Updated: Sep 14
First of all can I just say that if you're reading this, you're already an amazing human being. Pregnancy can be a really difficult, exhausting time, and if you have the capacity and energy to consider being more sustainable then I salute you!
A quick Google search on how to have a sustainable pregnancy came up with an overwhelming number of ideas, many of which aren't even unique to pregnancy, so I wanted to put my favourite tips here. This is a no judgement zone, so just take what you can from it and remember that sustainability is a journey.
1. Hold a sustainable baby shower
We were inspired by B&B subscriber Louise who wore a maternity dress rented from us at her ‘not baby shower’ – not wanting to encourage gift giving but still finding a way to celebrate with her family and friends, she explained in the invitations their intention to make ethical choices for their child from the beginning, including reducing ‘stuff’, and asked her guests to consider buying second-hand gifts or making homemade ones if they wanted to give something.
All of the food was homemade by her family and decorations were reused or reusable such as fabric bunting which can be used afterwards in the baby’s room or each year for birthdays. You could also ask for a donation to charity or vouchers for more sustainable baby gifts such as baby clothes, toys or equipment. Stay tuned for a full blog post on sustainable baby shower ideas!
2. Opt for sustainable maternity clothing
The most sustainable option is always to use what you already have. At the start of your pregnancy, there are a few hacks that can make the most of your existing wardrobe. Wear floaty dresses and tops, or your partner's shirts - basically anything without a seam at the waist. A belly/bump band, which simultaneously covers any gap between your trousers and tops as your bump starts growing, and also covers up the top of your trousers so that you can wear them unbuttoned or use this elastic band trick before you are quite ready for maternity jeans. A bra extender is also helpful to provide a bit more comfort as your ribcage expands.
When you get into the later stages of pregnancy, there are so many options when it comes to building a sustainable pregnancy wardrobe – apps like Vinted have made it easier than ever to find pre-loved bargains from sustainable maternity brands (did you know we now have a selection of pre-loved maternity clothes too?) or if you're looking for a more convenient option you can rent your maternity wardrobe. Our maternity capsule wardrobes start at £5 per item each month, for a minimum of two items for two months - check out our maternity collection here.
Look out for more sustainable fabrics such as LENZING™ECOVERO™ Viscose (this maternity dress shown above is an example from our collection) which is made using wood pulp sourced from sustainably managed forests, and is also super soft and drapes beautifully.
3. Avoid chemicals where possible
There are a lot of scary statistics on the internet about harmful chemicals in all kinds of products, but unfortunately we are all exposed to chemicals on a daily basis, and this page by the Australian government states that "Most chemicals you come across in your daily life won’t harm your baby. Usually, it’s in such a small amount that you don’t need to worry."
Therefore I think the best advice is just to avoid using anything unnecessary - for example avoid dying your hair and painting your nails whilst pregnant, or do some research into natural alternatives - it's a great time to start switching some of your products over to more natural, eco-friendly alternatives.
You could also consider switching over to more natural cleaning products, many of which are refillable (we use Spruce for our bathroom and kitchen sprays, and I know a lot of people love Smol too), and detergent too. At B&B we use Ecover laundry liquid for washing baby clothes as it we've found it to be one of the most effective products (personally I wouldn't recommend trying Eco eggs or soap nuts as the consensus seems to be that they are no more effective than plain water!).
And if you are painting your nursery space, use a low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint.
Remember that the most important thing during pregnancy is to take care of yourself - both physically and mentally, and if you are able to make some sustainable choices along the way then that's an added bonus! Don't ever feel guilty for not doing more, because just by caring, you're doing enough ♡
Are you new here? Read on to find out a little bit more about us...
Belles and Babes is a UK-based rental business specialising in sustainable maternity, baby, and nursing clothes. Founded by Emma Gillespie in 2017, the company is driven by her corporate sustainability background and has a mission to provide a more sustainable alternative for parents seeking to move away from fast fashion and reduce clothing waste.
B&B offers maternity and nursing clothes to rent as part of its capsule wardrobe service for £5 per item each month, with the option to swap items and add on extras such as a maternity coat, and also has styles available to buy new or pre-loved. Baby capsule wardrobes start from £25 a month for a personalised bundle of 18 items of sustainable organic clothing which are replaced as your baby grows.
If you are a parent seeking a sustainable alternative to fast fashion, you can find out more about our rental options by clicking the links in the menu above.