You’re pregnant. Congratulations! This exciting time will require a lot of preparation. There’s about to be a new addition to your family, and you need to get ready. While you have lots to think about, you don’t have to abandon your sustainability goals. With a bit of forethought, you can have an eco-friendly pregnancy.
Here are a few tips to help you stay on track.
1. Picking Maternity Clothes
It’s unavoidable that your growing body will need a new wardrobe over the next nine months. However, shopping inevitably creates waste. This point becomes even truer when you purchase from fast fashion brands with poor labor and waste practices. How do you find maternity clothes that are sustainable and look great?
The best solution for eco-friendly maternity wear is to thrift. Since maternity clothes are only worn for a short time, you can find plenty of nearly-new items secondhand. Check out local thrift stores or reach out to other moms you know. This will save you money and reduce the demand for garment production — a double win.
When you must buy new, look for small, eco-friendly brands that sell everything from everyday clothes to nursing bras. When you no longer need those pieces, you can donate them to extend their useful life.
2. Choosing Baby Products
It’s no secret that babies need and use many products. From bibs to diapers to formula, you probably have endless items you plan to purchase before your child’s arrival.
Planning on starting a baby shower registry? Make sure the items on your list are safe for your baby and the planet. Universal baby registries can help you list natural baby products from a variety of sustainable and local businesses rather than fully relying on huge brands like Amazon or Target.
Research the companies you buy from. Make sure they are committed to sustainable business practices instead of engaging in greenwashing. You can also ask loved ones to forgo gifting new products in favor of handmade and secondhand baby clothing, books, and toys.
3. Eating a Nutritious Diet
You need to consume a diet that supports both you and your baby’s well-being. Can you eat sustainably while pregnant? Yes! It’s key to note that everyone has different health needs, so consult your doctor to monitor your nutrition and create plans.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul. Here are some tips for eco-friendly diet changes:
- Substitute beans, lentils, and other plant-based proteins for meats at least once a week.
- Find recipes that add veggies to savory, indulgent meals, like adding cauliflower to your mac and cheese — and opt for organic.
- Replace single-serving yogurt cups with yogurt-and-fruit parfaits, overnight oats in mason jars, and other healthy snacks.
Finally, if you have time and energy, consider planning meals for the future. Freezing meals in the months before the baby is due can help you access easy, nutritious options while caring for your infant.
4. Designing a Nursery
The nursery will likely be a priority, so design your space with specific intentions. You can ensure your baby’s room looks and feels just right without being overly wasteful – or toxic for your baby! Start with a simple theme — neutral colors are great for planning regardless of gender — and use it to drive your decision-making. Be sure to use nontoxic paints, flooring, and cleaners.
You will likely need new furniture, including a crib and changing table. Consider decking out the rest of the space with pieces you buy second-hand. Not only can you find lovely vintage rocking chairs or bookcases this way, but this practice helps you budget for the baby without overdoing it on new items.
While decorating, remember minimalism. Stuffed animals and newborn clothing can stack up fast, filling your space with little purpose. Consider a subscription service for baby clothing your little one will quickly outgrow. Try your hardest to limit your purchases. You can put the money saved toward your child’s college fund rather than toys they won’t use.
5. Taking Care of Yourself
Pregnancy forces your body through so many changes over a relatively short period. It’s vital to take care of yourself just as much as you care for your baby. Self-care can include everything from meditating to taking bubble baths to treating yourself to some chocolate — ethically produced, of course.
Be sure that your self-care routine is sustainable. You don’t want to wash a bunch of microplastics down the drain after you treat yourself to a body scrub. (Check out this easy DIY body scrub recipe — no plastic microbeads needed.) If you don’t want to read up on confusing ingredients, try using an app or website to check the ingredients in beauty and bath products before you buy. Or better yet, make your own personal care products from natural ingredients.
An Eco-Friendly Pregnancy Is Good for You and Baby
Sustainable and eco-friendly practices aren’t just good for the environment, they benefit your health and your baby’s, too. Plenty will change during your pregnancy, but by staying firm with your commitment to a sustainable lifestyle, you are doing your part to help ensure a healthy planet for your baby’s future.
About the Author
Evelyn Long is a writer and editor covering sustainable home improvement. Her work can be found in Renovated, a web magazine sharing best practices for homeowners.