Staying Safe with Household Products While Pregnant

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While the household chores don’t stop when you’re pregnant, it pays to be safe while keeping your home in order.



Dr Tracey Woodruff, associate professor and director of the programme on Reproductive Health and the Environment at the University of California, San Francisco, explains which products women should be wary of during their pregnancy on


Cleaning Products


Most cleaning products are safe to use during pregnancy – provided you use them carefully. Always clean in well-ventilated areas with windows and doors open, wear rubber gloves, and never mix cleaning products such as ammonia and bleach because the smell can make you sick. Avoid using the oven cleaner as it can be dangerous to breathe in the fumes, especially in the enclosed area of your oven.


Pesticides and Insect Repellent


The chances of you being exposed to enough pesticides to harm your baby are probably slim unless you work on a farm. As pesticides could affect a baby's developing brain and nervous system, it's better to avoid spraying them into the air. If you need to get rid of insects, use insect baits and traps instead.



Many insect repellents contain strong chemicals that damage the

nervous systems of insects and cause them to die.

Since your baby’s nervous system grows rapidly during the first trimester,

some experts suggest that you avoid using any bug sprays during that time.



DEET is a chemical that’s found in most brands of insect repellent. Most studies found that DEET didn’t lead to a higher risk of birth defects. Still, more research needs to be done. Therefore, it may be wise to avoid DEET products too. 


Food Storage


For convenience, canned foods might be quick and cheap, but beware they are often lined with bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical found in plastics, which can leach into food. There may not be enough research to ascertain what effect this might have on developing babies but it's better to stay safe and avoid canned food during pregnancy.


Cat’s Litter Box


Get someone else to clean your cat’s litter box instead. Cat faeces contain the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause a serious blood infection, toxoplasmosis. If you get toxoplasmosis when you're pregnant, it's possible you could get sick and pass the illness to your baby. If a baby catches toxoplasmosis in the early stages of pregnancy, it can cause serious birth defects, such as eye and brain damage.


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