Before I found out I was pregnant, I got myself ready a year early to know what to and not to do during pregnancy. Little did I know that there was more to life than face products and essential oils.
First trimester- major development (most crucial trimester) 13.3 weeks
Second trimester- systems begin functioning 13.3 weeks
Third trimester- heavy brain development and most weight gain 13.3 weeks
.3 weeks being about 2 and 1/3 days.
I did more research and learned so much that I was scared to death of using anything. Now, just know what to avoid and when.
In terms of essential oils, it is easy to google which to use and not use. The safest one I know of is lavender, but you shouldn’t use essential oils directly on skin. Some oils can be used when in a carrier oil is used, but why take the chance. Other oils like cinnamon, (pepper and spear) mint, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley and even oregano should be avoided ante and post partum (if breastfeeding). They can cause contractions and promote periods during all trimesters (think about that) and stop lactation.
Preservatives were a difficult topic to research, but I mostly stayed away from parabens when possible and DMDM Hydantoin.
An ingredient to stay on top of which is in almost everything is retinol or retinyl palmitate. It’s a precursor to Vitamin A. In small amounts it’s not a problem, but in large amounts it’s no good. This stuff is found in face, body and hair products. Same with salicylic acid. Now, if you use a product with these ingredients maybe once a month, what’s the harm? There is really nothing building up. But if you are using products with these ingredients daily, it will store itself in the body. Remember, the body only needs but so much Vitamin A (only half the recommended dose is in vitamins and it can be in a lot of the foods you eat) and it’s also fat soluble so it’s not excreted. When in doubt, just leave it alone. If you must, just avoid in the first trimester when major development is occurring. There is always an alternative.
Henna and ayurvedic products should be avoided too. One, they penetrate the skin. Two. Most of this stuff is cultivated in India, a country with high lead (and possibly other heavy metals) content in their soil. If you buy from a vendor who says its food grade then no problem. But I never took the chance because some vendors can be shady.
Another thing to be careful with is hibiscus. I love me some sorrel, but it has to be avoided. I’ve read studies which find conflicts with using it in any form (liquid or oil) ante and post partum. I’m not sure if Caribbean people feel the same way, but since nothing was conclusive, I just left it alone. Drank coffee, lattes and black tea faithfully after 20 weeks though.
Last, read labels on foods! Very important. Chicory root fiber or extract is not good. Google it. There has never been a conclusive study but people who ate certain fiber bars during their first trimester suffered from miscarriages. In my second trimester, my doctor ok’d them and I ate them for a few days. After the first day, I started getting a pain in my lower right side (think appendix). It kept hurting for two more days. I stopped eating the fiber bars and the pain went away the next day. I never ate them again, instead gave them to a diabetic coworker who needed them more than me. When your pregnant and hungry, you don’t always want to eat, but I had to find alternatives in boiled eggs and apples.
When it comes to herbs and teas, there are some tea brands, specifically Earth Mama Angel Baby and Traditional Medicines, whom make tea for pregnant women. If the tea or herb is not in the tea specialized for PREGNANT women and the trimester your in (some teas should only be used certain trimesters) don’t use it. Very few teas are safe for use during pregnancy.
I can’t think of anything else to avoid, but like I stated before, when in doubt avoid in the first trimester. I know it’s a lot, but there is too much going on out there to doubt whether or not to take it. I was super cautious but pregnancy is temporary, birth defects and other problems may not be. It’s not the end of the world. My diabetic coworker said his wife took a lot of herbs during pregnancy and that’s why he thought his son has the problems he does and he was adamant about me not drinking pregnancy teas but I told him I researched them. Just be careful. There is no such thing as being too careful.
Now you see why my hair care regimen was so strict during pregnancy.
One Day, It Will Happen