5 Environmental Hazards During Pregnancy That You Should Be Aware Of

check_icon Research-backed

Image : Shutterstock

When the pregnancy journey begins, you may be apprehensive about the possible risks of several elements around you that you may suppose as hazardous for you and your fetus. However, being familiar with the various environmental hazards during pregnancy might help prevent the dangerous effects of these on a pregnant woman and her unborn child. It is vital to be well-aware of the potential hazards in your surroundings to ensure utmost safety at all times for expectant mothers. Read on as we share crucial details of the various environmental hazards and useful tips that could help you avoid the risks of these compounds during pregnancy.

5 Environmental Hazards During Pregnancy:

Hazardous materials can be present anywhere, inside your house, within your neighborhood, or at your workplace. In most cases, even though you feel you are safe, these surrounding dangers can cause much harm without you realizing the same. Here are five environmental hazards you should take care of while you are pregnant:

1. Cleaning Products: [1]


Cleaning products often contain a substance called glycol ether that is present in oven cleaners and window cleaners. It is dangerous to come in contact with glycol ether, as it can increase your chances of a miscarriage and put you at risk.

Mildew removers contain a substance called phenol which can increase the chances of birth defects. In severe cases, it can also cause fetal death.

How To Avoid:

  • Read the label carefully and follow the instructions. Read the warning label to see if it is safe to use the product during pregnancy.
  • Ask someone else to use the product while you are pregnant. 

2. Pesticides: [2]


Among the many environmental hazards in pregnancy this one is the most dangerous. Pesticides contain a lot of toxic materials that can harm various organs in the body. Inhaling pesticides can worsen asthma and other breathing related conditions.

Pesticides contain chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer and cause various birth defects.

How To Avoid:

  • Wash anything you eat, whether raw or in a cooked form.
  • Always wash your hands after coming into contact with any form of pesticide or containers that contain the pesticide.
  • Vacate the area where you suspect Apesticide is being used.
  • In case pesticide treatment is being done in your house, at your home remove all utensils and food products from the designated area. Cover everything and keep them away for a few hours.

3. Cell Phone Radiation: [3]


Radiation from cell phones affects your unborn baby the most. This environmental effects on pregnancy here could be life threatening. Exposure to cell phone radiation can cause various birth defects in your baby.

Your baby can be affected by conditions like retardation in growth, malformation, underdeveloped brain functions and increase the risk of cancer. The chances of a miscarriage also increase.

How To Avoid:

  • Use your cell phone as less as possible and keep it away from yourself when not in use.
  • Don’t carry your cell phone in your trouser pocket or shirt pocket. Keep it inside your bag.
  • Do not keep your cell phone under or near your pillow while sleeping. Keep it at a safe distance. 

4. Cosmetics: [4]


Cosmetics and skin care products contain a host of chemicals that may be quite harmful to both you and your unborn baby.

You might break out with various skin ailments after using a certain product. You may develop certain allergies during pregnancy that were not present earlier. Treating it may require the use of medication that is not advisable during pregnancy.

How To Avoid:

  • Avoid using cosmetics as much as possible.
  • Try using natural products that do not include harmful chemicals.
  • Always use cosmetics that come from well-known brands. Read the label and understand the list of ingredients. 

5. Lead: [5]


Lead exposure can result in premature birth, miscarriage, low birth weight and delay in the developmental milestones. It can affect your baby’s behavioral and cognitive skills.

How To Avoid:

  • Ask your local health department to check for the presence of lead in your drinking water.
  • If your home has lead paints do not touch areas where the paint has peeled off.

Pregnancy requires you to be safe and alert. Sometimes, your home may contain many hazardous elements that you are not always aware of. Always make sure to read labels and avoid chemicals as much as possible.

Lead, Pesticides, cleaning products, cellphone radiation, and certain cosmetics are common environmental hazards during pregnancy. Lead exposure is one of the most hazardous, and it may result in miscarriage, premature births, or developmental disorders in babies. Exposure to these hazardous substances may cause congenital disabilities in some babies. You can check the labels of cosmetic and skincare products to see if there are any potentially dangerous ingredients. Radiation can be avoided by limiting cell phone use and keeping it away from you. And keep pesticides at bay by washing fruits and vegetables before eating.

The following two tabs change content below.

shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health and pharma, especially related to... more