Luxury Bath Products
Safer Solution: Buy products especially formulated for infants and children. Manufacturers make more effort to avoid questionable ingredients in these products.
Nicer and Safer Nails: Even if your friends know you for having the most flamboyant painted nails, wear naked nails with pride when you are pregnant. Treat yourself to a manicure and/or pedicure without using any chemicals. Be sure to select a well-ventilated salon if you have it done professionally.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) for use in chemical tanning. The DHA works by reacting with the dead layer of surface skin in much the same way bread browns when toasted. It has been shown not to absorb into the living skin below the dead layer, and is therefore considered safer than suntanning -- which is known to cause cancer. However, these approvals do not take into account the risks of inhaling the particles of spray that get into the air during "tanning". Studies suggest that DHA can cause primary DNA damage. There is no test data publicly available on development toxicity. Bottom line: spray-on tans may be healthier when applied with proper protections on healthy adults, but it's not worth the (mostly unknown) risk to your developing fetus. Elevated body temperature can also be dangerous to your unborn baby, so tanning beds are not a good option either.
Safer Solution: Let your skin show your pregnancy 'glow' and Spin your skin as "porcelain" not "pale."
Chemical Hair Removal
Safer Solution: Get your shaver out during pregnancy and way not get your partner involved. Create a special bond as he helps you shave those places you can no longer even see!
Many fragrances contain phthalates as carriers. There are a wide range of phthalates, some of which are less harmful than others. But these ingredients are rarely disclosed on labels, hiding behind the general descriptor fragrance. If you are not certain the product is free of phthalates with potential for reproductive toxicity, it is better to avoid it during pregnancy. Phthalates can imitate natural hormones in the body responsible for the proper growth and development of a fetus. Because growth is very sensitive to small concentrations of these hormones, it is considered dangerous to have even low levels of exposure during pregnancy.
Safer Solution: Be fragrance-free.While you are minimizing perfumed beauty products, do away with air fresheners and any other product intended to release scent.
Safer Solution: If you cannot resist some body art to celebrate the new arrival, get a natural henna tattoo (as illustrated above). This is not permanent, but celebrates the changes in your body. Leave this one for your third trimester to be really sure the risks are acceptable. But CAUTION: Be sure you are using natural henna, which is never black. Black henna is a synthetic chemical, para-phenylendiamine (PPD), and it is not safe for anyone.
First, some good news. New studies seem to have overturned earlier studies that suggested a link to bladder cancer or miscarriage in hair salon employees. Nonetheless, studies continue to find links between occupational exposure in hair salons and birth defects. A couple of hours getting your hair done is certainly less than the long-term exposure your beautician faces, but it is one more vector for exposure that can be avoided.
Safer Solution: Skip the dyes and highlights. Buy a natural bristle hairbrush and enjoy a cup of tea while treating your hair to a hundred strokes. If you absolutely must freshen up your color, wait until at least the second trimester.