Answers from the Author of "The Complete Organic Pregnancy"

A week or two ago, I asked readers to submit questions for the author of THIS NEW BOOK. It's called "The Complete Organic Pregnancy" and it's a comprehensive guide to avoiding toxins while pregnant and breastfeeding.

One of the authors, Deirdre Dolan (the other author is Alexandra Zissu), took some time to answer your questions and here are her answers.

(And I have the books ready to go out to the folks who sent in questions, so look for them next week some time!)


BLOG READER QUESTION: What is the tone of the book? Will reading it make me feel like my already-born children are irreparably damaged because I did not know
to avoid all this stuff? Will it make me feel like a bad mother if I can't successfully avoid it in subsequent pregnancy?

DEIRDRE REPLIES: We didn’t know a fraction of what we now do about organics before we started researching our book, so we think the tone is more helpful than doctrinaire. We say over and over that it would be pretty hard to do everything we recommend, so people should do whatever percent they can – be that 5% or 95%. From our friends who are second-time moms who want to get on the organics bandwagon, we’re hearing an “A-ha!” response to a lot of what we point out. As in: “That makes sense, and now I know why and what to do.” We assume that how ambitious you decide to be about the information in our book will directly correspond with how much it resonates with you. If it resonates strongly and you don’t decide to make changes, perhaps you’ll feel bad. But it’s more likely that you’ll do what makes sense to you, and feel comfortable ignoring the rest. We’ve never read a pregnancy book (before ours of course) that we followed every word of, and so we wrote this one with that in mind. Of course we’d love it if you go more organic than not, but ultimately it’s up to you to pick and choose what works for your life.

BLOG READER QUESTION: What gets top priority for the pregnant momma? There are organic cotton diapers, and organic chocolate, along with organic-fed chickens
and grass-fed beef. And of course fruits and veggies. What is most critical?

DEIRDRE REPLIES: Here are five great steps we think worth taking to protect your baby during the childbearing year:

1. Buy non-toxic cleaning products because basically everything conventional is bad. This will help your indoor air pollution considerably. (You can make your own cleaning products for a fraction of the cost with a combination of liquid soap, baking soda, water and white vinegar.)
2. Chicken, fruits, veggies, and chocolate fall into the same category for us. Eat organic and whole foods – unprocessed foods as close to the form they were grown in as possible.
3. Have your house and water tested for lead, particularly if your house was built before 1987.
4. Read the ingredients in your beauty products. Can you pronounce, let alone recognize, what’s listed? Our government doesn’t (yet) regulate cosmetics as organic which means any producer can claim to be organic. Choose products with fewer and more natural ingredients. We have trustworthy brand suggestions in the book.
5. Don’t renovate while pregnant. If you need to make basic changes, especially where the pregnant mother or baby will be sleeping, use zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, and nontoxic wood and glue.

BLOG READER QUESTION: Is there ever a time in your opinion that the price of organic
foods and household products is not worth the cost? In other words, as
a pregnant woman, what non-organic foods and products (if any) can I
feel safe and confident about?

DEIRDRE REPLIES: The Environmental Working Group ( has investigated and determined which are the most and least pesticide-laden conventional fruits and vegetables. We urge you to eat organically but if you’d like to still buy conventional, check our their least-contaminated vegetable list which includes: sweet corn, avocado, cauliflower, asparagus, onions, peas and broccoli. The five conventional fruits least likely to have pesticide residues on them are pineapples, mangoes, bananas, kiwi and papaya. (The vegetables MOST likely to expose consumers to pesticides are spinach, celery, potatoes, and sweet bell pepper. The most contaminated fruits are peaches, strawberries, apples, nectarines, pears, cherries, red raspberries, and imported grapes.)

As we mentioned above, we also advise eating whole foods, which doesn’t have to mean organic, but food that is unprocessed and unrefined, or at least processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. Whole foods retain more of their nutrients than processed food. A potato is good for you (even with the pesticides), certainly better than potato chips. There are a number of processed and packaged “organic” foods now on the market, too. Just because they’re organic doesn’t mean they’re better for you than whole foods.

We go into more depth about specific products in the book, but be wary about buying expensive cosmetics or other products that claim to be organic. Like we said, there is no such thing as certified organic beauty products (for the moment, the government is working on standards) or paint or laundry detergent, so before you lay out the cash, make sure the manufacturer is the real deal.

Another thing to keep in mind when paying a bit extra for organics is that you’re not only buying for you. If you buy the organic potato, you’re helping a farmer (and his or her family) not have to breathe in toxic pesticides, you’re keeping insecticides out of the very earth and the groundwater your baby is inheriting.


Thanks blog readers and thanks Deirdre (and Andi!).

Now run on out and buy the book!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are these the people who got the copies of the book?