The blog post you’ve been waiting for is finally here! I’ve had lots of messages about zero waste and pregnancy over the last few months. I really wanted to wait until baby Vasco’s arrival to write down my thoughts on the subject and then of course, babies take ALL attention and time. However, I decided to steal some time away this afternoon to quickly work on this post before baby boy wakes up from his nap!
I’ll be honest; the post title is a little misleading. My pregnancy was not exactly zero waste. But growing a tiny human is hard work and sometimes reducing waste was just not on my radar. However, I do want to share with you guys my experience and thoughts. I’d also love any feedback and would love to hear how other pregnant women have reduced waste and their carbon footprint during their own pregnancy.
Zero Waste Pregnancy Test
It seemed like I was set up for zero waste sabotage from the very beginning, because how did I learn I was pregnant but with a *gasp* plastic at-home pregnancy test. Of course, I took several tests to be absolutely positive of the results. I was sad about the waste, just thinking of how many pregnancy tests are used by women around the world daily, but mostly excited about the results and didn’t worry too much about the waste. Exciting news though guys! I learned several months into my pregnancy that there’s a flushable, biodegradable eco-friendly pregnancy test that will be available online soon. It’s a company called Lia; be sure to check out their website. It’s such a wonderful concept; I’m so glad someone thought of this!!
Low Waste Prenatal Vitamins
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Most vitamins these days come packaged in plastic bottles. However, luckily I was able to find a prenatal vitamin that I liked that came in a glass bottle. I chose this whole foods prenatal because of its natural ingredients and USDA organic certification. This is the one that I used throughout my pregnancy:
This post has other great options for organic prenatal vitamins with natural ingredients to support a healthy pregnancy.
Early on, I learned that I had low iron which I expected due to my diet. I was happy to also find an iron supplement that comes in a glass bottle. It tastes horrible but works great. I recommend drinking it in a small glass of orange juice to help mask the taste. Here’s the iron supplement I used:
Sustainable Maternity Clothing
Being pregnant is so exciting and you want to share the news with everyone, but it’s also frustrating in those first few months when you aren’t showing yet. It’s like holding a big secret inside (and I’m the worst at keeping secrets…). I didn’t really start showing until more than half way through my pregnancy which meant that I could continue wearing my regular clothes and didn’t need to consider maternity clothes until I was already a few months along.
I hated the idea of buying a whole new wardrobe that I would only wear for a few short weeks. In an effort to save myself some money and continue along in my zero waste efforts, I chose to buy a few non maternity outfits in a size larger than my regular size. In this way, I would be able to wear these clothes in pregnancy and also continue to wear them after. Luckily, loose-fitting tops and dresses with leggings is in style these days!
An even better option for eco friendly maternity wear would be to purchase or borrow some secondhand from a friend or family member. I hunted on Facebook Marketplace and local thrift stores for secondhand maternity clothes in my town but couldn’t really find any in my size. I would’ve loved to just borrow some that I could then share with another pregnant momma. Shopping secondhand is the best way to decrease textile waste and reduce the demand for new resources.
While hunting for secondhand maternity wear, I also did some shopping for secondhand baby clothes. Check out my zero waste baby registry for other sustainable baby essentials.
If you prefer to purchase new clothes for your growing belly, consider ordering from ethical brands that use high quality sustainable materials and fabrics like organic cotton or hemp.
There are definitely ways you can reduce waste when visiting the ob/gyn or midwife for prenatal care. Most importantly though, do what is best for your own health and baby’s health. Obviously, reducing waste should never come above the health of you or your unborn child. How can you help Mama Earth if you haven’t helped yourself, right?!
Remember to carry a reusable stainless steel water bottle with you to stay hydrated during the visit, avoiding single-use plastic cups.
Discuss with your healthcare providers if there are natural or eco-friendly alternatives to certain medications or treatments when appropriate. I tried my best to have as little medical intervention as possible during my pregnancy. We had two ultrasounds over the ten months.
Encourage your doctor’s office to adopt eco-friendly practices and suggest initiatives to reduce waste and energy consumption like going paperless!
Low Waste Baby Shower
Consider having a more waste free baby shower with some of the following ideas:
- Digital Invitations: Send out electronic invitations instead of paper ones to reduce paper waste. You can use online platforms or email invitations to invite guests.
- Sustainable Decorations: Opt for reusable and eco-friendly decorations, such as fabric banners, potted plants, or flowers from local and organic sources. Avoid balloons and other single-use decorations.
- Eco-Friendly Partyware: Use reusable tableware, such as cloth napkins, reusable plates, and stainless steel or bamboo utensils, instead of disposable options. Or opt for eco friendly disposable utensils.
- Gift Registry: Create a sustainable baby gift registry that includes organic clothing, cloth diapers, reusable baby products, and eco-friendly nursery items. Encourage guests to consider second-hand gifts as well.
- Eco-Friendly Party Favors: Offer eco-friendly party favors like plant seeds, organic soaps, or reusable items that guests can take home and use. Avoid plastic and single-use favors.
- Responsible Waste Disposal: Set up clearly labeled recycling and compost bins to ensure proper waste disposal during the event.
- Eco-Conscious Games and Prizes: Organize eco-conscious games and offer sustainable prizes, like reusable water bottles or eco-friendly beauty products.
Probably the best thing you can do for your baby during pregnancy is to stay healthy which is absolutely zero waste! Rest, rest, rest. Listen to your body and know when you are pushing yourself too hard.
Try to a follow a healthy balanced diet as much as possible, and don’t forget to take your prenatal vitamins. Choose locally sourced, seasonal and organic foods from local farmer’s markets and reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Choose natural cleaning supplies instead of those with harmful chemicals. Also, choose natural personal care products if you can.
Get a prenatal massage and visit your chiropractor regularly. Take walks daily and spend time outside. All of these healthy pregnant people habits easily align with the zero waste lifestyle, yay!!
Biggest Zero Waste Pregnancy Struggle
Ok, confession time! My biggest zero waste pregnancy struggle was definitely food waste. I know you guys are thinking how is that possible when zero waste food shopping is something I was already working on pre-pregnancy. Let me just tell you though, during pregnancy I was so so lazy about cooking and food shopping. I had no energy or appetite to prepare delicious zero waste plant based meals. We ate a lot of packaged and processed foods mostly because I didn’t feel like cooking.
I also had big plans to make freezer meals before Vasco’s arrival that I could easily warm up during those first few weeks postpartum but again, no energy for freezer meal prep. So even after pregnancy, I’ve continued to slack on my zero waste food routine. Luckily, my sweet sister has visited several times and prepared us some home cooked meals that have lasted us for daysI Where would I be without my awesome little sister?! (Probably eating granola bars for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 😉
There are plenty of ways we can live more sustainably from the first trimester all the way through to postpartum. We don’t have to do it all, but simple sustainable practices in our daily lives can make a positive impact on the environment!