All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Parents > Q&A > Pregnancy and Infants > Can I Use Bug Killers and Repellents During Pregnancy?
Can I Use Bug Killers and Repellents During Pregnancy?

We live in the South, where insects are a major problem. But now that I’m pregnant, I’m afraid to use any kind of bug killer or repellent. Are some OK?
- Rhonda

Pesticides are considered poisons and pregnant women should stay away from them as much as possible. Exposure may cause miscarriage, premature delivery, and birth defects. You can use safer methods of removal such as boric acid, which you should be able to find at your local hardware store.

As for insect repellents (which may contain DEET, or N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), the risks aren't fully known. So far, studies have not proven that DEET poses a health hazard to unborn babies, but some of the chemical may reach the baby. Some health care providers advise pregnant women to use insect repellents, including those containing DEET, because they help to reduce exposure to mosquito bites that may carry potentially serious viruses. If you use a repellent, do not use more than you need to, and wash it off when you get indoors.

Other, non-repellent precautions you can take against insect bites include:

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012

Related Articles
P    Bug Bites and Stings
P    How Can I Protect My Family From Ticks?
P    Pregnancy & Newborn Center
P    Pregnancy Precautions: FAQs
P    West Nile Virus
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
Employment
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor
News
CME

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2014 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved