5 Harmful Chemicals You Need To Avoid During Pregnancy

4 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Pregnancy is a delicate phase in a woman’s life where she needs to be extremely careful even while undertaking day-to-day activities to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a normal healthy baby. You may not realize, but there are many chemicals that you come in contact with every day, from cleaning supplies to pesticides. Find out some harmful chemicals you need to avoid during pregnancy.

As a pregnant woman, you might be concerned about their effect on your health and the health of your unborn baby. Some of these chemicals have been proven to cause neurological damage and birth anomalies in fetuses. So when you are pregnant, you need to avoid all the harmful substances as it can harm the baby growing inside you. Even mild exposure to daily chemicals can cause abnormal growth or birth anomalies.

In This Article

How Can Chemical Exposure Occur?

You can get exposed to chemicals in various ways. It can either occur by inhaling chemicals or ingesting them in foods or drinks. It can also get absorbed through the skin pores. No matter how it enters your body, there is no doubt that certain chemicals can cause adverse effects on both you and the baby growing inside you.

Five Harmful Chemicals During Pregnancy

Not all chemicals can cause you harm. Its just exposure to some of them, which may turn out to be risky. Given below are five harmful chemicals you need to avoid during pregnancy.

1. Paint


Once you realize you are pregnant, you feel the urge to revamp your home and get ready to welcome the new baby to your home. And one thing that you may feel like doing is painting and getting the nursery ready for your baby. However, you have to steer clear of the below-mentioned substances:

  • Spray paints
  • Oil-based paint
  • Polyurethane finishes for floors
  • Turpentine
  • Paint removing liquids

All these contain harmful chemicals that can harm the little life growing inside you. And if you feel you need to paint, pick out paints that have a water base and make sure you brush the paint or roll it rather than spray paint it. Ensure the room is well-ventilated while doing the job. And remember to wear a face mask and long-sleeved clothes while painting.

2. Lead


Lead is another chemical that you need to completely avoid during pregnancy. The common places where you can get exposed to lead include:

  • Drinking water that has traces of lead. Lead leaks into the water if your pipe has a leak. Suppose you reside in an old apartment, there may be plenty of lead pipes in your building and the best solution is to let some water run out before you fill your kettle or glass. You could also make use of a water filter to purify the water of all such impurities. You can get in touch with the health department nearest to you and request them to evaluate the safety levels of your drinking water.
  • Art and craft: Hobbies like jewelry making, ceramics, stained glass painting, and glass blowing.
  • Removal of old paint when revamping your home: Old paints have traces of lead content in them.

Adverse Effects of Lead

Overexposure to lead can cause adverse effects. including premature delivery, low birth weight, abortions and even developmental disorders in your baby. It can also adversely affect the little one’s behavioral and learning development in extreme cases

3. Mercury

mercury content in fish

Yet another chemical that you need to steer clear of during your pregnancy period. You can get exposed to mercury when you eat contaminated fish. It has been proven that high contents of mercury have been found in fish like sharks, marlin, and swordfish.

It is advised to not eat these fish during the pregnancy period and concentrate on tuna and similar types that have been found to be safe and contain no mercury. Mercury can affect the brain and nervous system development of your unborn baby. It can also affect the speech and vision of your baby

4. Arsenic


Arsenic is one of the top harmful chemicals you need to avoid during pregnancy. Exposure to this chemical can cause stillbirth and even abortions. Almost all wooden outdoor structures are normally treated with a preservative that has strong traces of an arsenic base.

These include playsets, decks, and picnic tables. So you need to ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly each time you come in contact with these furniture items and also cover your picnic tables with a plastic cover before you dine on them

5. Pesticides


Overexposure to pesticides can harm the baby growing inside you. So ensure you do not get yourself exposed to any of these pesticides during your pregnancy period. It is said that pesticides do the same amount of harm as smoking during pregnancy.

Follow these tips if you must use these pesticides:

      • Adorn rubber gloves if you are gardening so that your skin is not in direct contact with the soil
      • Suppose pesticides are being sprayed outside, ensure you close all doors and windows and even switch off the air conditioner to prevent yourself from inhaling fumes
      • If some pesticides are being sprayed inside your home, take care to remove all utensils, food items, and dishes before it is sprayed. And wash all utensils and surfaces where you prepare food thoroughly before you start using them
Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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