A change in lifestyle is best for baby

The nine months before birth and the six months afterwards are vitally important in determining an individual's lifelong health. Although this seems a daunting responsibility for pregnant women it is also empowering – simple changes in lifestyle can maximize a baby's chances of "the best start for life".

This was the motivation for the RCOG report on environmental chemicals – guidance for mums-to-be at a time when we simply don't know which, if any, of the 100's of chemicals in our everyday environment could potentially affect the developing baby. Based on animal studies, concern is not exposure to chemical A or B, but to the daily 100-chemical mixtures cocktail. The chances are this cocktail has no effects, but it will be many years before we know this for certain, one way or the other.

So, if as a mum-to-be you are worried, then simple changes to your lifestyle (fresh unpackaged/unprocessed food, no cosmetics/body creams, no household pesticides, no new furniture) for 15 months will reduce exposure of your baby to many different chemicals.

Professor Richard Sharpe is a co-author of RCOG's report into chemical exposures during pregnancy

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