Fertility & Perinatal Support @InnerSpring WellBeing in Stow, MA 978-461-2001
Fertility & Perinatal Support

Effects of Triclosan and Paraben Exposure during Pregnancy

   Maintaining hygeine and personal care, applying cosmetics… these routines are commonplace nowadays in most women’s lives. Most of us wouldn’t bat an eye at continuing to do our normal personal care routines during pregnancy. And while it is of course extremely important to maintain proper personal care whether pregnant or not, more and more research is showing that which products we choose to use both during pregnancy and preconception can have an effect on birthing outcomes. 

   In the past couple of years there has been a lot of buzz about sulfates, parabens, and other potentially hazardous preservative chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and hygiene products. We know that many of them are toxic to us in large quantities, as they have endocrine-disrupting effects. But what implications does that have for us if we are pregnant, or even just trying to conceive?
   One study performed recently at SUNY may give us some insight. The study involved a group of 185 women, all of whom had their urine analyzed during their 3rd trimester for different types of parabens, triclosan, and triclocarban— all common preservatives used in cosmetics, body care products, hand soaps, and sometimes even foods. The study also tested the umbilical blood of 34 newborns for concentrations of these same chemicals.
   The results they found were very interesting. They determined that a link was certainly present between the women and babies displaying higher concentrations of butyl parabens and “shorter gestational age at birth, decreased birth weight, and increased odds of preterm birth.” Butyl parabens are commonly found makeup, cremes and lotions, and other common hygeine products.
   And while the results did necessarily pose a direct, immediate threat to the life mother or baby, the researchers assert that if these chemicals continue to be used so readily and regularly, their findings could become more and more common and eventually create more clinical concern. Thankfully, the risks of these products are continuing to gain more and more recognition. Europe has already passed regulations to remove triclosan from consumer products, and the United States FDA has issued warnings (though it is still ultimately the choice of individual companies  whether to use the chemicals in their products).
   If you are curious as to whether any of the products you use contain potentially toxic chemicals and preservatives, many good resources are available online. The Environmental Working Group runs a website called “Skin Deep” that serves as a database for thousands of common products, and sites their toxicity risks (https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/). In the end, with a little awareness and effort, it is quite easy to avoid products that may have risk potential for you and your baby. And, if we collectively continue to do so, hopefully the cosmetic and hygiene industries will continue to decrease their use in the future.
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