Perfume and pregnancy - why exposure to scent is critial to consider

Posted by Liz Cook on

Pregnant or breastfeeding? This one is for you.

Fragrance is not just a pretty smell. There is a lot of chemistry going on inside your favourite bottle of perfume, especially when it comes to how it interacts with your hormones.

There are a few key things you need to consider about fragrance when it comes to  pregnancy and your newborn baby.

ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU USE REACHES YOUR BABY
Everything your body is exposed to will reach your growing baby via your bloodstream, and some of these exposures may have a serious impact on your baby's health, especially when it comes to repeated exposure.

 

PERFUME AND HORMONE DISRUPTION
Synthetic fragrance almost always contains phthalates and synthetic musks, synthetic UV filters other toxic ingredients which can have a serious impact on your hormones, and on those of your baby.

Many of these ingredients are considered xenoestrogens (artificial oestrogens) and are toxic to humans, animals and our environment. Studies have shown these compounds can disrupt cell functioning and hormone systems, altering feedback loops in the endocrine system by mimicking the effects of oestrogen and triggering their specific receptors, or by binding to hormone receptors and blocking the action of natural hormones.

Research strongly suggests that exposure to xenoestrogens during key developmental times, including pregnancy, can have detrimental impacts of the health of your developing baby's brain, sexual organs, pancreas and thyroid.

 

YOUR NATURAL SCENT IS CRITICAL FOR BONDING
Once your baby is born, consider staying fragrance-free for the first at least 3 months (even saving the natural fragrance for special occasions during this time).

One of the key ways your new baby will bond with you is through his or her sense of smell. During pregnancy, the neonate is bathed in amniotic fluid that convey's the mother's chemical ecology, so once born, the infant is already programmed to recognise its mother's odour. This odor recognition helps not only with bonding but also with nursing (the odour of amniotic fluid and breast milk is similar), as well as with regulating emotions and scaffolding learning and perception. Pretty amazing, huh? Why would we want to do anything to interfere with this incredible natural process!


FRAGRANCE TOXINS CAN BE STORED IN BREAST MILK
Avoiding synthetic scent during the breastfeeding phase is important as fat-soluble toxins you are exposed to (even before you start breastfeeding) will be stored in fatty deposits around your body, including breastmilk, and passed on to your baby. Ideally, avoid all forms of synthetic scent, including perfumes, rooms sprays, candles and soaps. Opt instead for natural perfumes, and essential oils in your home if you need to, but keep any scent, even natural ones, to a minimum during this time to maximise your baby's olfactory development and bonding.

 

WHAT ABOUT NATURAL PERFUME AND PREGNANCY?

If you sill want to wear perfumes, 100% natural perfumes are the best option, but there are some ingredients you should try to avoid during pregnancy. For example, sage, clary sage, basil and jasmine. These extracts can help regulate your menstrual cycle, so are best avoided during pregnancy. If you are unsure, or you have a high-risk pregnancy, please speak to your naturopath or a qualified aromatherapist, or just avoid fragrance altogether while pregnant.

Looking for perfumes you can safely wear during pregnancy? Here are the ones in our collection which don;t contain hormone-regulating natural extracts:

Freedom, Hope, Seeker, Field & Rain.

 

LOOKING FOR REFERENCES FOR THIS ARTICLE? FIND THEM HERE.

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