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Friday, October 02, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40, Environmental Threats

Here's a good reason to leave housework to your husband while you're pregnant (or to take a break from a job with high EMF exposure).
 Some appliances may negatively affect your pregnancy and child if they have high levels of electromagnetic fields. Read more:

The findings, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, show that youngsters whose mothers had been exposed to high levels of magnetic energy in pregnancy could be at three times higher risk of asthma.

See Also: Dextoxify Your Environment To Get Pregnant

It is the first time scientists have shown that using hairdryers, microwaves or even living near power cables during pregnancy could affect the incidence of asthma.
Dangerous: Pylons are a source of potentially harmful magnetic energy

Researchers have already shown that this type of magnetic energy can increase the risk of miscarriage and some types of cancer.


Monday, September 28, 2015


Over the years, I have read numerous articles about how the season of conception and the subsequent season of birth can affect pregnancy and birth outcomes. This article gives some possible explanations:

From the article:

Other researchers have suggested other reasons for season-of-birth differences. Maybe vitamin D was playing a role, for example, because children born in the winter were getting less sunshine in early life. Or maybe being put in the same school year with children who are mostly younger makes children born in the winter less socially mature. A study published in the medical journal Acta Pædriatica in April found that children born in the winter have higher birth-defect rates and suggested it was due to a higher concentration of pesticides in surface water in the spring and summer, when the children were conceived.

There may be validity to all of that research. But if there was any truth to the pattern that Ms. Buckles and Mr. Hungerman discovered, it would question the weightiness of other factors from past research. If winter babies were more likely to come from less-privileged families, it would be natural to expect them to do more poorly in life.

The two economists examined birth-certificate data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 52 million children born between 1989 and 2001, which represents virtually all of the births in the U.S. during those years. The same pattern kept turning up: The percentage of children born to unwed mothers, teenage mothers and mothers who hadn't completed high school kept peaking in January every year. Over the 13-year period, for example, 13.2% of January births were to teen mothers, compared with 12% in May -- a small but statistically significant difference, they say.

from: (

Friday, September 25, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40 and Low Lying Placenta

Having a low lying placenta doesn't necessarily mean you're going to miscarry, but it can lead to some complications.
 This article explains what to expect:

From the article:

The main problem that a low-lying placenta can cause is bright red bleeding from the vagina during the later stages of pregnancy. The bleeding may stop and start at first, and is painless. It happens because the lower part of your womb is starting to change shape and thin out in readiness for your baby to be born, but because the placenta can’t stretch in the same way, it peels away at the edges, which causes bleeding.


At first, the bleeding is usually slight, but there’s a risk that it might become heavy at any time without warning. Heavy bleeding may be accompanied by signs of shock – paleness, sweating and an increased pulse.

If you haven’t had a scan that has shown the position of your placenta and you experience this kind of bleeding, it may be an indication that the placenta is low-lying. Another sign that you might have a low-lying placenta is that your baby is lying in an awkward position in your womb – for example from side to side, or at an angle.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Yin and Yang Food - How Does it Affect You?

By Guest  Post By Stephanie M Ng

Did you know that Yin and Yang, the principle at the heart of Chinese philosophy, applies to Chinese food and cooking as well? In Chinese medicine, all food can be divided into four Qis: Hot, warm, cool and cold; or yang, mild yang, mild yin and yin respectively.
In general, yang food improves blood circulation and warms us up, but too much yang food (or eaten during the wrong season e.g. summer) will induce constant thirst, hot flashes, night sweats and constipation. In contrast, yin food quenches thirst, cleanses our systems and cools us down, but if eaten inappropriately it will lower our metabolism and weaken our bodies. In particular, according to traditional Chinese, pregnant women are traditionally advised not to eat yin food (e.g. crab, watermelon) as it may increase the chance of miscarriage.
So what are some examples of yin and yang food?


Grains and Beans

  • Mild Yang (warm food): glutinous rice, black rice, barley, sago, sorghum

  • Mild Yin (cool food): wheat, barley, green beans, buckwheat, millet

  • Right in the middle: Rice, corn (maize), sweet potato, sesame, soy beans, rice beans, oat, long beans, sweet peas, kidney beans, mung beans, lentil, broadbean
Meat and Dairy Product

  • Mild Yang (warm):beef, lamb (mutton), chicken, shrimp, lobster, mussels, goat milk

  • Mild Yin (cool): duck, abalone

  • Yin: duck egg, crab, clam, octopus, squid, escargots, raw food

  • Just Right: chicken egg and egg white, pork, scallop, fish, cow milk, yogurt
Fruits and Nuts

  • Mild Yang (warm): peach, almond, dates, lychee, long yan, lemon, papaya, pine nut, walnut, chestnut, cherry, mango

  • Mild Yin (cool):apple, pear, orange, strawberry, pipa

  • Yin (cold): Persimmon, pomelo, banana, starfruit, kiwi, water melon, sweet melon

  • Just Right: plum, pineapple, grapes, olive, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut milk, peanut, hazelnut

  • Mild Yang (warm): spring onion, garlic, leeks, coriander / parsley, onion, pumpkin

  • Yang (hot): pepper

  • Mild Yin (cool): tomato, celery, egg plant, choy shum, spinach, asparagus, artichoke, cauliflower, tofu (including soy milk), gluten, lotus root, winter melon, cucumber, mushroom, needle mushroom

  • Yin (cold): bok choy, arrowhead, water spinach, watercress, bamboo shoots, seaweed, straw mushroom, bitter melon, water chestnut

  • Just Right: carrot, potato, taro, mushroom, turnip (very mild yin), black fungus (very mild yin)
Other Food and Ingredients

  • Mild Yang (warm): spices such as young ginger, clove, dill, rosemary, sage, turmeric, thyme, horseradish, cayenne, nutmeg, wild pepper, cumin, star anise; stimulants such as alcohol, coffee, black tea and other caffeinated drinks; red sugar, ginseng

  • Yang (hot): Cinnamon

  • Mild Yin (cool): green tea, honey, beer, chrysanthemum tea, mint

  • Yin (cold): Soy sauce, soy bean paste, salt
How Does This Apply To Us?
According to the Chinese, each of us are born yin, yang or somewhere in between. For example, if you always crave for spicy food you may have a "yin" body; and if you love watermelon anytime in the year you are likely a Yang.
Your health condition can also indicate the yin-yang balance of your body. Constant cold hands and feet? A Yin; Get soar throat easily and have a quick temper? A Yang. Seasonal and geographic variations will also affect our preference on yin and yang foods.
The Advice

  • When cooking yin food (applies to most veggies), add yang ingredients such as garlic, spring onion, ginger and coriander.

  • Eat seasonal food: let the nature guide us how to eat.

  • Balanced diet: if we eat a wide variety of food, the yin and yang will balance out.

Are you a Yin or a Yang? You are welcome to share your food experience in the comment section []. See you there!
Stephanie chats about her quick, authentic and home-style Chinese cooking in her food blog. A Hong Kong native, her craving for Chinese food began when she studied and worked in the United States. Upon returning to Hong Kong, she rediscovered the wok and the spatula and has been enjoying cooking ever since. You can get her Chinese recipes, glossary, cooking tips and fun facts on Chinese food at The Chinese Kitchen [].
Article Source:

Monday, September 21, 2015


Pregnancy Over 40, Bonding Before Birth

If you've just found out you're pregnant, it's not too soon to think about bonding with your baby.
 I recall patting my belly in a series of three pats, then three circles and talking in a very high voice with my baby.

 Here is an article that gives some tips on how to facilitate the bonding process.

From the article:

By providing a peaceful environment in which you and your baby can bond before it's born, Luminare-Rosen says, your baby gets the message that it's wanted and loved. She suggests communicating those feelings of love by taking some time every day and sitting quietly, with your eyes closed, and telling your baby how welcome it is in your life.

"Even if you're only bonding to a concept at that point, and not the baby itself, you're establishing a connection that will continue after the baby is born," says Luminare-Rosen. "You're expressing your love."


When Luminare-Rosen was pregnant with her daughter, she kept a journal that not only documented her pregnancy, but also included letters to her daughter telling her about her hopes and her fears. "I read the journal to her now so that she knows how loved she has been, from the very beginning," says Luminare-Rosen.

In the prenatal bonding classes that Luminare-Rosen holds, she will play relaxing music, then have the parents (mostly moms-to-be) imagine that they are meeting their child for the first time. "Visualize your child," she suggest. "What is the image you have of the child?"

Luminare-Rosen says that you may see a picture of your child in your mind, you may hear a conversation between you and the baby. "Draw a picture of what you have seen, or write it in your journal," she says. "This will make the visualization that much more conscious."

Marilee Hartling has several tips of her own:

Talk to the baby. Say goodnight before you go to bed, good morning when you wake up, and talk to it throughout the day. "Newborns know their mom's voice after birth," she says. "That's the voice they will turn to."

Feel the baby. Place your hands on your abdomen and rest your hands quietly, feeling the baby kick, or gently massaging the baby. You can even play games with the baby, says Hartling. Press lightly on your abdomen and you'll feel the baby kick back, she says.


Friday, September 18, 2015


Are You Too Sick To Get Pregnant? Gut Health And Its Relationship To Infertility

Guest Post By Dr. Leona Allen

Whether you are having trouble getting pregnant, or have had one or more miscarriages, you are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Currently, to treat infertility, medications are used to boost ovulation or adjust hormone levels. There is intrauterine insemination, commonly known as artificial insemination, where the woman is injected with specially prepared sperm. There is also assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART works by removing eggs from a woman's body and then mixing them with sperm to make embryos. The embryos are then put back in the woman's body.
Now, I would like to talk about an alternative approach. Let us not focus on just trying to get pregnant, but getting the body healthy enough to become pregnant. It is one thing to get pregnant. It is another to achieve a healthy pregnancy and a give birth to a healthy baby. Standard treatments are not addressing the overall health of the mother. This information is also applicable for women who are either planning to carry a child in the future or want to achieve good overall health and weight loss goals.


Before becoming pregnant, you must first address and restore the integrity and function of your health and immune system. This seems to be missing in standard care. When a woman gets pregnant and is also suffering with leaky gut, sugar balancing issues, multiple food allergies or intolerances, or toxicity, she is putting her baby at risk of developing autism, eczema, asthma and food allergies. Pregnancy is stressful enough on the body and if you do not begin the process in optimal condition, it will take a toll on your health and your baby's health. In my practice, my primary goal is to address the overall health of the woman and determine if she is healthy enough to become pregnant. If a mother is having health challenges, chances are, she will pass them on to her child.
There are several conditions that can decrease the woman's ability to become pregnant, including digestive problems, immune disorders, adrenal fatigue, blood sugar problems, food allergies, chronic inflammation, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies and toxicity.
The first place I like to begin, before I address anything else, is in the digestive system. In simple terms, the digestive system works as follows: we eat (good diet or bad diet), digest (complete or incomplete), then we eliminate (good evacuation or bad evacuation) or assimilate (good absorption or poor absorption). The gut is commonly referred to as the "Second Brain" because the enteric nervous system is a collection of neurons in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) that constitutes the "brain of the gut" and can function independently of the nervous system. This system controls the motility, exocrine and endocrine secretions and microcirculation of the GI tract. It is also involved in regulating immune and inflammatory processes. Hippocrates has also said that all disease begins in the gut. About 70 to 80 percent of the body's immune system is found in the digestive tract.
Poor digestive health that involves acid reflux, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or constipation is an extremely common and overlooked condition in this country that affects about 70 million Americans. This accounts for billions of dollars in annual sales of over-the-counter digestive aids that only provide temporary relief. Unresolved or ignored digestive problems lead to worse problems down the road. With any health condition, including pregnancy, it is important to restore gut health.
When trying to achieve pregnancy, focus cannot be solely on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes or other parts of the reproductive system. Because "every system affects every other system," the body must be considered as a whole. Infertility is oftentimes a side-effect of something else. For example poor gut health leads to blood sugar problems, and that leads to constipation. With constipation, the body cannot eliminate unneeded hormones, and estrogen accumulates. Food not digested properly due to lack of hydrochloric acid (HCL) results in putrefied, fermented food that becomes rancid in the stomach. Low HCL results in the gallbladder's reduced ability to secrete bile for the emulsification of fats. Low gallbladder function causes a sluggish liver, and it cannot efficiently detoxify the body of hormones, toxins and other metabolites. When the gallbladder malfunctions, there is no signal to the pancreas to secrete digestive enzymes. Therefore poorly digested food moves to the intestines. Rotting food in the intestines causes inflammation, infection and intestinal permeability, also known as "leaky gut." This prolonged stress exhausts the adrenals, and weak adrenals adversely affect the thyroid. This progression continues until the underlying problem is corrected.
A healthy GI tract does not allow the absorption of bacteria, harmful foods or undigested food particles into the bloodstream. Chronic inflammation brought on by poor diet, poor blood sugar control and chronic stress leads to harmful substances and undigested food being dumped into the bloodstream. Again, this is leaky gut. These harmful particles are misidentified as foreign invaders or antigens that are attacked by the immune system. A stressed immune system leads to other health problems that in turn can result in infertility.
The proper care of the gut requires the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. To repair the gut, the first step is the elimination of foods that create chronic immune responses. These are most commonly gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy and yeast.
A healthcare professional would help determine which foods to remove from the diet. Other nutritional strategies include: the removal of inappropriate organisms such as bacteria, parasites, fungus and yeast, replacement of digestive enzymes, HCL, bile and fiber, to thoroughly digest proteins, fats and essential nutrients, re-populate with ample probiotics to replace an overabundance of bad bacteria with good bacteria, and supporting regeneration and healing of the gastrointestinal mucosa.
The repair of a broken down gut is not easy and it takes time. But it is well worth the effort. It is important to restore gut function whether or not one plans a pregnancy.
For those women who plan to get pregnant or are trying to get pregnant, just remember that the improvement of your overall health will benefit the health of your child. Other body organs may still need evaluation, such as the liver, kidneys, thyroid and adrenals, but many of these issues cannot be resolved until the gut is first examined.
If you would like more information about how to become healthy enough to become pregnant or any other information about raising a healthy family, please visit []. I hope you found this information useful and I would love to hear your comments!
Article Source:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Some Nail Polish Harmful in pregnancy

I took a break from nail polish when I was trying to conceive and pregnant.
 Of course I didn't have time for all that after my daughter was born either! But if you must use nail polish, follow the advice of this article and use the least toxic type you can find. 

From the article:

The Complete Organic Pregnancy suggests (What you need to know – from the nail polish you wear to the bed you sleep in to the water you drink), nail polish isn’t the sort of thing you want to be slathering on your digits when you’re pregnant. It likely contains phthalates to make it flexible and chip resistant. 


Certain phthalates are banned in Europe, and some big American companies are starting to pull them out of their nail polishes as well, because research has shown they can cause cancer and/or reproductive abnormalities in lab animals. A small study suggested baby boys exposed to high levels of the chemical in utero were more likely to exhibit penile anomalies. The FDA still deems the chemical safe, and critics say these studies are too small. Other chemicals of concern in nail polish are formaldehyde, which can be absorbed through nails and skin, and is thought to be a carcinogen by the EPA and the National Toxicology Program, as well as toluene, which is a skin and respiratory tract irritant. In extreme amounts, it can cause liver damage.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


 When I was pregnant with my daughter, I removed all coffee and soda from my diet (including regular and diet).  I knew there was no nutritional value in drinking these carbonated beverages and I wanted to make everything I put in my body count.  According to this article, diet soda has been linked to premature birth.  Read more:

In the study, which appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers found that 4.6 percent of study participants delivered babies early and one-third of those premature births were medically induced.



Researchers categorized the women in accordance of how much soda they drank, labeling them as those who never drank soda, drank less than one serving per week, one to six per week, one a day, two to three a day, or four or more a day.
Though no link was found between premature birth and the consumption of soda naturally sweetened with sugar, the results did find that compared to those who never drank the beverages, women who guzzled four or more artificially sweetened diets drinks daily were 78 percent more likely to deliver early.
One or more drinks a day was associated with a 38 percent increased risk of premature delivery.
The study was unable to explain why diet drinks specifically were shown to have this effect on premature birth, but previous studies have suggested the link could be involved with high blood pressure and the fact that some diet sodas are high in sodium.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Pregnancy and Chocolate

Chocolate seems to be the new health food (at least dark chocolate).
 Now here's good news for pregnant women who love chocolate - it may be good for your baby. This article does not address the amount of caffeine these women were exposed to, so keep that in mind. Read more:

Katri Räikkönen at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and her colleagues asked pregnant women to rate their stress levels and chocolate consumption. After the babies were born, they looked for an association between the amount of chocolate their mothers had eaten and the babies' behaviour. Six months after birth, the researchers asked mothers to rate their infants' behaviour in various categories, including fear, soothability, smiling and laughter.

See Also: Foods To Help You Conceive(

The babies born to women who had been eating chocolate daily during pregnancy were more active and "positively reactive" - a measure that encompasses traits such as smiling and laughter. And the babies of stressed women who had regularly consumed chocolate showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who abstained (Early Human Development, vol 76, p 139).

Tuesday, September 08, 2015


Fetal Antibodies and Autism

It seems like every time I turn around, I'm reading something new about autism and research.
 Here is an article that talks about how the mother's antibodies may lead to brain inflammation in the baby. Read more:


A report on the research from investigators at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center published online in the Journal of Neuroimmunology expands on a 2008 report from the same team showing that mothers of autistic children tested positive for fetal brain antibodies. Antibodies are proteins the body naturally makes to attack foreign tissues, viruses or bacteria.

Because a growing fetus is not "rejected" by the mother's immune system even though some of its DNA is "foreign" (from the father), scientists have long suspected that some combination of maternal and fetal biological protection is at work. The new research from Hopkins, however, suggests that the protective system is not perfect and that antibodies are not only made but are re-circulated back to the fetus through the placenta, possibly triggering inflammation in the brain and leading to a cascade of neurological changes resulting in neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism.

Thursday, September 03, 2015


When I was pregnant with my daughter, I drank between 64 and 80oz. of water per day. Here is an article that discusses the importance of water in pregnancy:

From the article:

"Water plays many vital roles in a healthy pregnancy.


Think of water as your body's transportation system — it carries nutrients through your blood to the baby. Water also helps prevent bladder infections, which are common during pregnancy. If you drink enough water, your urine will stay diluted, reducing your risk of infection.

Water can also stop constipation and help prevent hemorrhoids. Although it may seem counterintuitive, the more water you drink during pregnancy, the less water your body will retain. Also, drinking enough water prevents dehydration. This is especially important in the third trimester when dehydration can actually cause contractions that can trigger preterm labor.

 from: (

Monday, August 31, 2015


Color Me Safely: Hair Dyes In Pregnancy

Guest Post By Dr. Michele Brown OBGYN

When it comes to your own personal grooming, is there anything more satisfying than being crowned with a head of thick, shining hair? Do you divide your life into good hair days and bad ones? Does a bad hair day leave you depressed and lethargic while a good one propels you through glass ceilings. Guess what? You are not alone!
According to Hoovers there are about 65,000 hair care salons in the United States with combined annual sales of about $19 billion! A small portion of these sales are for hair cuts, but most of this money is spent on... hair color.
If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or if you have a job in one of these salons, please read the following carefully. Over 20 million Americans, mostly women, are exposed to hair dyes each year. It has been estimated that at least 35 to 40% of all women in the United States and Europe use hair dyes. Solutions are applied either by a salon hairdresser or by individuals purchasing over the counter products.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), concerns exist pertaining to the safety of these products. Why? Because some of the ingredients in hair dye are considered to be carcinogenic and teratogenic (causing malformation in fetuses). Reports of hairdressers having increased risk of spontaneous abortion, congenital malformations, childhood cancer and developmental problems exist. Older literature from the 1980's report that men and women exposed to hair dyes in their occupations may experience increased risk of developing leukemia and cancers of the bladder, ovary, GI tract, and respiratory systems. Nasca, reported in the Journal of the NCI, that there is a higher risk of breast cancer in women that use hair dyes.
Pregnant women throughout the world who commonly use beauty products worry about the risk of exposure to themselves, and to their fetus, because of the potentially carcinogenic chemicals contained in these products. Many women are hesitant to use dyes during pregnancy due to fears regarding chemical use and absorption with risks to the fetus.
More concerning is the fact that many women are giving birth at later ages and therefore the use of hair dyes will become increasingly more popular. The combination of hormonal hair growth increase during pregnancy, and the increased need for coloring as a woman ages, obviously predicts an increased use of these products.


With all this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to write an article that reviews the literature to date regarding the safety concerns of hair dyes so that you can make the right decision, for yourself, about whether or not to use these products. Overall conclusions, however, should be based upon the method of dye application (personal vs hairdresser), the colors used, the frequency of coloring, and the differences between varying product components available on the market.
How are hair dyes classified?
There are three classifications:

  • Permanent,
  • Semi-permanent
  • Temporary

Chemical composition of the hair dye determines in which classification it is placed
Permanent dyes are the most prevalent and comprise about 75% of all hair dyes. They act by oxidation with hydrogen peroxide of dye precursors that permeate the hair fiber producing the color associated with the dye. Permanent hair dyes are commonly applied with a brush and by a hairdresser. Permanent hair dyes allow more dramatic changes in hair color. They do not wash out and they last until the hair grows or is cut.
Semi-permanent dyes comprise approximately 20% of all dyes and directly penetrate the hair cortex without the use of oxidizing agents. Generally the color lasts between 6 and 12 washings. These dyes, often applied by hand, are mostly used to cover gray or highlight the natural color, and are often purchased over the counter.
Temporary dyes, comprising about 5% of all hair dyes and are used for a single wash. This hair coloring is deposited on the cuticle layer of the hair and remains until shampooed out. It generally will not lighten hair but used to intensify natural color, tint hair another color, or add highlights to natural or tinted hair. It is also used to cover a limited amount of gray hair or eliminate yellowish shades from white or gray hair.
Which hair dye chemicals raise concerns in pregnancy?
Several reported studies have shown an increased risk of childhood brain tumors (CBT) associated with exposure to N-nitroso compounds, commonly found in hair dyes.
There are 2 broad classes of the N-nitroso compounds

  1. nitrosamides
  2. nitrosamines

Nitrosamides are unstable and do not require enzymatic activation and are inclined to tumor formation at the exposure site. In rats, they cross the placenta and are neurocarcinogens.
Nitrosamines, commonly found in tobacco smoke and beer, are considered carcinogenic agents.
Chemicals found in hair dyes are aromatic amines which get converted into nitrosamines. Nitrosamines, require this bioactivation and can initiate tumor formation in places at locations other than the initial exposure site. Hair dyes are considered NOC-related aromatic amines and contain ammonia based solutions, hydrogen peroxide, coal-tar dyes, and lead acetate. Many studies classify these agents as carcinogenic in animals when dosed orally because they alter DNA, but there exists "inadequate evidence" to determine carcinogenicity in humans when applied topically.
Other toxic chemicals found in hair dyes include phthalates, cobalt salts, formaldehyde releasing preservatives, lead acetate, nickel salts, 1,4-dioxane, diethanolamine/triethanolamine, and parabens.
How does exposure to the fetus occur when a pregnant woman uses hair dyes?

Exposure to the fetus occurs during routine use since many of the chemicals used are skin permeable. The particular characteristics of the dye products and their ability to penetrate skin influence their toxicity. Exposure can also occur via ocular, oral, or inhalation routes which can then cross the placenta and affect the fetus. Many of these chemicals can also be stored in body fat and also enter the mothers milk.
What type of toxicities have been described in pregnancy?

There have been many inconsistent results between use of hair dyes and various childhood cancers.
Some studies have shown an association between maternal hair dye and elevated risk of childhood cancer. The immature nervous system of the fetus has been found to be especially vulnerable to carcinogens and mutagens. If exposure occurs during the development of the nervous system during the first trimester, this may make the nervous system more susceptible to cancer and brain tumors.
Neuroblastoma, comprising about 6 to 10% of all childhood tumors in the developed world, is one of the most common cancers in children during the first year of life. A 3 fold increased risk was found in children of women exposed to hair dyes during pregnancy according to an article written by Kramer in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1987. This increased risk is also confirmed by McCalls article in 2005 in Cancer Causes and Control. Wilms tumor, a cancer of the kidneys in children, had a 4 fold increased risk according to a study by Bunin in Cancer Research in 1987. Many of the chemicals used in 1987 in hair dyes have since been discontinued (2-4-diaminoanisole, 4-amino-2 nitrophenol, and HC Blue No.1) but other chemicals in the N-nitroso aromatic amines commonly used in hair dyes are still present which are carcinogenic in animals.
Other studies from the West Coast have found no association with hair dye use before or during pregnancy. (Holly in Pediatric Perinatal Epidemiology, 2002) One large study by Effird in Journal of Neuro-Oncology in 2005 also confirmed no statistically significant association between temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent hair dyes during pregnancy and childhood brain tumors, except for a 3 fold higher incidence of for brain tumor among Israeli children using semi-permanent hair color.
Do different types of hair dyes present different levels of risk?
Temporary dyes (includes semi-permanent) appear to have more toxicity than permanent dyes in pregnancy. Studies of scalp penetration of semi-permanent dyes compared to permanent dyes in both humans and monkeys found that semi-permanent dyes penetrated the scalp more than permanent dyes in both species. Unlike permanent dyes that contain oxidizing agents that allow the dye to irreversible bind to the hair shaft and therefore has lower skin absorption, semi permanent dyes achieve their coloring action via the use of various solvents (alcohols and ethylene glycol ethers) which penetrate the scalp more efficiently compared to permanent dyes. Also, greater skin contact occurs with semi-permanent dyes since they are applied as foam, rinse or surfactant solutions which tend to facilitate uptake by the skin. Semi-permanent hair coloring products also contain nitro derivatives of phenylenediamines or aminophenols, azo dyes and aminoanthraquinone dyes and N-nitroso compounds that have been shown to be transplacental neurocarcinogens in rodents.
Also, semi-permanent dyes are more likely applied by the person herself whereas permanent dyes were more likely applied by a hairdresser. With self-application there is more exposure to skin surface, such as hands, than if an outside person did the applications.
Smokers were also found to have greater toxicity than nonsmokers with dye use. Added exposure to nitrosamines and other carcinogens in cigarette smoke added to those carcinogens present in the hair dyes.
Do hairdressers have added risk?
The occupation of being a hairdresser may entail some risks that are possibly carcinogenic.(International Agency of for Research on cancer-IARC-1993) Certainly skin disorders like contact dermatitis and occupational asthma are major health problems for hair dressers. Other studies have not supported increased risk of reproductive disorders among hairdressers, such as infertility, reproductive loss, congenital malformations, childhood cancers, and developmental disorders in offspring. (Kersemaekers, 1995)
Limited human data, inconsistent results, and differences among products with varying chemical formulations used make it impossible to draw conclusions on safety. Differences in duration of exposure and amount of exposure can also determine differences in toxicity. Overall, many studies support no consistent association of congenital anomalies with hair dyes after many of the regulated carcinogens were removed. However, risk cannot be completely excluded so precautions should be taken.
There does appear to be some difference between the use of permanent and temporary hair dyes in pregnancy. Risk seems to be higher for mothers using semi-permanent dyes at any time during pregnancy, or the months prior to pregnancy, compared to the other types of hair dyes used.
Hair dye formulations have changed over time with removal of some substances and inclusion of new and better ones for color range. There has been a reduction in certain nitrophenols. The FDA has discontinued use of 2,4-diaminotoluene, and 2,4-diaminoanisole in permanent dyes and HC Blue No 1 and 4-amino-2-nitrophenol used in semi-permanent dyes because of possible carcinogenic effects.
It is imperative that pregnant women reduce their level of exposure, especially during first trimester. If dyes are going to be used, using protective gloves and facial mask, using a well-ventilated room, avoiding eating or drinking during exposure, and avoiding frequent exposure are essential. Avoid chemicals that may enhance absorption into the scalp or the hair shaft.
If one chooses to use hair dyes, it is generally recommended to wait until after first trimester when most of the baby's organ systems have been formed. If you must dye your hair during pregnancy, ask your stylist to use the old fashioned method - a plastic cap with tiny holes to pull the hair through. Dying the strands in this manner will prevent the chemicals from contacting your scalp, reducing the absorption risks.
Once again, this information is provided so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your baby. Consult your obstetrician for further information.
Dr. Michele Brown, is a practicing OBGYN who has delivered over 3,000 babies. She is also founder of Beaute de Maman Natural and Herbal Products for Pregnant Women. Dr. Brown is a graduate of Tufts Medical School and did her residency at Yale University. She has privileges at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT.
Beaute de Maman recognizes the importance of safe products for pregnancy. Beaute de Maman products contain natural and herbal ingredients that are safe for pregnancy as per the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology guidelines.
Article Source:

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