Summer breezes are in the air, the crickets are singing, and pool parties abound, beckoning families to spend time together outdoors and coexist with bugs that bite. Pregnant women are not immune to the itchy aggressions of these creatures and must take the proper precautions to protect themselves effectively. In addition to causing uncomfortable skin irritations, bug bites may be accompanied by dangerous bacteria and viruses that cause conditions such as Lyme disease or West Nile. Pregnant women should avoid traveling to areas where a disease outbreak is occurring.
With so many insect repellent options on the market, determining the one that is safe for you during pregnancy can be difficult.
- DEET—Insect repellents containing this ingredient may effectively help keep insects away. According to the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, a formula containing 20 to 30 percent DEET may effectively safeguard pregnant women from roughly 90 percent of bites from mosquitoes or ticks.
- Picaridin—This synthetic compound is popular around the world, offering protection from bug bites while also being less likely to trigger allergies or irritate skin.
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus/PMD—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against its use for young children, so avoid it while pregnant.
Lotions and sprays are only a couple of lines of defense against seasonal insects. For maximum protection, remember to keep the following tips in mind:
- Cover your skin. Wear long sleeves and pants if possible when you’re outside, especially in the woods or sitting by the water.
- Drain standing water. Buckets and small swimming pools may invite generations of new mosquitoes.
- Screen your home. Install mesh nets or screens on doors and windows so you can enjoy summer air without inviting the bugs inside.