Methodist Healthcare - July 01, 2021

Now that you’re pregnant, you may be looking with new eyes at items you once used without a care in the world. You’re wondering: Is lipstick safe? Could those cleaning products harm my baby? And what about that bi-weekly manicure — is it still okay to have it?

It’s easy to understand your concerns, and you’re smart to ask questions about product safety. We want to ease your mind with answers to those questions and more.

Skin care, hair care and makeup safety during pregnancy

Your skin is able to absorb certain ingredients into your body, which means they’ll be absorbed into your baby’s body, too. If you’re not sure how safe your skin care, makeup and hair products are, ask a dermatologist and your OB/GYN about them when you first learn you’re pregnant. You’ll want to keep these FAQs handy, too.

Q: Can I wear lipstick?

As hard as you may try, it’s almost impossible to keep a little lipstick from getting in your mouth. Does that mean you have to give up your luscious lippie? Maybe not, as long as you get one that’s free of harmful chemicals. Many of the additives used to create lipstick color may contain small amounts of lead. Lead does cross the placenta, so it’s best to be cautious.

Avoid: lead, parabens, sulfates, phthalates

Q: Can I get a manicure?

For the most part, it’s safe to get manicures and pedicures when you’re pregnant. Keep in mind that nail polish and artificial nails are made up of chemical compounds. Also, there isn’t a lot of research about nail polish safety during pregnancy. Overall, the risk of problems for you and your unborn baby is pretty low since you’ll have limited exposure to the nail polish ingredients.

A related note: If you visit a salon for a manicure or pedicure, make sure it has good ventilation to control fumes.

Look for: water-based, non-flammable, hypoallergenic polish

Q: Can I stick with my current skin care routine?

It depends. As with makeup, you’re putting substances on your skin that can be absorbed. Some ingredients in skin care products are known to cause birth defects. One of the best things you can do right now is read the labels on your skin care products.

Avoid: retinol, vitamin A, salicylic acid, hydroquinone, chemical sunscreens

Q: Does it really matter which hair care products I use?

You should be okay keeping the same shampoo, conditioner, hair spray and other products you normally use when you’re not pregnant. Still, the first thing to keep in mind is that your scalp is skin, and there are many pores deep on the scalp. So, there’s a chance that harsh chemicals could be absorbed into your body and passed on to your unborn baby.

While doctors aren’t 100% sure that’s the case, you may not want to risk it. But there are options: For instance, if you still want to color your hair or cover gray, consider using a more natural dye like henna.

Ask your doctor about: prescription medicated shampoo, prescription cortisone shampoo

Using household products during pregnancy

When it comes to house cleaning, how much should you labor before it’s time to go into labor? And what about the cleaning products — what’s safe to use and what should you avoid? You’ve got questions, we’ve got your answers about household products and cleaning activities when you’re pregnant.

Q: Should I switch household cleaners?

Most likely, yes. There are certain types of indoor air pollutants that are found in some household cleaners. These pollutants, called “VOCs”, are often labeled with the words “toxic,” “poison” and “danger” — a pretty clear warning that you should avoid these products. Cleaning items containing those chemicals usually include:

  • Drain cleaners
  • Floor waxes
  • Oven cleaners
  • Polishes
  • Rug cleaners
  • Spot removers
  • Toilet bowl cleaners

Look for: cleaning products labeled nontoxic, all-natural

Q: Do DIY cleaning products work?

There are some general cleaning products and glass cleaners that are labeled low “acute toxicity,” which means they probably won’t hurt you to use. But why risk it? No one is sure how cleaning chemicals could affect your baby’s health, so caution is the best approach. But there’s good news from the experts at Good Housekeeping:1 There are tried-and-true ingredients for homemade cleaners and deodorizers you can make yourself. You’ll not only stay safer, you’ll save money, too.

Look for: DIY formulas that use baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice

Q: What’s safe for cleaning mold in my bathroom?

The short answer is: Nothing is safe for cleaning mold — because mold isn’t safe for you to clean when you’re pregnant. Having mold is a serious health matter because it contains toxic substances that have been linked to birth defects in animals. If you find mold in your bathroom, basement or kitchen, get rid of it right away. But get someone else to do that, so you don’t have to.

Hire a professional: for severe mold, call in a cleaning service or mold specialist

Want to know the health risks of your cleaning products? Visit the EWG (Environmental Working Group) website. That’s where you can look up any cleaning product on their database and find out what ingredients they contain, and which ones may present the biggest health risks to you and your baby.

Hint: If a cleaner has an A or B rating, you may want to choose that one over cleaners rated C, D or F.

Don’t worry, you’re asking all the right questions

Use this, not that. Wear this, not that. Clean with this, not with that. You may be feeling like, what’s a mom-to-be to do? First of all, relax. You’ve got this. After all, you’re reading this blog, which means you want to know and do all you can to help bring a healthy baby into the world. Just keep asking all the right questions — along with your doctor, we’re here to help!

To connect with other moms in San Antonio, ask questions and share advice, visit baby bump space.