Phthalates – you may have heard this word floating around in environmental or health circuits. Nicholas Kristoff referenced them in a recent New York Times articles (here you go).
When you’ve run across it, you may have ignored it, or maybe hesitated to learn more because it just looks confusing and scientific, or maybe you did investigate but got overwhelmed with the lack of clarity. I’m guilty of all 3 of these. But I’ve come around and you will too because I’m going to spell it out for you right now.
I’ve seen a barrage of patients lately using CBD, or cannabidiol, for anxiety symptoms or as a sleep aid. Let me add here that these are NOT pregnant patients, and skip to the bottom if you want to see why you shouldn’t be using CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding. Simultaneously I started seeing CBD in clean beauty shops and in a ton of health care and skin care blogs. You may be thinking, isn’t it just marijuana?
Yes … sort of.
Cannabinoids are the major active constituents of the Cannabis plant. More than 100 are known to scientists, but the two most recognized are the psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the regulated form of cannabis because of its psychoactive properties (don’t give me a hard time here … you know what those properties are).
My kids’ pediatrician meets with prospective new patient families during their pregnancy. A few weeks ago a woman asked: “what do you think about me wiping my vagina with a cloth and spreading it all over my baby’s mouth”. He knew she was talking about vaginal seeding but was surprised by the bluntness of her description (I mean, come on, he’s a pediatrician) and didn’t exactly know how to answer. He remembers saying something like “ummmmm, that’s not usually a good idea”
My son’s appointment was the next day so he knew he had the perfect audience for this story and the perfect opportunity to discuss it. He wanted to know how often this is actually happening in the delivery room (as a general pediatrician he isn’t at deliveries) and what exactly did happen during the vaginal seeding process. And finally, what is the best way to answer that question?
People have taken ahold of this concept and essentially “advertised” it to women as a good option to help expose baby to the benefits of the vaginal microbiome bacteria if she has to have a c-section. According to one of my patients, “everyone” has told her this is “now common practice”.
Is this the whole truth? Is it a good alternative? Is it safe? Is everyone doing it? Or are we better off without ever knowing this was a thing?