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Should you avoid DEET when pregnant?

ANSWER

DEET is a chemical that’s found in most brands of tick repellent. Some studies have looked into how it can affect unborn babies. Most found that DEET didn’t lead to a higher risk in birth defects. Still, more research needs to be done. Because of this, it may be wise to avoid DEET products, too.

But, if you spend a lot of time outdoors in an area that has a lot of ticks, speak to your doctor. She may feel that the benefits outweigh the risks.

SOURCES:

CDC: “Ticks and Lyme Disease,” “Stop Ticks,” “Natural Tick Repellents and Pesticides,” “Chapter 2, The Pre-Travel Consultation: Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks and Other Arthropods.”

MotherToBaby/Organization of the Teratology Information Specialists: “Fact Sheet: Insect Repellents.”

Mayo Clinic: “Got a tick? Get tweezers?” “Lyme Disease.”

InfantRisk Center/Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center: “Insect Bites and Repellent Sprays for Pregnant Women.”

MedicinesinPregnancy.org/UKTIS: “Chemical Insect Repellents.”

American Pregnancy Association: “Pesticides and Pregnancy,” “Herbs and Pregnancy.”

Malaria Journal: “Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing.”

JOGCC : “Management of Tick Bites and Lyme Disease During Pregnancy.”

Reviewed by David Zelman on April 1, 2017

SOURCES:

CDC: “Ticks and Lyme Disease,” “Stop Ticks,” “Natural Tick Repellents and Pesticides,” “Chapter 2, The Pre-Travel Consultation: Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks and Other Arthropods.”

MotherToBaby/Organization of the Teratology Information Specialists: “Fact Sheet: Insect Repellents.”

Mayo Clinic: “Got a tick? Get tweezers?” “Lyme Disease.”

InfantRisk Center/Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center: “Insect Bites and Repellent Sprays for Pregnant Women.”

MedicinesinPregnancy.org/UKTIS: “Chemical Insect Repellents.”

American Pregnancy Association: “Pesticides and Pregnancy,” “Herbs and Pregnancy.”

Malaria Journal: “Plant-based insect repellents: a review of their efficacy, development and testing.”

JOGCC : “Management of Tick Bites and Lyme Disease During Pregnancy.”

Reviewed by David Zelman on April 1, 2017

NEXT QUESTION:

Are all-natural ingredients safe to use to keep ticks away during pregnancy?

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    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.