More Articles on A Healthy Pregnancy

Thinking About Getting Pregnant?
Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! (for those who are newly pregnant)
What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Can I continue to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
A Pregnancy Menu For You and Your Baby
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
What About Seafood?
Don't Eat That!
Pregnancy and Cholesterol
Wash Those Veggies!
Breastmilk, the Healthiest Diet for Babies
What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?
Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
New Research Affirms Individualized Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Breastfeeding: Developing a Future Gourmet
What to Do About The Flu
Gestational Diabetes
Decreasing the Risk of Gestation Diabetes
Keeping and Storing Breastmilk
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines – Do We Need New Ones?
Breastfeeding: A Woman's Health Issue
Eating During Labor
Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - a Time to be Active!
Clearing the Air : Quit Smoking for You and Your Child
What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?
Does Iron Intake Matter?
One Fish, Two Fish... Full Term Birth?
Folic acid in pregnancy and language development
A Mediterranean Diet, Pre-Pregnancy
There is No Substitute for a Healthy Diet
Honest Healthy Diets for Babies
Exercise for New Moms
A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Gestational Diabetes
Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Great News About Breastfeeding
Peanuts and Pregnancy
Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes
Iodine supplements - should you take them?
Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet
FDA Updates Recommendations for Fish Consumption in Pregnancy

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


A Healthy Pregnancy

Wash Those Veggies

I just got back from this morning's Farmer's Market. It is so uplifting to see all the fresh produce out on the tables. I love being in the midst of so many great fruits and vegetables, smelling the fresh herbs, seeing all the colors and imagining how wonderful that produce will taste in my new recipes. It is good seeing children working with their parents, telling me about their gardens and learning how to make change.

Aside from the ambiance, one of the reasons I like shopping at the farmer's market is the opportunity to ask the growers directly, "How do you raise this?" What fertilizers do you use? Do you spray? What products do you use? How recently have you sprayed?

Pregnancy is a time when many women (and their partners) think about pesticides on fruits and vegetables. Are they dangerous to our unborn child? Does washing the produce do any good? Should I use some type of special wash? Should I buy organic? Is it worth it?

Here is help in making informed decisions.

Baby may be more susceptible to pesticides than Mom (or any adult), especially at critical times of development. There are several reasons for this.

Because baby's immature body is much less able to detoxify substances than adults, baby can be harmed by things that would not harm an adult. You are already aware of this concept with the recommendation that pregnant women should not drink alcohol; an amount that would be perfectly safe for the woman may be harmful to baby.

Water makes up a much higher percentage of baby's body weight than of mom's. Many pesticides are water based, therefore babies experience a higher level of pesticides per body weight.

Some pesticides may interfere with absorption of certain nutrients, which could impact baby's growth or development.

Some families choose to strictly buy organic produce during pregnancy. However, organic produce may not be available in all areas or may be too expensive. It is possible to minimize pesticide exposure even if you can not buy organic produce.

An environmental working group analyzed more than 100,000 government pesticide test results and came up with "The Dirty Dozen" - produce that consistently had the highest pesticide residue, even after washing. If you can only buy some organic produce, buying these items (or growing your own!) will decrease your pesticide exposure the most.

1 (worst) Peach 100 (highest pesticide load)
2 Apple 93
3 Sweet Bell Pepper 83
4 Celery 82
5 Nectarine 81
6 Strawberries 80
7 Cherries 73
8 Kale 69
9 Lettuce 67
10 Grapes - Imported 66

What were some of the best? The environmental working group calls these the "Clean 15." (You might still choose to buy organic, but statistically these fruits and veggies are low in pesticides regardless of an organic label.)

36 Watermelon 26
37 Papaya 20
38 Eggplant 20
39 Cabbage 17
40 Kiwi 13
41 Sweet Peas - Frozen 10
42 Asparagus 10
43 Mango 9
44 Pineapple 7
45 Sweet Corn - Frozen 2
46 Avocado 1
47 (best) Onion 1 (lowest pesticide load)

If you want to check food that isn't listed here, the complete list is available at

What about washes to remove pesticides that are present?

Some pesticide residues are not removed by washing but others are. Correct washing can certainly help. You don't need fancy veggie washes. Recent research found that rinsing under plain tap water for at least 30 seconds significantly reduces residues of nine of the twelve pesticides studied. Even some of the non-water soluble pesticides were significantly decreased. This is probably because of the mechanical action of the water.Veggies washes did not remove more of the pesticides than plain water. This study did not look at removing dirt or waxes, but the washes could be of help with these.

Fruits and vegetables are good for you and for baby – but buy carefully and rinse them well.

Nourish yourself and your child!