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Using Household Chemicals During Pregnancy

Is it Safe to Use Household Chemicals During Pregnancy?

Some household cleaners and chemicals are safe to use during pregnancy while others are not. Chemicals like ammonia and chlorine might cause nausea because of the smell, but they're not toxic, says the March of Dimes. Others — such as some paints, paint thinners, oven cleaners, varnish removers, air fresheners, aerosols, carpet cleaners, etc. — might be hazardous.

Are There Any Risks to a Baby?

It depends on the product. Some household chemicals may have no effect during pregnancy, while others in high doses could be harmful.

What Else Should I Know?

Here a few tips to use household chemicals safely during pregnancy:

  • Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have with chemicals you use at home or at work.
  • Look at product labels before using any product. If it's unsafe to use during pregnancy, the label should say that it's toxic. Find out not only if it's safe for you to use, but if it's safe for you to be around when someone else uses it. If the label doesn't specify, contact the manufacturer.
  • Open windows and doors, and wear rubber gloves and a mask when cleaning with or using any chemical.
  • Wash your hands and arms, even if you wore gloves, after using any chemical.
  • Choose natural products like baking soda, borax, and vinegar for cleaning.
  • Have someone else paint the baby's nursery, as much you might want to do it yourself. And don't help with paint removal if your home was built before 1978 as it may contain lead-based paint. Many paints today are considered safer than those of the past, but it's still a good idea to let someone else do the painting. You can always take over the decorating duties after the paint dries.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date Reviewed: Jan 1, 2023

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