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Top 5 Organic Considerations During Pregnancy
By Dr. Alan Greene

More than four million acres of American farmland have already been dedicated to organic farming, helping our health and our future. That’s four million acres farmed without the use of toxic pesticides or other toxic chemicals; four million acres nurtured with both ancient and modern techniques that are in balance with nature, helping to reduce the production of greenhouse gasses and reduce the threat of global warming.

Growing our foods organically has proven to be one of the hottest, fastest-growing movements of the twenty-first century. When Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990, there were fewer than one million acres of organic farmland. In just twelve years, by 2002, that figure had doubled. Then the pace of progress picked up. Within just three more years, the amount of organic farmland doubled again. In 2005,
we saw, for the first time, certified organic farmland in all fifty states. There has been exceptional progress, but we need to do more.

If organic cropland continues to double—and it can!—we can expect to see a revitalization and renewal of our streams and our soil as we build a smart, sustainable future. I can remember drinking stream water in our national parks when I was a child. I can remember catching and eating fish from our local streams. Today, all of the streams surveyed by the U.S. Geological Survey and more than 90 percent of fish tested in farming regions are polluted with pesticides.1

By eating strategically we can reclaim our streams, our food, and our future. Here’s my take on the top five organic food choices a pregnant woman can make for the sake of her baby and the health of the planet:

Beef. If you eat beef during pregnancy, I strongly suggest choosing or­ganic beef. The meat from grass-fed, organically raised cattle tends to be leaner overall and has about five times the omega-3s of its conventional counterpart. In contrast, a 2007 study published in the Oxford journal Human Reproduction linked mothers who ate beef from conventionally raised cattle during pregnancy with lower sperm counts years later in their adult sons. The men in the study whose mothers ate conventional beef most frequently had sperm counts that averaged 24 percent lower than their counterparts, and they were three times more likely to be infertile. The authors of the study believe the added hormones were the culprit.2

Milk. If you drink milk, opt for organic. Milk from organic, pasture-fed cows is produced without antibiotics, artificial hormones, and pesticides, and can also provide extra omega-3s and beta-carotene. I find that when women start making organic choices for themselves and for their families, they often intuitively start at the top of the food chain with organic milk. They understand that the foods they eat and the medicines they take will often get into their breast milk, so they easily make the connection that the medicines and foods given to dairy cows may affect their family’s health. They prefer avoiding the routine use of antibiotics, artificial hormones, pesticides, and genetically modified feed. And I agree. Recent USDA monitoring data found that 27 percent of the conventional milk samples contained synthetic pyrethroid pesticides. more


1.Gilliom, R. J., and others. Pesticides in the Nation’s Streams and Ground Water, 1992–2001. USGS Circular 1291. U.S. Geological Survey. Mar. 2006.

2.Swan, S. H., Liu, F., Overstreet, J. W., Brazil, C., and Skakkebaek, N. E. “Semen Quality of Fertile U.S. Males in Relation to Their Mothers’ Beef Consumption During Pregnancy.” Human Reproduction. Fast Track Article. Mar. 28, 2007, pp. 1–6.

3.Weibel, F. P., Bickel, R., Leuthold, S., and Alfoldi, T. “Are Organically Grown Apples Tastier and Healthier? A Comparative Field Study Using Conventional and Alternative Methods to Measure Fruit Quality.” Acta Horticulturae, 2000, 517, pp. 417–426.

4.Rauh, V. A., Garfinkel, R., Perera, F. P., Andrews, H. F., Hoepner, L., Barr, D. B., Whitehead, R., Tang, D., and Whyatt, R. W. “Impact of Prenatal Chlorpyrifos Exposure on Neurodevelopment in the First 3 Years of Life Among Inner-City Children.” Pediatrics, 2006, 118(6), pp. e1845–e1859.

5.Meeker, J. D., et al. “Exposure to Nonpersistent Insecticides and Male Reproductive Hormones.” Epidemiology, 2006, 17(1), pp. 61–68.



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