My own journey toward more green and natural living began when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, and I think this is true for many women. When you’re expecting a baby, you become more aware of the kind of lifestyle you are living. You think about how the choices you are making will effect your new baby, as well as how the environment around you will affect your baby both in utero and after she is born.
You may be considering, for the first time, how to make green and natural changes to your lifestyle in order to provide the healthiest environment for your baby. But you may also wonder where to start and feel overwhelmed with the many different choices. I know I did when I was pregnant for the first time.
Fortunately, pregnancy is a great time to start making healthier lifestyle choices. To help you get started, try these easy changes that will help you have a more natural pregnancy.
4 Easy Steps to A Natural Pregnancy
1. Homemade and Green Cleaning
This is the change I always recommend making first to move toward a greener lifestyle, because it was the first change I personally made. It’s simple and easy, requires very little investment of either time or money, and homemade green cleaners work just well, if not better, than conventional cleaners.
Using non-toxic cleaners is very important because the air inside our homes can be filled with more toxins and chemicals then we realize, often as a result of the cleaning products we use. We definitely want to avoid using toxic, chemical cleaners, especially during pregnancy!
Here are some great resources for getting started with green and natural cleaning:
- 31 Days to Green Cleaning Series
- Non-Toxic Bathroom Cleaning Tips & Homemade Soft Scrub
- 5 Simple Castile Soap Cleaning Recipes
- 10 Ways to Clean with Salt
- Green Cleaning with Kids
2. Safe and Non-toxic Personal Care Products
When you’re pregnant, it is especially important to consider the products you use on your skin, your hair, your face, your whole body. The things that we put onto our skin get absorbed into our skin, and into our bodies. And from there, we don’t really have a way to know what passes across the placenta to our unborn babies and how it might affect their development.
Switching to safer personal care products is something that can seem overwhelming at first, but there are some simple ways to go about it.
First, consider cutting back on the amount of products that you use, simplify your routine to only those products that are absolutely necessary.
Secondly, once you’ve simplified your routine, find safer replacements for the products that you use on a daily, or very regular, basis. Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, face wash, deodorant, and lotion are probably on the top of everyone’s list. More and more grocery and mainstream retailers carry a selection of safe and organic products for you to choose from.
Finally, consider making some of your personal care products at home. There are recipes all over the internet for making safe, natural and non-toxic personal care products, check out my Homemade Beauty Pinterest board for recipes and inspiration. Making homemade products is really not as time-consuming or intimidating as you might think. Even making just one or two products at home can save you enough money to help you be able to afford the slightly higher cost of purchasing safer brand products.
Check out these resources for getting started on changing your personal care products and making homemade products:
- My Green & Frugal Beauty Care Routine
- 10 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Personal Care Products
- Homemade Deodorant Recipe
- Homemade Natural Face Cleaner – The Oil-Cleansing Method
3. Eating Healthy for Two
As important as it is, honestly, healthy eating can be hard when you’re pregnant, especially during the first trimester – at least it is for me. But making the healthiest food choices you can is extremely important for both you and your baby.
If you haven’t already, make sure to cut out boxed and processed foods, junk foods, and soda. Cutting back on caffeine is important too. Cut out all those foods that are just empty calories because they aren’t nourishing to you or to your baby. You want to make all of the foods you eat count, packing the biggest nutritional punch for you and your baby that you can.
Switching to organic foods is also important, but you’ll probably have to set some priorities as far as what you choose to buy organic. Some of the foods that I think are the most important to prioritize are organic dairy, clean meat (free of hormones and antibiotics, and ideally pastured-raised), and using the EWG’s Dirty Dozen List to prioritize the produce that you buy organic.
Also remember to drink lots and lots of water when you’re pregnant. Water with lemon is an especially healthy choice.
More resources on healthy eating for two:
- 10 Real Foods Women Should Eat More of for Good Health at Kitchen Stewardship
- What to Eat When Pregnant: Your Perfect Pregnancy Diet at Mama Natural
- Maintaining Proper Iron Levels During Pregnancy at The Humbled Homemaker
Exercising during pregnancy may be the last thing on your mind when you’re tired and aching all over, but light to moderate exercise can actually help to ease some of the discomforts of pregnancy. I admit that I am not the best at this either, but when I do exercise I notice almost immediately how much better it makes me feel. Exercise helps to tone and strengthen your muscles to better support the added weight and strain on your body as your baby grows.
With your doctor’s or midwife’s permission, of course, try to include exercise in your daily routine at least three times a week. And when you’re pregnant this doesn’t have to mean serious exercise, or setting aside an hour of time. Some of my favorite forms of exercise when I’m pregnant are yoga and stretching, taking a walk with my kids, pregnancy exercise videos, barre workouts, and I even count heavy cleaning around the house, like vacuuming, as exercise because I’m usually breathing heavily while I do it!
More resources for exercising during pregnancy:
- Why I’m so glad I exercised during this pregnancy at Keeper of the Home
- 7 Easy Exercises for an Optimal Pregnancy & Labor from Mama Natural
These simple and easy changes will help you get started with a more natural pregnancy.
Did you find yourself more open to making healthy and natural changes when you were pregnant? What simple and easy changes would you recommend to someone who is pregnant and new to green living?