Is It Safe Using Insect Repellent During Pregnancy?

Insect Repellent

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Whenever you find an insect or blood sucking mosquitoes flying in your room, it’s natural that you grab an insect repelling spray to put an end to it. Pregnancy changes several aspects in your day to day life. You will be in a dilemma whether or not you must reach out for the spray, due to your worries on harming your baby.
Is insect repellent safe during pregnancy?

The short answer is yes. When you use insecticides, it is true that it does enter your body when you breathe and travel to your blood stream. While you are expecting, these chemicals can also access the fetus, but has very limited exposure. Don’t panic if you have used insect repellent already during your pregnancy. As no studies currently supports that insecticides have serious health effects for pregnant women.

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Insect Repellents with DEET and Pregnancy:

Most insecticides available today have a chemical named DEET, or Diethyl 3 methyl benzamide, as it is very effective in

preventing mosquitoes, mites, fleas, flies, bugs etc. Initially, many experts had raised concerns over the safety of pregnant mothers and their babies while using insect repellents with DEET. But a recent study held in Thailand has revealed that there were no serious effects caused by DEET insect repellents on expecting women.
According to the study, “DEET-based insect repellents: safety implications for children and pregnant and lactating women” conducted by Koren G, Matsui D, Bailey B in Thailand (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12900480), even if 5 or 10% of DEET is absorbed, it does not have a role in influencing the development or survival rate of the foetus. However, it is essential that you know about certain recommendations when you use an insect repellent during your pregnancy, especially in your second and third trimesters.

Minimizing the Exposure Of Insect Repellent During Pregnancy:

To ensure the safe insect repellent for pregnant women we have compiled a list of considerations:

  • Always keep the concentration levels of insect repellents below 10% while using.
  • Cover all areas of your exposed skin, by wearing full-sleeve dresses and pants before you spray insect repellent.
  • If you are using an insect repellent cream, make sure you leave only very less skin uncovered and try to spread the cream on your clothes instead of the skin, to avoid all kinds of irritation.
  • Never spray too much insecticide or slather the cream or lotion! Remember that a little is enough to do its job; if you use too much hoping that it would offer more protection, that’s not true.
  • If your skin has any open wounds or cuts, refrain from using the insecticide as it can irritate or induce an allergy in your skin.
  • Wash your hands well with soap and water, as even a small trace of these insecticides must not be ingested.
  • Move to a well-ventilated area soon after using insect repellents, to avoid any episodes of breathlessness or suffocation.

Alternatives for Insect Repellents:

The exposure to the chemicals in the insecticide is very small and would not harm you or your baby’s health. But if you are still feeling unsure, or if you consider it is better to stay safe than sorry, you can find safe alternatives to drive away the insects. They are:

  • Opting for insect repellents that have permethrin as it is much safer than the ones with DEET.
  • Using natural option like citronella oil to apply on your body, burn candles made with citronella oil or burn sticks of citronella to drive away the insects.

We hope our article helps you put your fears at rest, when it comes to insect repellents! If you know of any other natural way of getting rid of insects and bugs, please do share your tips in the section below.

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