Products to Avoid During Pregnancy

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By Charlie Fletcher

Millions of women get pregnant each year, and most know how important it is to take care of themselves during that gestational period. A balanced diet, light exercise, and getting enough rest are all encouraged for a healthy pregnancy.

Most women also recognize that there are certain things they should avoid while pregnant. Smoking and drinking are two of the most obvious habits to avoid. Unfortunately, 1 in 10 pregnant women still report alcohol use.

Aside from some of the obvious products to avoid, there are some you may not be aware of that could surprise you, including certain cleaning solutions, fragrances, beauty products, or even paint. Let’s cover a few of the products you should avoid throughout your pregnancy to keep yourself and your baby as healthy as possible.

Certain Beauty/Hair Products

When you’re pregnant, it’s important to read labels on just about everything, including things you may have already been using for years. The FDA keeps an updated list of ingredients commonly found in beauty products that pregnant women should avoid. Some of these ingredients have been linked to health defects and could put you or your baby at risk.

So, take a look at your shampoo bottles, deodorant, and other beauty products. If they have any of the following ingredients, it’s best to find another option while pregnant:

  • Retin-A
  • Retinol
  • Accutane
  • Tazorac
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Aluminum Chloride
  • Formaldehyde

For a full list of ingredients to avoid, be sure to check the FDA’s website or talk with your doctor. Sometimes, even ingredients that are thought to be natural, like essential oils, might put you or your baby at risk of health problems. CBD oil is a great example of this since it’s often used to treat aches, pains, and even stress and anxiety naturally. But, it may be harmful to use during pregnancy and cause side effects.

There are plenty of safe, natural alternatives available that you can switch to while you’re pregnant. Look for items that don’t contain these ingredients, and try to stick with things that are natural or organic. Not only will they be better for you and your baby, but you may experience other positive health improvements too. That includes things like more balanced pH levels, which can get thrown off due to hormonal changes during pregnancy.

Around the House

No one expects you to stop living your life while you’re pregnant. There are still things that will need to get done around the house, including cleaning and home improvement projects (especially as you put together a nursery for the baby!). But, there are certain household products that are better to avoid while you’re pregnant, including some cleaning supplies.

Many cleaning products make it very clear whether they’re safe to use while pregnant. A quick check of the label will make you aware of any warnings listed by the manufacturer. If there aren’t any visible warnings, it’s still a good idea to check which ingredients are used within the product itself. Some products, especially mothballs, contain a substance called naphthalene. Naphthalene can cause nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and vomiting when you’re exposed to large amounts of it.

The good news is that many cleaning products are perfectly safe to use while pregnant. However, some of the smells from certain products might lead to nausea or a headache.

If you’re working on your house while you’re pregnant, you may also want to ask someone else to do the painting for you. Or, at least make sure you’re using a paint that’s safe. Low VOC paints are generally safer because they’re made with fewer chemicals. If you really want to paint while you’re pregnant and you’ve chosen a low VOC option, use the following tips to keep your project safer for you and your baby:

  • Make sure the room is well-ventilated.
  • Keep your feet on the ground instead of using a stool/ladder.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Stop if you feel dizzy or light-headed.

Pregnancy doesn’t have to stop you from performing everyday tasks around your home, or even completing larger projects. Make sure you read labels and listen to your body.

Should You Switch to Natural Products?

You should be able to feel confident in yourself and the things you can still do while you’re pregnant. That includes sticking with your daily self-care routine or getting things done around the home.

One of the best ways to keep up your regular routine is to switch out some of your traditional products for natural ones. The fewer ingredients listed, the safer you can feel about making these simple swaps. It’s still important to be aware of what each ingredient does and how it might impact you, so don’t be afraid to do your research if you’re concerned.

If you’re still uncertain about what’s considered to be safe and what isn’t be sure to talk to your doctor, even after your baby is born. What you use and consume while breastfeeding will continue to have an impact on your newborn.