Is it safe to use insect repellent while i’m pregnant? |Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula
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Is it safe to use insect repellent while I’m pregnant?

Is it safe to use insect repellent while I’m pregnant?

by: Dr. Surinder Kaur Gambhir
Sr. Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynecology Paras Bliss, Panchkula

During pregnancy certain types of insects’ repellents are safe both for mother and baby. You should check the product description before purchasing about its safety instructions. This is also a smart way to get protection against Zika and other mosquito borne illnesses.

Mosquitoes tend to get more attracted towards pregnant females

It is shown in studies also that mosquitoes get twice more attracted toward pregnant female than non pregnant ones. This happens because the mosquitoes are fond of carbon dioxide and pregnant women tends to take more frequent breaths, exhaling about 21% more air therefore exhale more carbon dioxide.

Another reason why mosquitoes are more attracted towards pregnant females is higher body temperature. During pregnancy women have high bloody temperature as compared to non pregnant women. Due to rise in the body heat the more volatile substances are expelled from the body, which makes them easier for mosquitoes to find. In case pregnant women, if you are travelling to insect borne diseases area then you should carry insect repellent along with you. You should not use repellent more than required and always wash it off when you get indoors.

Be informed about the ingredients in the mosquito repellents:

DEET, Picaridin, 2-Undecanone or IR3535 are the active ingredients in insect repellent that offer safe and longer protection. Apart from these products which are safe are oil of lemon and eucalyptus but they do not last longer. EPA registered citronella products are safe but do not last longer.

Permethrin is a type of repellent which is not safe to use on skin. They are best suited for clothes, bed nets, shoes and camping gear. You can know the effectiveness of repellent based on the percentage of DEET. The higher is the percentage the less often you need to apply.

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