According to research from Binghamton University and the State University of New York, any amount of exposure to alcohol in a pregnant woman could have an incredibly lasting effect on the child. It also doesn’t matter if you apply it on your hand, on your belly or if you inhale the alcohol. It is not safe for your baby and might cause developmental and cognitive disabilities in children and other birth defects.
What products should you not use when pregnant?
You wouldn’t know how many harmful chemicals we use daily until you monitor what goes into your skin or your body.
I believe that I speak for most moms when I say that once you know that you are pregnant, you start to be extra careful with everything that would affect you and your baby.
The food you eat is top of that list, how much and what type of food you eat. The same goes for the products that you use every day.
We made a list to help you look out for the things you should watch out for when you are pregnant, ingredients that are not safe for your baby’s development inside your womb, and the possible effect it might cause.
Five household products to avoid
- Pesticides and herbicides – These are chemicals used to destroy or control weeds (herbicides), insect pests (insecticides), rodent pests (rodenticides), or fungi (fungicides). Reports have shown that pesticides have been linked in human studies with problems including miscarriages, birth defects, and learning or developmental disabilities in children. It could also be passed down to your breast milk, so it is better to stay away from these products while pregnant and breastfeeding.
- Paint and lead-based products – If you’ve been exposed to lead over a long time or have a high level of lead in your blood, the lead stored in your bones can be released into the blood during pregnancy. This means that the level of lead in your blood can start to increase during pregnancy which could cause a risk of miscarriage, could affect the baby’s brain, kidneys, and nervous system, and can even have a chance for the child to have learning or behavior problems.
- Mercury – Very high doses of total mercury in pregnancy have a harmful effect on the development of offspring, with increased risks of cerebral palsy and cognitive impairment. But eating seafood will not be harmful to either the mother or the baby, according to research conducted last 2018: “There was no evidence of harm associated with the level of total mercury, provided the mother ate fish during pregnancy.”
- Cleaning products – Not all but also not limited to paint, paint removers, and oven and aerosol cleaners are just some of the cleaning products that you might want to be careful with while you are pregnant to avoid any complications for your baby. Ingredients that are especially harmful are alcohol, ammonia, chlorine, glycol and glycol-ethylene, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), acrylic polymers, and terpenes.
- Asbestos – Based on a study that was conducted with women and girls that was exposed to crocidolite (blue asbestos) at Wittenoom, the report stated that asbestos fibers had been found in the lung, ovary, and pleural and peritoneal mesothelium of women, asbestos fibers have also been detected in the placental digests of both live and stillborn infants. While these findings only state the possibility of asbestos’s harmful effects, the fact that asbestos fibers have been found in the placental digests of both live and stillborn infants is enough to cause extreme concern.
Seven skincare products to avoid
- Retinoids – These are retinoid subtypes derived from vitamin A which are sold over the counter as an ingredient in skin creams, gels, serums, lotions, and more. Even though retinol is mainly applied on the skin, it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and may contribute to vitamin A toxicity. In addition, it’s not fully understood how much vitamin A a developing fetus needs or at what point this essential nutrient becomes harmful. Therefore, most doctors recommend eliminating retinol products during pregnancy for this reason.
- Hydroquinone – this works as a skin lightening agent for skincare products, so it is commonly present in most brightening beauty products. The FDA placed it in pregnancy category C, meaning that reproductive studies done on animals have shown to have adverse side effects on the fetus, but there’s a lack of well-controlled studies in the human population. Keeping in mind that the primary use of Hydroquinone is cosmetic, with no medical indication, it’s usually advised to avoid it during pregnancy due to the potential risks.
- Formaldehyde – Is closely related to formalin and glutaraldehyde. It’s an organic chemical usually used in a water solution as a preservative and disinfectant. Reasons to be concerned are because it is known to cause cancer, it could also increase your chances of having fertility problems or a miscarriage, and even enter your breastmilk.
- Phthalates – Exposure to four of the 11 phthalates found in pregnant women was associated with a 14-16% greater probability of having a preterm birth. The most consistent findings were for exposure to a phthalate that is commonly used in personal care products like nail polish and cosmetics.
- Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide – This is a common ingredient for acne treatment products in cosmetics due to its anti-inflammatory capabilities. Small doses are generally safe for pregnant women, but since available products are usually applied to the skin, they could be absorbed and enter a mother’s bloodstream, which would have a direct effect on the baby. Therefore, it would be best to talk to your doctor before using a product with this substance.
- Chemical Sunscreens – As your pregnancy progresses, your skin sensitivity will also increase. It is encouraged to use sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage, but you might want to use sunscreen brands with the ingredient oxybenzone. You might want to look for a sunscreen that uses zinc oxide instead to be safe for your baby.
- Parabens – They tend to have chemical stability and non-volatile and antibacterial properties. So they are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, personal care products, food, and some medicines. According to a 2016 study in the Journal of Chemistry, prenatal exposure to BPA (a type of paraben) has been linked to a host of pregnancy and childhood issues, including miscarriage, low birth weight, obesity, impaired fetal growth, and behavioral problems.
Does rubbing alcohol absorb into the skin?
Yes, extended exposure to rubbing alcohol can cause the skin to absorb the alcohol, which can lead to toxicity in both children and adults.
I know that it looks like a lot of things to avoid, and it is, but ultimately you have to make sure that everything that you intake or apply to your body is healthy, preferably organic and chemical free, but we all know how close to impossible that would be.
If in doubt, consult your local healthcare provider to ensure safety for both yourself and your baby.