4 Chemicals pregnant women should avoid

Last updated: May 10, 2021

Starting early in their pregnancy, women are inundated by things to avoid during the next nine months.  In the United States, that list usually includes alcoholic beverages, soft cheeses, raw fish, even some vegetables, saunas and hot tubs.  If you live in another country, opinions about what is safe may vary. There are numerous chemicals that are recommended to be avoided during pregnancy – even some essential oils considered risky.

Like medical knowledge related to everything, suggestions for a healthy pregnancy are always advancing.  Many chemicals are easily avoided, but others, notably sunscreen, have dangerous chemicals in nearly every product available online, in drug stores, and at cosmetics counters. Following are the chemicals doctors most often recommend avoiding when possible during pregnancy.

We’re not doctors at OneDey, please see Medical Disclaimer in our terms and conditions.

pregnancy chemicals OneDey

Avoid retinoids, such as retin-A or retinol

This chemical is often recommended to be avoided, even though research is inconclusive. While a direct link to birth defects hasn’t been established, there have been some cases linking retinoid use and birth defects. Retinoids are an active ingredient in Accutane and used frequently in anti-aging skincare products.

Avoid phthalates

Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in many beauty and home care products including plastics, fragrances, nail polish, lotion, and synthetic air fresheners. In animal studies, serious reproductive and hormone dysfunction has been linked to phthalate exposure. Phthalate ingestion has also been linked to miscarriages in animals and gestational diabetes in humans.

Avoid oxinate and oxybenzone

These chemicals have been shown to cause a lot of problems, the birth defect Hirshbrung’s disease being one of them.  Oxinate and Oxybenzone are found in many sunscreens. Oxbenzone is on Beautycounter’s The Never List™ and Beautycounter doesn’t use either of these ingredients in their sun protection products.

Avoid formaldehyde-releasing chemicals

Most commonly found in cosmetics, formaldehyde-releasing chemicals have been linked to potentially dangerous side effects. These include the following, as noted by Environmental Working Group:

Bronopol

DMDM hydantoin

Diazolidinyl urea

Hydroxymethylglycinate

Imidazolidinyl urea

Quaternium-15

5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane

Some essential oils to consider…

Though not chemicals, in high doses some essential oils may cause complications during pregnancy.  Specifically…

Jasmine and clary sage have been known to trigger contractions

Sage and rosemary can cause bleeding

Rosemary has been shown to increase blood pressure

While it’s important to understand potential risks when you’re pregnant, it’s equally important to avoid getting overwhelmed.

Keep in mind that in France, drinking wine in moderation during pregnancy is generally acceptable. In Japan pregnant women eat sushi, also in moderation. We suggest replacing the products you can, consulting your physician with any concerns, and then relaxing.  Most importantly, enjoy these nine months ToDey and focus on the bundle of joy awaiting you at the end!