Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

Using Bug Killers and Repellents During Pregnancy

Can I Use Bug Sprays During Pregnancy?

Some, yes; others, no. Bug sprays can include pesticides, insecticides, and repellents:

  • A pesticide is a broad term for all substances that kill or repel any pest.
  • An insecticide is a type of pesticide that specifically kills insects.
  • A repellent doesn’t kill insects but does help keep them away from people.

Some pesticides can harm a growing fetus. But many insect repellents are considered safe to use during pregnancy. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has studied their effectiveness and safety, and recommends using a repellent with one of these active ingredients:

  • DEET
  • picaridin
  • IR3535
  • oil of lemon eucalyptus
  • para-menthane-diol

Generally, health care providers advise pregnant women to use EPA-recommended insect repellents because they help protect against bites from mosquitoes that may carry serious viruses. If you use a repellent, do not use more than you need to, and wash it off when you get indoors.

What Else Can Help Prevent Bug Bites?

Other ways to protect against insect bites:

  • 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 so insects can't enter the house.

Tips to Minimize Your Pesticide Exposure

If you must work with pesticides or your home or garden must be treated, try to reduce your exposure to the chemicals. You can:

  • Ask someone else to apply them.
  • If pesticides are sprayed outside:
    • Close all windows and turn off air-conditioning units and window fans to prevent the fumes from entering your home.
    • Wear rubber gloves when gardening outside where pesticides have been used.
    • Have your water supply tested regularly if you have well water and use pesticides, fertilizers, or weed killers.
  • If pesticides are used indoors:
    • Remove utensils, food, and dishes from areas where the chemicals will be used.
    • Stay away from the treated area during the application and after it's finished for as long as specified on the product label.
    • After use, have someone else wash any treated area where food is prepared or served.

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

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.