What should I avoid during my pregnancy?

As much fun as skydiving, and raw eggs, and industrial-grade pesticides are, unfortunately during pregnancy we have to cut out some of these items and activities in order to help baby grow as healthfully as possible. Check out our list of products to avoid during pregnancy.

    • Expensive bath products: High-end bath products may contain chemicals that aggravate the skin and cause allergic reactions. Your skin will be troubled enough during pregnancy, so stick to the economical brands.
    • Safe alternative: Bath products designed for babies are usually gentler on the skin, and do not contain harmful chemicals.
    • Skin whitening: Skin whitening should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy, as it increases the risk of sun exposure, something expectant moms cannot afford. Hydroquinone can also cause cancer and hinder fetal development.
    • Safe alternative: There’s really no alternative to skin whitening during pregnancy, and it should be put off at least until you are no longer breastfeeding
    • Chemical hair removal: Hair removal products contain thioglycolic acid–its effects on pregnant women and their babies are unknown, so doctors recommend that you avoid chemical hair removal products while you are pregnant.
    • Safe alternative: What’s wrong with the natural way? Plucking, shaving, and even waxing are all safe ways to remove unwanted hair during pregnancy.
    • Heavy fragrances: Your nose will be more sensitive while you are pregnant, so avoiding overly powerful scents might be a good idea. Heavy fragrances may also contain toxic phthalates, which can disturb fetal development.
    • Safe alternative: Doctors suggest using less intense, natural perfumes and fragrances rather than the irritating, heavily chemical ones. You’ll still smell great, and it won’t upset your nose!
    • Sticky or stinky beauty products: Any product with an overly chemical smell should be avoided, as there are a number of toxins and irritants they could contain.
    • Safe alternative: Natural scents are preferable for pregnant women because they don’t contain as many airborne, irritating chemicals as the stickier and stinkier products.
    • Prescription acne medications: Acne is a common symptom of pregnancy, but you should not treat it with harsh chemicals. Accutane, and products containing tetracycline, are known to cause miscarriage, birth defects, or stunted development.
    • Safe alternative: Gently washing your face with an oil-free wash on a daily basis can help treat and prevent acne, even when caused by pregnancy. Refraining from picking, scratching, or excessively touching your face could also help prevent acne.
    • Tattoos: Even if you’re an ink addict, it’s best to avoid getting new tattoos while pregnant, as doctors aren’t totally sure what effects ink might have on baby.
    • Safe alternative: Although getting permanent tattoos is discouraged during pregnancy, getting henna tattoos, which usually last a few weeks, is perfectly safe. They are completely safe to get while pregnant, so long as the ink is not black.
    • Hair care: Pregnant women should avoid getting too involved in their hair care, due to the possible risk posed by chemicals in salon products. If abstaining from hair care is not an option, make sure you’re using non-toxic substances.
    • Safe alternative: It’s super important to get your hair done in a well-ventilated space and wash the chemicals off of your hair as quickly as possible to reduce your risk of sinking into your bloodstream.
    • Bug spray: Some bug spray contains the chemical (DEET), and its effects can lead to many pregnancy complications. Bug spray can be used while pregnant, but follow the directions to a tee, and stop applying the spray if it irritates any part of your body.
    • Safe alternative: Non-chemical insect repellents like special lights and candles can help ward off annoying bugs without the harmful chemicals found in bug spray. Insect repellant that doesn’t involve aerosols is probably your best bet
    • Lead products: Lead products can be extremely poisonous, and should be avoided while you’re pregnant. Stunted fetal development and premature birth are just two of many possible effects of lead poisoning during pregnancy.
    • Safe alternative: It’s definitely a good idea to avoid everything made from lead while pregnant–look for safer, less poisonous metal products.
    • Hair dyes: Although hair dyes can frequently contain some unsavory chemicals, the amount of pollutant actually absorbed into the body is extremely low, so hair dying during pregnancy is usually perfectly safe.
    • Safe alternative: Moms-to-be might want to opt for vegetable dyes, wear gloves, and maintain proper ventilation when coloring their hair, to keep your hair vibrant, safely.
    • Electric blankets: Using electric blankets can result in overheating that causes fetal cell damage, so they should be avoided, or at least used in moderation and set to a reasonable temperature during pregnancy.
    • Safe alternative: When using an electric blanket while pregnant, it might be a good idea to heat the blanket up before getting in bed, and unplugging it once in bed so it will cool down throughout the night and prevent you from overheating.
    • Pesticides: Pesticides contain various chemicals that damage the nervous system, so it is very important to avoid exposure to these substances when you are pregnant, as the chemicals could irreparably damage your baby’s developing neural tube.
    • Safe alternative: A combination of hot water, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar is an effective, pregnancy-safe way to keep your garden bug-free.
    • Botox: Pregnant moms are highly discouraged from using Botox, a localized bacterial injection known for its anti-aging effects, as the bacteria’s ability to infect breastmilk and baby is not well known.
    • Safe alternative: Skin gets super gorgeous during pregnancy – ever hear of “pregnancy glow”? There’s no safe alternative for Botox, but there’s really no need for one!
    • Fertilizers: Chemical-based fertilizers may contain toxins that could lead to stunted development or miscarriage, so when pregnant, it is wise to handle only natural fertilizers.
    • Safe alternative: Moms-to-be should only use explicitly marked natural fertilizers for their gardening needs.
    • Paint: Many paints contain glycol ethers, a group of chemicals that act as solvents and range in toxicity. Ethylene glycol can lead to a host of developmental problems for your baby, so make sure the paint you are using contains safe compounds.
    • Safe alternative: Painting is usually okay, but you should make sure that your particular brand of paint does not contain glycol ethers.
    • Paint thinners: Many paint thinners emit fumes that have not been tested on pregnant women, so the effects are unknown. They could also factor in to allergic reactions or irritate the skin.
    • Safe alternative: Water-based paint thinners are a safe alternative and shouldn’t be as irritating.
    • Industrial cleaning products: Many industrial cleaning products contain toxins whose effects on pregnant women are not well known enough to approve their use.
    • Safe alternative: There are lots of safe alternatives, like natural cleaning products, that are less likely to cause harmful side effects.
    • Overly tight clothing: Pregnant women should not wear clothing that is too tight, as these items could restrict blood flow, increase swelling, and possibly reduce nutrient distribution to your baby.
    • Safe alternative: Wearing loose clothing should help keep you comfortable, and safe.
    • Tampons: In rare cases, tampons have been known to create infections that can lead to miscarriage in pregnant women. You should use pads instead of tampons to deal with spotting or bleeding.
    • Safe alternative: Pregnant women do not get their periods, but panty liners are safe to help deal with discharge.

What would you add to this list?