Sunday, April 20, 2014

Three Important Questions for Your OBGYN

by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff,

If you’re pregnant—or thinking about it—make sure your doctor knows the answers to three important questions that can protect your children’s health.

In 2013, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine released a joint statement that said: “toxic chemicals in our environment harm our ability to reproduce, negatively affect pregnancies and are associated with numerous long-term health problems.”

In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics recognized that pesticides are associated with pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioral problems, and recommended that pediatricians work with parents to help reduce the use of pesticides in homes and yards.

Yet not all doctors share information to help patients reduce toxic chemicals during pregnancy, a time when even low levels have been linked to disruption of fetal brain and reproductive system development, as well as increased risks of birth defects, cancer, immune problems, asthma and other problems later in life.

In 2012, a University of San Francisco study of more than 2,000 obstetricians and gynecologists nationwide found that although they routinely discuss smoking, alcohol, diet and weight gain, most doctors do not warn their patients about environmental hazards as related to pregnancy.

With this in mind, here are a few questions to ask your ObGyn:

1. Should I be concerned about mercury in fish?
2. Is organic food important during pregnancy?
3. How can I reduce the amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in my environment?

If I were pregnant (again) here are the answers I’d want to hear:

1. Yes, avoid fish during pregnancy and supplement with omega-3 oils.
2. Since studies have shown links between pesticides in pregnancy and lower birth weight babies with shorter term pregnancies; you should eat organic as much as you can.
3. Use no VOC paints and avoid new synthetic carpets and furniture, especially those which are made with formaldehyde.

If your doctor doesn’t have answers—or resists talking about these issues—consider whether or not he or she is the right doctor for you!

Better known as “Mommy Greenest,” Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff is a journalist, consultant, sustainability advocate and former CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World who was editor of Children magazine—before she had three of her own. Rachel was featured in Los Angeles and Lucky magazines and appeared on “The Today Show” and “CNN Headline News,” among others. Rachel publishes, [PLEASE LINK TO SITE] sharing advice about healthier living with less judgment, because you shouldn't have to be a scientist to raise healthy kids. Follow her @RachelLSarnoff and at