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Pregnant Women

EWG's Guide to Bug Repellents: Pregnant Women

July 17, 2013
 

No repellent is right every time. Click to find your best bet.

 

I'm pregnant and need Lyme disease protection.

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Choose a repellent with: As a first line of defense, try to avoid tick bites by covering up with pants, socks, shoes and long sleeves. Consider using Picaridin (20%), IR3535 (20%) or DEET (20-30%) for extra protection.

Other things to consider:

  • No repellent is 100% effective, so take extra precautions to avoid tick bites.
  • Check out CDC's Lyme Disease maps to find out if you are in a high-risk area.
  • CDC recommends only DEET (20-50%) for Lyme disease protection.
  • Check for ticks thoroughly every night; remove ticks properly.
  • CDC advises not to use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD on very young children, so avoid it while pregnant.
  • Wash your hands after applying repellent; wash repellent-coated skin at the end of the day.
  • Avoid excessive use of any repellent during pregnancy.

 

 

I'm pregnant and need West Nile virus protection.

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Choose a repellent with: As a first line of defense, try to avoid mosquito bites by covering up with pants and long sleeves. Also consider using Picaridin (10-20%), IR3535 (20%) or DEET (7-30%). Base the concentration you choose on time you plan to spend outdoors. Use weaker concentrations and reapply as necessary.

Other things to consider:

  • No repellent is 100% effective, so take extra precautions to avoid tick bites.
  • Check out CDC's West Nile Virus maps to find out if you are in a high-risk area.
  • CDC advises not to use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD on very young children, so avoid it while pregnant.
  • Wash hands after applying repellent; wash repellent-coated skin when you come indoors.
  • Avoid excessive use of any repellent during pregnancy.

 

 

I'm pregnant and will be outdoors for a short time.

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Choose a repellent with: Click here if you are concerned about Lyme disease; click here if you are concerned about West Nile virus. As a first line of defense, cover up with pants and long sleeves. Consider using Picaridin (5-10%) or DEET (7-10%). Other botanical products may be worth considering (see note). Use weaker concentrations and reapply as necessary.

Other things to consider:
  • Take precautions to avoid both bug bites and excessive repellent during pregnancy.
  • CDC advises not to use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD on very young children, so avoid it while pregnant.
  • Some botanical repellents may be worth trying if bug-borne disease is not a concern, but be aware that many contain highly concentrated allergens. Effectiveness varies widely; experiment to find out what works best for you.
  • Wash hands after applying repellent; wash repellent-coated skin at the end of the day.
 

I'm pregnant and need all-day bug protection.

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Choose a repellent with: Click here if you are concerned about Lyme disease; click here if you are concerned about West Nile virus. As a first line of defense, cover up with pants and long sleeves. Also consider using Picaridin (5-10%) or DEET (7-10%). Use weaker concentrations and reapplying as necessary.

Other things to consider:
  • Take precautions to avoid both bug bites and excessive repellent during pregnancy.
  • Daily use of DEET for prolonged periods may be inadvisable. Consult your doctor.
  • Wash hands after applying repellent; wash repellent-coated skin at the end of the day.
 

I'm pregnant and have sensitive skin /allergies.

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Choose a repellent with: Click here if you are concerned about Lyme disease; click here if you are concerned about West Nile virus. As a first line of defense, cover up with pants and long sleeves. Your best repellent choice may be Picaridin (5-10%) because it has the fewest irritation and allergy concerns. People's bodies react differently, so you may want to try other options to see what works for you. Use lower concentrations and reapply as necessary.

Other things to consider:
  • Take precautions to avoid both bug bites and excessive repellent during pregnancy.
  • Try repellents on a small patch of exposed skin before slathering all over.
  • DEET and IR3535 may cause eye irritation and DEET may cause skin irritation.
  • CDC advises not to use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD on very young children, so avoid it while pregnant. It may cause allergic skin reactions.
  • Many botanical repellents contain highly concentrated allergens.
  • Wash hands after applying repellent; wash repellent-coated skin at the end of the day.
 

I'm pregnant; bug-borne diseases are rare where I live.

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Choose a repellent with: If the bugs aren't bad, consider forgoing repellent entirely. Otherwise, consider Picaridin, IR3535 or DEET. Other botanical products may also be worth considering (see note). Base the concentration you choose on time you plan to spend outdoors, but use lower concentrations and reapply as necessary.

Other things to consider:

  • Take precautions to avoid both bug bites and excessive repellent during pregnancy.
  • Some botanical repellents may be worth trying, but many contain highly concentrated allergens. Effectiveness varies widely; experiment to see what works best for you.
  • CDC advises not to use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or PMD on very young children, so avoid it while pregnant.
  • Wash hands after applying repellent; wash repellent-coated skin at the end of the day.