Household Toxins To Avoid During Pregnancy

2 min read

Ananya Bhattacharjee
Writer. Musician. Mother. Reading, music and travelling are all time favourites. Been into ‘writing’ from the last 10 years and have become an everlasting love since I started.

Pregnancy Tips 101: We are all surrounded by chemicals and toxins, be it in the atmosphere, on the road or at home. Every day we use and come in touch with a toxin in the house and outside. When a woman gets pregnant, she is advised to skip alcohol or smoke to avoid any chances of congenital disabilities, miscarriage or stillbirth. Additionally, there are many chemicals and products we use in everyday life, which are toxins for pregnant mother and should be avoided as much as possible. 

Though exposure to chemicals and certain household products in small quantities doesn’t cause much harm, if the exposure is in large amounts, it may lead to congenital disorders for the baby. The toxins in the household products would enter the mother’s bloodstream and pass onto the baby through the placenta. Some of these household toxins are: 

Pesticides and Herbicides: A big no in pregnancy

These sprays and medicines affect the pregnant mother and developing foetus. The expecting mother must stay far away from these two medicinal household chemicals. If spraying pesticide or insecticide is necessary, assign the work to someone else or ask a pest control professional to do it.

Cleaning Products 

Though the majority of cleaning products and essentials are safe, there are certain household chemicals which develops wheezing in newborn babies. It is essential to wear gloves and protection mask and avoid breathing in the fumes gushing out of ovens and cleaners.


Avoid any solvent-based paints and old paintwork essentials as they contain traces of lead. Instead, choose a water-based colour for your home and use a paint brush or roller rather than a spray to paint the house. Ventilate the room well when you paint or better ask someone else to do it.

Mosquito Repellent 

Mosquito repellents contain traces of Picaridin or DEET, which is harmful to the pregnant mother. It is essential to avoid mosquitoes by putting in fly screens or adorning to other effective ways of repelling mosquitoes at home.


Mercury causes brain deformities, hearing and vision impurities in a developing baby. As such, the mother must stay far away from it. There are fish like shark, marlin and swordfish which contain mercury. Pregnant women should not take these species of fish, and if necessary, eat once a fortnight. If you require a dental filling, opt for dental filling methods that don’t include mercury.

Arsenic-treated Timber 

Wood is often treated with elements like copper, chromium or arsenic. This prevents the wood from rotting, forming fungi and termites. Arsenic is the root cause of certain cancers, diabetes miscarriage, as well as stillbirth cases. It is essential not to use arsenic-treated timber and wood and always wash hands properly if you have to handle it.

Nail Polish 


Nail polish and certain cosmetic products contain a chemical- Formaldehyde – which causes skin irritation. It is essential to limit the exposure to this chemical to form skin issues in the pregnant mother.


Asbestos causes lung diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma. The pregnant mother should avoid coming in contact with asbestos for her safety.


This chemical is found in plastics and can easily pass from the mother to her developing foetus in the womb. This chemical causes brain and behavioural issues in children


Mothballs consist of the chemical naphthalene. This chemical causes nausea, dizziness and vomiting in people and also can cause serious health issues for children. Parents mustn’t use mothballs at all-around children under three years.

How to avoid exposure to household toxins:

  1. Store chemicals and household toxins safely, out of the reach of children.
  2. Strictly follow the instructions of the packaging carefully- be t regarding storage, use or discard.
  3. Find alternatives to household toxins.
  4. Wash hands regularly and adequately.
  5. Try to not renovate during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  6. Keep the house well ventilated.

If exposure to any household toxin or chemical occurs, don’t panic. Consult the doctor, take precautions, enjoy a healthy pregnancy. And always keep in mind, it is long-term exposure to toxins and chemicals that cause harm to the baby. A one-off exposure to them is unlikely to bring any damage.

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