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Can I safely detox while I am pregnant?

This question is often asked by expecting mothers who are concerned with boosting their mineral reserve, detoxifying for a healthy baby, managing their weight and getting in shape after giving birth. Many think that if they do a detox while pregnant, they may start to feel better and gain energy during their pregnancy and maybe even increase the chance of having a healthier baby. While breastfeeding, many new mothers feel exhausted and sluggish after having gained pregnancy weight and given birth and hope that a detox will give them a reboot. This an important issue to discuss especially with all the over-the-counter at-home detox programs that everyone has access to do on their own with no guidance or support. The answer to this question is unequivocally without exception: NO- you cannot use any supplement, herbal remedies or other over the counter or self-made detox potions, pills or course of detox treatment during pregnancy or breast feeding.

Pregnancy is a time for abundance in healthy, clean, vibrant foods and ample time for relaxation and rest.

Most detox programs require cleansing supplements, something that should never be done during pregnancy because during the process of detox, toxins are released from the organs and tissues into the blood stream before they are broken down and carried out through the kidneys, colon, lungs and skin. These toxins enter the mother’s bloodstream and are then carried into the foetus’ bloodstream.

Some detoxes include taking high amounts of Vitamin C. Vitamin C, when consumed in high doses, can inhibit the production of progesterone, a vital hormone in pregnancy.

The same goes for breastfeeding for all the reasons listed above. Furthermore, if a woman does a detox while breastfeeding, toxins (including heavy metals) will enter into her breast milk, and she will unknowingly feed those toxins directly to her newborn. While breastfeeding, the focus should not be on weight loss.

Eat foods rich in nutrients and high in plant-based protein so your body has the power to make the healthiest milk ever for your baby.

When you are finished breastfeeding, you may consider doing a detox. Actually, the best time to do a detox is one year before you get pregnant. Yes – one year! That way, you have plenty of time to do multiple cleanses including kidney, colon, gallstone/liver and heavy metal detoxification and then have ample time to rebuild with a nutrient dense diet to best prepare your body for a safe, clean and healthy pregnancy.

If you’re suffering from constipation during your pregnancy, do not consider doing an enema. The main reasons enemas are not recommended during pregnancy are:

1) you can temporarily stir up toxins into the blood while disrupting the faecal matter before it is released, and

2) the inflow of water into the colon can put pressure on the uterus and foetus.

Rather, increase the consumption of high-fibre foods and reduce wheat foods as much as possible to relieve constipation due to pregnancy. Think of wheat as concrete in the colon and avoid it especially if you are feeling backed up.

Try adding 2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed to every meal (either a smoothie, fruit salad or vegetable salad or even mix in with cooked veggies or soups). This will significantly increase your fibre intake and should get things moving. If it is ‘too much’ movement, reduce to 2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed at 2 meals daily or even 2 Tbsp. at 1 meal per day (Note that the flax seed must be ground and not whole).

Dietary detoxes might consist of eating healthy foods, like fruits, and so you might think that automatically makes them safe. However, if a detox program requires you to remove one or more food groups from your diet, you risk missing out on essential nutrients — and so does your baby. The frequent trips to the bathroom and potential increased perspiration that often accompany harsh detoxes can cause dehydration, which is dangerous to pregnant women. Similarly, colon irrigation increases you risk of dehydration and can cause an electrolyte imbalances.

Herbs or chemicals used in detox supplements and spa treatments may not be safe for your developing fetus.While you are pregnant the only detox you can embark on is a detox from junk food, food laden with preservatives, colorants, additives and GMO foods.

Detox Your Eating Habits

  • Drink at least eight 6-8. glasses of water per day to help naturally flush toxins out of your body through sweat and urine.

  • Eat a high-fiber diet to sweep your colon clean and move toxins out of your body.

  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day to circulate oxygen and nutrients though your body and to encourage perspiration.

  • Eat a wide variety of healthy foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates like brown rice, bulgur wheat and quinoa, free range, naturally fed, hormone free dairy and meats. Choose organic foods when available and affordable.

  • Use fresh and dried herbs in your cooking. Garlic is a natural antibiotic that cleanses the blood and boosts the immune system. Cayenne pepper purifies the blood, increases sweating and fluid elimination. Ginger root stimulates circulation and perspiration. Parsley leaf is a diuretic that flushes the kidneys. (Avoid if breastfeeding – it is also helpful for lowering your milk supply).

  • Consume foods known to naturally aide in the removal of food toxins, such as cilantro, kelp, olive oil, and apples. The body will sweep out harmful toxins while it digests your food; this is a safe way to eliminate toxins as quickly as they enter your body, and this won't inundate the fetus with toxic chemicals.

  • Eat the healthy foods that you crave. Cravings represent the nutrients your growing fetus prefers for its personal body type, which may be different from your specific metabolic type. Rarely does anyone gain weight when drinking water and eating healthy. Baby weight is just that - baby weight.

  • If you suspect you are exposed to toxins, eliminate thier source during pregnancy. If you eat too much canned tuna, for example, and are concerned about mercury poisoning, then eliminate the canned tuna.

  • Don't diet during pregnancy; diet after the baby is born and you have finished breast feeding. Your baby does not need to be on a diet. Predominantly fresh fruit and vegetables should make up the bulk of your food intake.

  • Avoid using unnecessary medications. If you have a headache-have a hot bath, take a nap and avoid the pain relievers, if possible.

  • Avoid all artificial sweeteners at all costs, and read your labels for hidden chemical sweeteners found in foods that are not labeled sugar-free.

  • Avoid the No-Fat/Non-Fat, Low-Fat products. "No-fat" typically means that chemical sweeteners are included in place of the fat.

A sugar detox is a safe diet to follow during pregnancy, particularly in the 3rd trimester when your glucose tolerance is low and insulin resistance becomes high. , it does that When you are pregnant your body wants to store and accumulate extra fat stores by becoming more resistant to insulin, thus increasing your blood sugars and storing additional energy (aka sugar) as fat. It does this for two reasons:

1. To ensure that you have sufficient calories to breastfeed your baby in the event of a famine.

2. To fatten up your baby (for similar reasons).

By eliminating refined sugar there is no danger that you will offload toxins to your baby or enter into a caloric deficit. The goal of eliminating refined sugar is blood sugar regulation. This is exactly what we are trying to control in the third trimester and throughout pregnancy.

In conclusion, if you are feeling sluggish and overly tired during pregnancy, be sure to get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and enjoy a nutrient dense plant based diet, free of chemical additives during their pregnancy and after the miracle of birth and the sacred bonding time of breastfeeding you will have ample time to cleanse your body and get back into shape.

If you would like to learn more about health promoting techniques, we invite you to book a Nutrition and Health Consultation with The Health Coach academy team, attend our Healthy Cooking Classes, do one of our Detox and Lifestyle Programs or join our Health Coaching Program.


Results may individually vary. Information and statements made in articles of The Health Coach academy Blog are for education purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. The Health Coach academy does not provide medical advice, prescribe medication and treatment plans, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by The Health Coach academy are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. Should you have a medical condition or health concern, consult your physician.

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