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What about using pesticides if I am pregnant or have a baby?

If you choose to use a pesticide, you must read the entire product label first and follow all the label directions. All pesticides have some level of toxicity and pose some risk during pregnancy and babyhood. Because of this, it is important to minimize exposure to pesticides during pregnancy and when we have little ones at home.

Babies are more sensitive

During pregnancy and babyhood, the babies' internal organs are not mature. They are still developing rapidly. The barriers that help remove harmful substances from their bodies are not fully developed. Babies may also take in more pesticides than adults, because they take more breaths per minute and have more skin relative to their body weight.

Normal behaviors, like crawling, playing on the floor or lawn, and putting things in their mouths may also put young ones at a greater risk of pesticide exposure than adults. For example:

Ways to lower risk at home

Understanding the risk from a pesticide is important to find out how to lower the chances of exposure. Also, consider lowering the amount of pesticides used in your home by using an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. You can contact your local cooperative extension service for more information on this topic.

If you or someone in your family is a farmworker or a pesticide applicator, consider learning more about minimizing exposure at work and washing dirty work clothes.

Before application

After application

All of these options can reduce the risk of pesticide exposure. The early days of development are important and fragile.

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated January 27, 2016

Related Topics:

What are pests?

Learn about a pest

Identify a pest

Control a pest

Integrated Pest Management

What are pesticides?





Natural and Biological Pesticides



Other types of pesticides

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