We are exposed to chemicals and toxins on the daily. From cleaning products, to paint, and even our skin care. Usually at low dosages these don’t cause us any harm. When you become pregnant though, these chemicals and toxins can cause harm to your baby if you aren’t careful. Exposing your unborn child to some of these chemicals and toxins can increase the risk of them developing a congenital disorder. A congenital disorder is a condition that is present at the time of birth. The most common of these are cleft lip, congenital heart disease, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, and spina bifida.

Chemicals or toxins can be absorbed through the skin, breathed, or swallowed. Any of these ways can pass from you to your baby through the placenta. While pregnant it is important to try and stay clear of some of these chemicals and toxins to decrease chance of congenital disorders, or miscarriage in some cases.


Around The Home

Your house has some things you will want to stay clear of while pregnant. Pesticides and herbicides should be avoided. Wear gloves, a long sleeved shirt, and pants if you have to handle them.

Paint that is not low odor should also be avoided.

Mosquito repellant that has strong chemicals such as DEET.

Mercury should be avoided.

Asbestos, and lead based products should also be avoided. Try not to renovate if possible while pregnant.

Nail polish that contains formaldehyde is also something to stay clear of. Though some of these may not be completely avoidable, small amounts should not be harmful to your baby.

If you are worried, reach out to your doctor. Ways to try and stay safe while pregnant is to avoid exposure as much as possible. Read instructions on how to handle the chemicals or products and read instructions on how to store these chemicals safely. Find alternate cleaning products that don’t contain too many chemicals. Switch to using baking soda and vinegar for cleaning, or clean cleaning products.

Wash your hands regularly. If you have to paint, or use a strong smelling cleaning product such as bleach, make sure your house is well ventilated. You can do this by opening up some windows in the rooms you are cleaning.

Not only are there home chemicals you need to be wary of while pregnant, but your skin care routine may need some switching up. There are a handful of skin care ingredients you will want to steer clear of while pregnant.


Health & Beauty

Retinoids are an ingredient that you will want to stop using while pregnant. Your body absorbs Vitamin A and converts it into retinol. Vitamin A is important for optimal skin, immune, reproductive, and eye health. But skipping vitamin A derivatives is the healthiest option while pregnant. Skin care that may contain retinoids are anti-aging skin products. Usually over the counter products have low amounts of retinoids. Prescriptions such as Retin-A or Accutane have a much higher dose. Accutane has shown causing 20-35% more chance of congenital disorders in children who have been exposed to it. It is suggested that if you are thinking of getting pregnant to stop taking Accutane at least two months before becoming pregnant.

The next ingredient to eliminate from your skin care is high dose Salicylic acid. This is usually found in treatments for acne. It can be in peel or oral form. Some over the counter products may not have enough to be harmful, but may be easier to just eliminate until after you become pregnant.

Hydroquinone is a prescription product. It is used to lighten the skin and reduce skin pigmentation. The body has a tendency to absorb more of this product than others, increasing the chance to absorb some into your baby.

Phthalates are an endocrine disrupting chemical. One of the most common found in skincare is diethyl phthalate. These can be found in both beauty and personal products.

Chemical sunscreens should also be steered clear of while pregnant. Opt for a more clean, less chemical sunscreen when needed. Otherwise try to stay in the shade and out of the sun as much as possible while pregnant.

Essential oils should also be avoided while pregnant. Essential oils don’t have to be cleared by the FDA. Some essential oils have been linked to premature contractions. Speak with your doctor if you want to use essential oils, to make sure they are safe for you and your baby.

Hair dye, parabens and Aluminum Chloride which is found in antiperspirants should all be avoided as well.


It seems like a lot to try and avoid while pregnant. You may find out that your products you are using already don’t have these ingredients in them. Many beauty and health products have been switching to paraben, and phthalate free after research on them being carcinogens. If you do come in contact with any of these chemicals or toxins while pregnant call your doctor to see how they want you to proceed.




Switching to baking soda and vinegar are good ways to stay safe for mom and baby when cleaning.

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