I try to be environmentally friendly -- we recycle, use reusable grocery bags, carry stainless steel water bottles, don't drive a ton, and so on. I'm hardly a huge greenie, though, and possess a healthy dose of skepticism about things that will definitely GIVE YOU CANCER and WRECK THE EARTH and POISION YOUR BABIES. And when I was pregnant, I was hardly concerned at all, although I should have been.
Jennifer Grayson, The Huffington Post's writer of the guide to eco-etiquette, is pregnant and due any day now, so she took that opportunity to answer an interesting question from a reader: How to be more environmentally conscious during pregnancy? The twist is that this reader normally could not care less about the environment: drives an SUV, loves shopping, etc. Her answer surprised me; it's actually tons more simple to have a green pregnancy than I thought.
Her first tip: Learn to cook. Packaged, processed foods aren't good for your baby or you and are awful for the environment. Given that I could barely stand to look at food during both my first trimesters, this is a good idea but might be a little hard to put into practice.
This one's a bit wacky: Don't buy maternity clothes. She urges looking for things that will carry you through pregnancy and beyond. Fine, if you can wear sweats and leggings for nine months; if you have to dress up sometimes, though, maternity clothes do become a must. I will note that asking around to see if any similarly sized friends have clothes they want to loan out at least satisfies the "reuse" mantra and is easy on your budget, too.
The rest are:
- Walk more versus drive (great until your hipbones move wayyyy apart near the end);
- upgrade your mattress to a natural version;
- choose a phthalate-free birthing ball;
- use the library for pregnancy books versus buying every single one (I can attest to this; if there's one you really like, you can buy it, otherwise you'll be glad not to have a huge collection of books you'll read once cluttering your house ... trust me, you'll have no time to read in your second pregnancy);
- don't use disposable plastic bottles to stay hydrated, get an inexpensive pitcher filter and use a stainless steel bottle;
- check to see what's in your cosmetics and choose nontoxic versions;
- avoid fabric softeners (she recommends some pricey natural kind; I say plan old baking soda works just as well);
- ask for services instead of stuff as baby shower presents (cleaning services, diaper services, etc.).
Are you more green when pregnant?
Image via Doede Boomsma/Flickr