Can I Use Bug Killers and Repellents During Pregnancy?
We live where insects are a major problem. But now that I'm pregnant, I'm afraid
to use any kind of bug killer or repellent. Are some OK? – Rhonda
Pesticides are considered poisons and pregnant women should stay away from them
as much as possible. Exposure may cause miscarriage, premature delivery, and birth
defects. You can use safer methods of removal such as boric acid, which you should
be able to find at your local hardware store.
As for insect repellents (which may contain DEET, or N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide),
the risks aren't fully known. So far, studies have not proved that DEET poses a health
hazard to unborn babies, but some of the chemical may reach the baby. Some health
care providers advise pregnant women to use insect repellents, including those containing
DEET, because they help to reduce exposure to mosquito bites that may carry potentially
serious viruses. If you use a repellent, do not use more than you need to, and wash
it off when you get indoors.
Other, non-repellent precautions you can take against insect bites include:
Avoid going outdoors when insects such as mosquitoes are most actively biting
(usually dusk and dawn).
Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors to reduce the amount of exposed skin
that insects can bite.
Keep doors and windows closed or with tight-fitting screens with no holes where
insects can enter the house.