There is no research that proves exposure to pest-control products at levels used at home pose any risk to your unborn baby.  However, all insecticides do contain some degree of poison.  Some studies suggest that high levels of exposure can cause miscarriage, preterm delivery and birth defects.  Some pesticides and other chemicals, including PCBs, have weak, estrogen-like qualities called endocrine disrupters that some scientists suspect may affect development of the fetus’s reproductive system.

If your house must be treated with pesticides while pregnant, you should have someone else apply the chemicals, and try to leave the area for the amount of time specified on the product.  You should remove dishes, utensils and food from the area to which the pesticide is being applied.

While gardening, you should wear rubber gloves to prevent skin contact with pesticides.  If your outdoors is being treated, close all windows and turn off the AC so that fumes aren’t drawn into the house.  If you wish to use bug repellent, such as DEET, you should apply it to your outer clothes, using gloves or an applicator.

For the most part, an accidental small exposure to pesticides should be safe while you are pregnant.  Problems tend to develop with more intense or prolonged exposure to pesticides.  The greatest risk seems to be in the first trimester.  If you are concerned that you have been overexposed to a pesticide, consult with your physician.

How can pesticides affect my pregnancy?