Wanting to detoxify your body while breastfeeding or pregnant?
Here’s what you need to know.
Many women come across my work after getting pregnant and send me messages asking “Can I detox while pregnant? What about detoxing while nursing?”
These moms are concerned and for good reason.
In the modern age, hundreds of thousands of manmade chemicals are in use, the majority of which have never been tested for safety. (1) Hundreds of them have been found in umbilical cords. (2) With the increase in ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnoses in children, there is more concern than ever that environmental toxins including pesticides, endocrine disruptors such as pthalates, BPA, etc are indeed harming children, even before they are born. Studies have made a link between prenatal exposure to heavy metals and other toxicants and ASD and ADHD in children, for example. (3)
Ideally, the best time to reduce heavy metal and chemical exposure in both parents is 6 months before getting pregnant. Whether you prepared your body before pregnancy or not, the fact remains that there will be additional exposure to potentially harmful substances throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding due to contaminants in our air, water, food, and overall environment.
The big question is: What can you proactively do?
Before I address this topic in depth, let’s be absolutely clear: It is generally not advised to start a detoxification program while pregnant or nursing. The reason for this is obvious, if toxicants are released into the bloodstream while detoxifying, the growing fetus could be exposed to them and their deleterious effects.
The good news is that there are ways to reduce the toxic burden to an unborn child while pregnant or nursing.
In this article, I am going to outline some strategies and provide information so you can make your own decision as to what is best for you and your baby.
I recommend a four-step process when it comes to reducing harmful substances. Please read through all the steps as they build upon one another.
Step 1: Limit Toxicant Exposure
The most important thing is to avoid toxicants as much as possible. The less there is coming into the body, the better as it reduces exposure and lessens how hard your body has to work on detoxifying. That means more energy goes toward growing a healthy baby. Even if you did this step before getting pregnant, it is important to review it.
Ways to reduce exposure:
Food: organic foods and grass fed meat – means less exposure to glyphosate and other herbicides and pesticides that wreak havoc on your body and children’s bodies. Do not store food in plastic containers.
Home: replace non-stick cookware with stainless steel, cast iron, or glass. Do not use dishware from pre-1990 due to high levels of lead in the finishing glaze. Anything with a fragrance from air fresheners to dryer sheets to scented toilet paper are chemical laden and extremely harmful to pets and children. Do not use anything with added fragrance in your home or car. In addition, essential oils are incredibly strong and harmful to pets and small children. Your home, clothing, and cleaning products don’t need a scent.
Baby: be conscious of items that you use to wash, cloth and feed your baby. Eliminate as much plastic and chemical-fulled products (e.g. baby wipes) as possible.
Personal care products: the largest exposure to harmful pthlatates from fragrance and synthetic ingredients is often through your skin. Anything that touches your skin needs to be organic and free of synthetic fragrances.
This is not an exhaustive list, rather a place to get started. More information concerning specific chemicals in food, personal care and home products can be found at ewg.org
Step 2: Open Drainage Pathways
If the drainage pathways and detoxification organs are not functioning optimally, toxicants can recycle in the body and not be eliminated. This adds to a body’s toxic burden. Cells give their waste products to the lymph to be processed by the liver and eliminated through urine, sweat, or feces out of the body. If the lymph is not circulating well this creates a back up in the system. Additionally, if you do not have 1, or ideally 2 bowel movements a day or are dehydrated, this also can contribute to detox issues.
It is a bit like driving on the highway. If there is too much traffic, then everything slows down. There is little movement on the highway and nothing can really move forward. If all traffic flow stops, it is not possible to take an exit ramp to your destination. You get the picture – it is important to keep the lymph and drainage pathways open and moving.
More information and ideas on how to support your drainage pathways can be found here.
Step 3: Minerals, minerals, minerals
Everyone can benefit by supplementing minerals these days. Minerals are foundational for all processes in the body and are helpful when it comes to for example, constipation, a common problem during pregnancy. Unfortunately, modern agriculture has led to mineral depleted soils – even if you eat 100% organic food. By taking a high-quality prenatal, you are might be getting enough to meet basic mineral needs, but not necessarily enough to support elimination of toxicants. Increasing minerals using a high-quality fulvic acid is my favorite mineral supplement. This formulation is tested for heavy metals and quality and has bio-available minerals for easy absorption. Take two drops in water and slowly work up to one dropper full.
Hydration can be supported by basic mineral cocktails. Here is an example.
Step 4: Binders
Heavy metal-, parasite, and mold detox protocols are absolutely contraindicated during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. What I am suggesting here is not an active detox, rather a way to bind toxicants that are in the body so they can be eliminated and not passed on to your child during pregnancy or through breast milk.
There are many binders available but are not suitable for non-detox purposes. These two are have research behind them and can be combined:
Zeolite is a volcanic mineral that contains “cages” that trap heavy metals. Zeolite comes in natural and synthetic forms and works as a binder. [ 4-8] Natural zeolite, specifically in the form of clinoptilolite is inert and has received GRAS status (generally regarded as safe). Consider using this liquid form as it does not concentrate in the gut as regular formulated zeolite does which potentially can lead to die-off and detox reactions.
Chlorella is a fresh-water green algae that contains various nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll. Chlorella can act as a binder in the body and a study in Japan showed that mothers consuming chlorella reduced dioxin, a known toxin, in their breastmilk. [ 11 – 12]
Additionally, chlorella has been recommended to pregnant and nursing mothers as an effective binder for decades. Chlorella comes in two forms chlorella vulgaris and chlorella pyrenoidosa. Chlorella pyrenoidosa is a more effective binder but can lead to constipation in some. Quality is everything when it comes to your supplements e.g. prenatals (never with folic acid, or iron, only methyl-folate), fulvic acid, zeolite and chlorella. Please choose your chlorella wisely. Begin by taking half the recommended dose as given on the bottle. Increase slowly over time. Dr Klinghardt, renowned MD and detoxification expert, has recommended that nursing mothers take chlorella to the point of having a touch of green in their breastmilk. That way babies receive the benefit of a bit of chlorella as a binder, too. [ 13]
Please note: Chlorella contains Vitamin K which might interfere with blood thinners (e.g. Warafin). Please refer to your physician with any questions. 
As with anything you read online, please use your discretion and do your own research. As previously mentioned, be sure to keep your lymph moving, maintain 2 bowel movements a day and stay hydrated while reducing your exposure to toxicants. Get plenty of rest and learn to relax and enjoy this phase of life. Wishing you so much love, dear mama!
DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog are for educational purposes only. Please do your own research and consult your doctor or professional healthcare provider with any questions or concerns. Information on this website is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any ailment. Please refrain from contact me personally with questions as I cannot advise you. Thank you.
WHO and Bergman, et. al, “UN Report State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, 2012”
Al-Gubory KH. Environmental pollutants and lifestyle factors induce oxidative stress and poor prenatal development. Reprod Biomed Online. 2014 Jul;29(1):17-31. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2014.03.002. Epub 2014 Mar 21. PMID: 24813750.
Skogheim TS, Weyde KVF, Engel SM, Aase H, Surén P, Øie MG, Biele G, Reichborn-Kjennerud T, Caspersen IH, Hornig M, Haug LS, Villanger GD. Metal and essential element concentrations during pregnancy and associations with autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children. Environ Int. 2021 Jul;152:106468. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106468. Epub 2021 Mar 22. PMID: 33765546.
Dolanc I, Ferhatović Hamzić L, Orct T, Micek V, Šunić I, Jonjić A, Jurasović J, Missoni S, Čoklo M, Pavelić SK. The Impact of Long-Term Clinoptilolite Administration on the Concentration Profile of Metals in Rodent Organisms. Biology. 2023; 12(2):193. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12020193
Pavelic, K.; Hadzija, M. Medical applications of zeolites. In Handbook of Zeolite Science and Technology; Dekker: New York, NY, USA, 2003; pp. 1143–1174.
Mastinu, A.; Kumar, A.; Maccarinelli, G.; Bonini, S.A.; Premoli, M.; Aria, F.; Gianoncelli, A.; Memo, M. Zeolite Clinoptilolite: Therapeutic Virtues of an Ancient Mineral. Molecules 2019, 24, 1517.
Kraljević Pavelić, S.; Saftić Martinović, L.; Simović Medica, J.; Žuvić, M.; Perdija, Ž.; Krpan, D.; Eisenwagen, S.; Orct, T.; Pavelic, K. Clinical Evaluation of a Defined Zeolite-Clinoptilolite Supplementation Effect on the Selected Blood Parameters of Patients. Front. Med. 2022, 9, 851782
Laurino, C.; Palmieri, B. Zeolite: The Magic Stone; Main Nutritional, Environmental, Experimental and Clinical Fields of Application. Nutr. Hosp. 2015, 32, 573–581
Panahi Y, Darvishi B, Jowzi N, Beiraghdar F, Sahebkar A. Chlorella vulgaris: A Multifunctional Dietary Supplement with Diverse Medicinal Properties. Curr Pharm Des. 2016;22(2):164-73. doi: 10.2174/1381612822666151112145226. PMID: 26561078.
Bito T, Okumura E, Fujishima M, Watanabe F. Potential of Chlorella as a Dietary Supplement to Promote Human Health. Nutrients. 2020 Aug 20;12(9):2524. doi: 10.3390/nu12092524. PMID: 32825362; PMCID: PMC7551956.
Nakano S, Takekoshi H, Nakano M. Chlorella (Chlorella pyrenoidosa) supplementation decreases dioxin and increases immunoglobulin a concentrations in breast milk. J Med Food. 2007 Mar;10(1):134-42. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2006.023. PMID: 17472477.
Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; 2006.
Lane, Anne Private notes from Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt’s Webinar with Q/A, February 2023