Even External Products Can Pose Risk to Expectant Mothers

Written by yvonnethornton on May 27th, 2013

As an expectant mother, women will hear any number of dos and don’ts. Being pregnant forces women to learn an entirely new way to treat their body, as certain chemicals can cause a great deal of harm to developing fetuses. It is likely that almost all pregnant women know the risks of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, and a great deal will choose not to drink heavily sugary or caffeinated drinks for the duration of their pregnancies in order to prevent potential damage due to changes in their bodies from these products.

However, many patients still do not understand the importance of monitoring the products that they use externally. Chemicals can just as easily be absorbed through the skin, and can cause as much damage as if they were ingested. This is why women who are pregnant are asked not to dye their hair or to expose themselves to other chemicals until their child is born. For evidence of how easily chemicals can enter into the body, look at this case study in which a pregnant woman was found to be host to considerable amounts of mercury due to a face cream she had purchased in Mexico.

Though that list of dos and don’ts can seem pretty exhausting, there is one easy rule-of-thumb that expectant mother’s can use when it comes to the products that they choose to use during their pregnancy. When it doubt, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Put that food or that product aside if you are uncertain about it and talk to your doctor. He or she will be more than happy to help you decide whether or not the product that you are using is safe for you and your baby. The harmful effects of some chemicals to the body far outweigh the benefits of soft skin or the perfect hair color.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.


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