cleaning productsWhile you're pregnant, you're likely to spend time thinking about how you can protect your unborn child from environmental dangers. One way you can support your child's health even before he or she is born is to choose products made without toxic materials. Pregnancy is the perfect time to finally pull together those green lifestyle changes you've thought about for years! Below are a few easy steps to hep you keep your unborn baby's environment safe and free of toxins:

Personal Care Products and Cosmetics

According to findings in Environmental Health Perspectives, there is reason to be concerned about the inclusion of phthalates in many personal products that you'd pick up at the drugstore. Nail polish, perfumes, lotions, hair spray and shampoo can all contain this ingredient, which has been linked to birth defects and is not required to be displayed on the label.

Fortunately, your local health food store is full of excellent natural alternatives to mainstream brands. Look for products that don't include synthetic fragrances and that advertise themselves as phthalate-free. Nail polish and other manicure products also include solvents and other powerful substances that have never been shown to be safe when used during pregnancy; look for water-based non-toxic nail color instead and avoid the standard manicure products.

Choose Natural Bed Linens
One of the items that expectant mothers enjoy assembling ahead of time is the baby's bed. As you shop for those cute, organic baby bed linens, think about your own bed's environment as well. Many adult mattress pads are filled with stuffing that is advertised as hypoallergenic or anti-microbial. This effect is achieved by adding drugs called "allerban" or "microban" into the filling of the pad, and little research exists to show the effects those have on us when we sleep on them night after night. An excellent way to avoid these substances is to buy natural wool fleece mattress pads. This type of mattress pad provides a chemical-free place to spend your nights and it offers comfort in late pregnancy as well.

Be Careful When You Remodel Your House
If you're planning to do some renovation before the baby is born, think in terms of least-toxic materials. Choose paints and wood finishes with the fewest VOC (volatile organic compounds). You can buy "milk paint" from suppliers of natural home products, which is a classic paint formula based on milk protein. Don't do renovations which involve sanding off old paint if you live in an old house, because it puts lead dust into the air and onto all the nearby surfaces.

Developing green habits during pregnancy is a great way to start your life as a parent. You may end up finding that you are passionate about conserving the world for your child to grow up in, and these habits may be the beginning of your lifelong switch to greener living!