide how you'd like to respond to the information.

  • Shield — If you use a laptop or other tablet type devices while pregnant, it is a good idea to protect the developing fetus from potential harm with the Belly Armor Organic Belly Blanket. It helps protect your baby from EMF, and it keeps you cozy too, not a bad combo!

NEXT: Pregnancy Essentials: The First Trimester