Plastic, plastic everywhere.

In late 2020 microplastics were found in the placenta of an unborn child, for the first time ever.

We still don’t know all the facts about microplastics and their impact on the human body, but they are linked to negative health outcomes including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and stroke.

Plastic has now entered the food chain and our bodies. It’s estimated we all eat a credit-card sized piece of plastic every week.

The discovery that unborn children can be exposed to tiny particles of plastic, through a pregnant mother, is a frightening concept.

Small changes, big results

Many of the products we use every day can’t be reused, or recycled, and this includes items for pregnancy-for example the traditional pregnancy test.

These single-use plastics usually end up in landfill, are burned, or end up in the ocean. A lorry-load of plastic enters the ocean every minute.

There are lots of small changes during pregnancy that can help reduce the amount of plastic and other waste entering both our bodies and the ocean.

Children - the ocean’s future

Giving your child the best possible start in life is vital for them, but also for the ocean. Many people go organic during pregnancy to limit the amount of plastic and chemicals entering the body.

The plastics you use could end up in your unborn child. Avoid buying everyday plastic items such as bio-wipes and personal products containing microplastics. Carrying a reusable metal water bottle will reduce the number of plastic bottles you buy, and the amount of microplastic you consume from them.

Removing plastic from your lifestyle can help to improve the health of your pregnancy, and the ocean, by reducing the waste which ends up in them.

Think about what you ‘need’ rather than following buying trends. Many companies want you buy single-use items, so they can sell you more of them. But many things can be reused.

9 months might race past, but it is also a good time to plan for the birth and early life of your child. It’s also a time to rethink your family’s lifestyle and what you wish to leave behind for your child’s generation.

By having an ocean-friendly pregnancy, you are helping them to be a healthy individual, but also giving them a healthy planet to grow up in.

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What else can you do?

Reusable nappies

“Oh no!” is the reaction of most people. But finding a routine and a system that works can make this an extremely cost effective and rewarding process. You could always mix and match too, any reduction in disposables is a bonus. “Reusable nappies can save you around £200 to £500 over the 2.5 years that your baby is likely to be in nappies.” (NCT.ORG.UK)

Use biodegradable disposable nappies

These are often not as expensive as you think, and some are available via a subscription service. Other benefits often include ocean - friendly packaging, sustainable materials, and more sustainable manufacturing processes.

Reusable wipes

Babies make a lot of mess, so you need a lot of wipes. Join the revolution ditching plastic wipes and switch to reusable. Like reusable nappies this will involve washing them, but you will save loads of money and the planet by doing so (just remember to use the “eco” mode on your washing machine and to air - dry). Seek out organic recycled cotton to be even more ocean friendly!

Second - hand items

Everyone needs the ‘big-stuff’ that babies require; prams, strollers and so on, but they don’t need them for long. That means there are lots of second-hand items out there, hardly used and waiting for a new home. You can pick them up for a fraction of the cost, and even sell them on again when done.

First - hand knowledge online

Online groups have a plethora of tips and tricks that you have never thought about, or inspiring ideas for ocean-friendly solutions. Use social media to seek out planet friendly solutions and alternatives, and spread the word about ideas you have found.

Pass it on

Make the most of what other people in your social groups, or neighbour don’t need. This saves money, time and effort seeking out and buying new things. It also helps find ‘tried and tested’ solutions.

Built to last

You may want to buy something new, and if you do, look for durable well - made products that avoid plastics or chemicals that can wash up in the ocean. You may pay a little more, but they will last longer, and they will have resale value.

No need for new

There are millions of previously loved toys out there. Visit charity shops or auction sites to find unique, retro and fun toys.

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