What are you looking for?

Everyday Risks to Pregnant Women

Mums-to-be need to be more aware of unintentional exposure to chemicals that could be harmful to their unborn child!

Pregnant women should be made aware that there are all sorts of chemicals in products they use everyday which could potentially harm their unborn babies, according to a report by experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

There is a lot of nutritional advice available for pregnant women but at the moment there is no real antenatal advice informing mums-to-be and breastfeeding mums of the potential risks that exposure to certain chemicals could pose to babies

Exposure to some environmental chemicals has been linked to premature birth, low birthweight, congenital defects, miscarriage, stillbirth, and decreased fertility in both the mum and child later on in life. Everyday, pregnant women are exposed to huge numbers of chemicals at low levels via eating, using household cleaning products, OTC medicines and even health and beauty products like moisturiser!

pregnant woman on laptop
The RCOG say that food packaging, moisturisers, sunscreens and shower gels could all potentially contain harmful chemicals. Surprisingly, current legislation does not require manufacturers to name all potentially harmful chemicals, when used in low dose, on the product label!

The recommendation is that pregnant women should adopt a 'safety first' approach and assume there is risk present even if it could be minimal or eventually unfounded. The RCOG recommend using fresh food if possible, minimising the use of personal care products, avoiding paint fumes and use of all pesticides, and only taking OTC medicines if essential.

Dr Michelle Bellingham from the University of Glasgow said:
“While there is no official advice on this topic available to pregnant women, there is much conflicting anecdotal evidence about environmental chemicals and their potentially adverse effects on developing babies. The information in this report is aimed at addressing this problem and should be conveyed routinely in infertility and antenatal clinics so women are made aware of key facts that will allow them to make informed choices regarding lifestyle changes.”

Professor Scott Nelson added:
“There are growing concerns over everyday chemical exposure effects because many chemicals have the potential to interfere with the hormone systems in the body, which play key roles in normal fetal development. Realistically, pregnant women are exposed to a complex mixture of hundreds of chemicals at low levels, but methods for assessing the full risk of exposure are not yet developed. While pregnant women should be aware of potential risks, there is still considerable uncertainty about the extent of the exposure effects and any women with concerns about certain chemical exposures should consult their obstetrician or midwife.”

June 2013
  • Tags:

Your Journey

Baby Name Finder

Baby Name Finder

Pregnancy week by week
Pregnancy Week 09
At 9 weeks, your baby is about the size of an olive

week 09

Find Out More