Every day, our bodies are exposed to a variety of toxins and pollutants through the things we touch, breathe, and eat.
As a result, detoxification and cleansing treatments, most use the terms interchangeably, have gained momentum by promising to quickly purify your body by flushing out toxins and helping you lose weight. However, despite their popularity, there is no scientific evidence they work.
Moreover, the liver, the body’s main natural detoxifier, kidneys, digestive system, lungs, and skin ensure toxins and pollutants are constantly cleared out from your body.
As you become pregnant, you may want to do as much as possible to optimize your health for your baby and may consider a cleansing diet or program for yourself. However, you must be cautious about undertaking a detox diet while pregnant as there are risks that may affect you and your baby.
So, what’s the fastest ways to clean out your system while pregnant? The fastest way to clean out your system while pregnant is to take a holistic health approach to enhance your body’s natural detoxification system without risking your child’s health and development. Always consult your doctor before making drastic lifestyle changes while pregnant.
Things to Know Ways to Clean Out Your System While Pregnant
Types of Detox Programs
There are a variety of detoxification or cleansing programs, the most common ones fall under the following categories:
- Food replacement with liquids
- Food restrictions
- Digestive tract cleanse
Each one is designed to cleanse your system of toxins and chemicals through different mechanisms. Interestingly, none of the methods list the specific toxins, pollutants, or chemicals they remove from your body.
The Liquid Cleanse/Detoxification Program
The most popular type of cleansing program endeavors to replace solid foods with a liquid regimen. These plans can include fruit and/or vegetable-based juices or smoothies, detox teas, or detox waters.
A juice or smoothie-based cleansing diet can complement your health routine, especially if the fruit or vegetables are freshly pressed since they are usually full of vitamins and minerals.
Detox teas are usually a blend of a variety of herbs, typically including green tea, which can help reduce inflammation.
Detox waters can include a combination of mint, lemon, ginger, apple cider vinegar, or cayenne pepper. Mint, lemon, and ginger are often used to remedy nausea during pregnancy.
There are many liquid-based cleanses and programs in the market, some of which specifically claim to detoxify the liver.
A liquid-based program can last between 3 to 21 days.
The Food Restriction Diet
The goal of this type of diet is to omit certain foods or food groups to flush out toxins from your body.
This can be helpful when trying to discover food sensitivities, such as gluten or dairy, but it must be done carefully and strategically.
It is best to remove one food item or group per week to determine the effect on the body. Otherwise, if you take away too many food items or groups at once you may not be able to establish which one has the most beneficial effects by being removed.
Additionally, removing too many food items or groups at once may feel restrictive and therefore more difficult to continue with the new regimen.
The Colon Cleanse
This treatment focuses on flushing the digestive tract through supplements, laxatives, or colon hydrotherapy.
While supplements and laxatives rid the digestive system of toxins by promoting bowel movements, colon hydrotherapy, also known as colonic, removes waste manually by flushing the colon with water.
The Risks for Pregnant Women Doing Detox Programs
Using Herbs During Liquid Detoxification
Some liquid cleansing programs may include herbs or herbal supplements that may not be safe for the developing fetus.
According to the University of Texas at El Paso, consuming high quantities of cilantro and parsley may increase the risk of miscarriage during the early stages of pregnancy.
Additionally, some liquid cleansing programs, such as those that use detox teas or waters may include ingredients that are not pasteurized, such as apple cider vinegar.
It is important to avoid drinking unpasteurized products while pregnant, as these may cause serious food-borne illnesses, including listeriosis, which can have dangerous effects on the mother and baby.
While cayenne pepper, an ingredient often used in detox water, is not harmful to the mother or the baby, it can cause discomfort and worsen heartburn if you are experiencing it.
Cleanses Can Lead to Dehydration
Colon cleanses are unpleasant and dangerous for anyone, especially pregnant women.
Conducting a colonic can cause stomach cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, and increased sweating, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Consequently, electrolyte imbalance in the body can result in kidney and heart issues; in pregnant women, it can place the unborn baby at risk.
Additionally, colon hydrotherapy can strip the digestive system of beneficial bacteria leading to bacterial infections.
While removing toxins and buried waste from the intestines might sound like a healthy thing to do, it is best to eat a diet high in soluble and insoluble fiber. Doing so will relieve bloating, constipation, and painful evacuations.
It is best to avoid colon cleansing, especially if pregnant unless directed by your doctor.
They Can Lead to Nutrient Deficiencies
While liquid cleansing and detox diets are typically full of vitamins and minerals, they usually lack protein and healthy fats. Furthermore, these meal-replacement diets seem to remove the majority of the body’s protein and fat.
This nutrient deprivation can lead to hunger, low blood sugar, brain fog, fatigue, and decreased productivity, which can be harmful to a developing baby.
Furthermore, this lack of nutrition risks the mother and child missing out on essential nutrients to sustain them during the pregnancy.
A mother undergoing a liquid meal-replacement program in hopes to cleanse her body for her baby may end up unable to keep up with the demands of a growing baby on her body.
Optimizing Your Detoxification System
While a detox or cleansing plan to clean out your system while pregnant may not be the safest choice, opting for a holistic approach may serve you better as you try to provide optimize your body’s detoxification system.
Improve Your Diet
Making some healthy food swaps, while avoiding foods that may be potentially harmful to you and your baby is a great way to remove harmful toxins from your body.
Switching to brown rice, whole grain pasta, and bread can help boost your immune system and prevent disease since minimally processed food products retain their fiber and phytonutrient content.
Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables have been found to contain more pesticides than their organically grown counterparts. Neurotoxic pesticides, particularly, can be harmful to a baby’s vulnerable, growing brain as these chemicals can travel in the blood and through the placenta.
Although they may be often more expensive, selecting organic produce and products, can help reduce the number of chemicals and pesticides you ingest.
According to WebMD, research conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), reveals the twelve conventionally grown produce items (the “Dirty Dozen”) that are most likely to have high levels of pesticides. Refer to that list when deciding which fruits and vegetables to buy organically. If you cannot purchase organic produce, be sure to wash it thoroughly.
Always select produce in a variety of colors. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are antioxidant-rich, full of a variety of nutrients and protective properties. They help maintain a healthy immune system and the antioxidants help remove toxins from your body. Always select fresh produce over supplements.
Re-evaluate Your Meat, Poultry, and Fish Consumption
Opt for a variety of protein-rich foods. The wider the diversity, the better the nutrition you will receive.
Select grass-fed and hormone-free meat and poultry. Although hormones are supposed to be regulated, some companies may fly under the radar and may not always follow the rules. There may be cases where there might be measurable amounts of hormones in meat and poultry products.
You can always choose beans, nuts, grains, legumes, and soy products as plant-based sources of protein. For iron, select fortified cereal, dried apricots and figs, blackstrap molasses, and quinoa.
Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for the mother and baby’s heart, immunity, and brain development.
Beware of mercury contamination, as it can be toxic to the brain and nervous system. In some cases, mercury has led to cancer.
Limit fish consumption to a couple of times a week. Fish that are typically safe to consume include farmed trout, catfish, wild Alaskan salmon, and halibut.
If you do not wish to eat fish, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids can be walnuts and ground flaxseed.
Maintain a Low Sugar and Salt Diet
Research has found that high levels of sugar consumption are linked to obesity and chronic diseases. Additionally, sugar has been found to negatively impact gastrointestinal health and the gut microbiome.
High sodium levels can lead to pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure, fluid retention, and bloating.
Furthermore, foods with chemical additives can cause stomach problems, migraines, and in some cases, insomnia.
Avoid processed foods like canned soups, frozen dinners, and boxed dishes. Such items are usually high in fat, sugar, salt, and calories and low in nutrients and vitamins.
Increase Water Consumption
Water is essential for all your body’s processes and your developing baby. It regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, and aids in digestion and nutrient absorption.
Aim to drink 8-13 8-oz glasses of water a day to flush out toxins through urine, feces, and sweat. Opt for water over sugary drinks. If you are looking for some flavor, add fresh fruits to your water, such as berries or cucumber slices and mint.
Only drink herbal teas that are safe for your baby and when choosing juices, select ones that are 100% juice.
Often, pregnant women dread drinking too many liquids to avoid frequent trips to the restroom. If this is your case, you can always eat foods high in water content to help keep you hydrated. Look for watermelon, berries, and crunchy vegetables.
Foster Healthy Habits
Developing healthy habits beyond the food and drinks you consume can help promote overall well-being and happiness, which can have a direct impact on your physical health.
Any type of physical activity, especially while pregnant, can help with blood and nutrient circulation. Blood carries oxygen to the body’s organs, and as it does, it collects waste from them and takes it to the liver and lungs where they are released.
Thirty minutes of daily physical activity can decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, it can decrease inflammation and may help prevent some cancers.
Yoga is a great, low-impact exercise for pregnant women. Always consult your doctor before starting a workout routine.
Fostering healthy sleep habits is just as important as exercise because doing so strengthens your body’s natural detoxification system. While you sleep, your brain can reorganize, recharge, and remove toxic compounds, such as beta-amyloid, a protein that contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, that accumulate during the day.
Sleep also helps manage stress and anxiety, and lowers high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
It is recommended that adults sleep 7-9 hours per night. Pregnant women are encouraged to rest and nap as much as necessary.
Sleeping while pregnant can be difficult, especially during the third trimester. Continue with your sleep schedule, limit blue light before bed, and use a recliner when you have difficulty laying down to sleep. Using additional pillows or a body pillow in bed may also be helpful.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine Consumption
The liver breaks down 90% of alcohol into acetaldehyde (a cancer-causing toxin), which is then converted to acetate to be eliminated from the body.
When too much alcohol is consumed, it can damage liver function by causing fat build-up, inflammation, and scarring. Once damaged, the liver can no longer filter waste and toxins.
According to Grow by WebMD, when consumed by pregnant women, alcohol can lead to abnormal facial features, growth deficiency, central nervous system problems, and learning and physical disabilities, such as vision and hearing loss. There is no safe limit for alcohol consumption while pregnant.
Although caffeine is legal and can be found in a wide variety of foods, it is still a drug and should not be consumed while pregnant, as it can lead to low birth weight, miscarriages, and preterm delivery.
Change Your Cleaning and Personal Care Products
Make a vinegar and baking soda cleaning solution to reduce exposure to toxic household chemicals.
Choose natural deodorants, makeup, moisturizers, and shampoos to reduce the absorption of chemicals. Avoid parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and oxybenzone.
Switching to natural products can be daunting when done all at once. You may want to try to replace each item as you finish it. This will also help you save money as you avoid throwing out usable products.
Although detox and cleansing programs have gained popularity due to their get-healthy quick and lose weight fast promises, there is no scientific evidence they work. The human body is capable of detoxification naturally; hence, there is no need for extreme cleansing measures.
Although a detoxification program may not be the most recommended method if you’re pregnant, implementing healthy habits to enhance your body’s natural detoxification abilities may be the safest, fastest way to clean out your system while pregnant. By taking a holistic approach, you will reach physical, emotional, and mental health, which will ultimately be most beneficial to your growing baby.