Many women use harmful insecticides during pregnancy

Missy Jaramillo

Many women use harmful insecticides during pregnancy

It's summer, and just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you can't enjoy all of the fun things that this season has to offer. As long as your doctor says it's fine, you should feel free to go camping, hit the beach, go to a carnival - avoiding the rides, of course - and do anything else you enjoy in the warmer months. If you have a green thumb, one thing you may love to do once the weather gets nice is tend to your garden. This can be a fun, relaxing activity that can yield some beautiful flowers or fresh vegetables as a result. However, if you do choose to garden this summer, you may want to be careful about what you use to keep the bugs at bay during your pregnancy. 

According to a recent study conducted by researchers from the Higher Public Health Research Center in Spain, 54 percent of pregnant women use insecticides that could be harmful to their fetus. While this research was conducted in Spain, it's important for expectant mothers from all across the globe to take note of these important findings

"Pesticides are used in domestic environments to control infestations of insects or other living creatures," said Sabrina Llop from the Higher Public Health Research Center in Valencia, the leading author of the paper. "Exposure during pregnancy or infancy proves to have a negative impact on fetal growth and neurological effects, as well as increasing the risk of childhood leukemia." 

A serious issue
According to the findings, not only did 54 percent of women use some kind of insecticide, but 15 percent of them used two or more. The most commonly used insecticide was a spray used to eliminate pests found inside the home. There were also many women who used insecticides in their gardens. 

The researchers explained that fetuses' immune systems are not fully developed, which is why they are especially vulnerable to the effects of insecticides that may not be harmful to you. Of course, once your baby is born, that does not mean that he or she should be exposed to insecticides, either. The scientists said that babies and young children are prone to putting their toys in their mouths, and these toys may have been on the ground and gotten covered in dust that has been contaminated with insecticide. 

Alternatives to insecticide 
So, you don't want to use chemical-laden sprays in and around your home, but you're dealing with an ant infestation - what do you do? According to an article published in the Journal of Pesticide Reform, your first chemical-free defense against ants should be to keep your home free of food lying around. This means that any food that you're not keeping in your fridge or freezer should be in a tightly sealed container and placed high above the ground. While you may think that a simple screw-top jar can do the trick - it won't. The article explained that ants can crawl up these jars and get inside, which is why you need glass jars with rubber seals and metal clamps, or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. 

As for what you can do in the garden, there are many products on the market that can keep your flowers and vegetables safe from bugs without the use of chemicals. Head to your local garden-supply store and ask the professionals there what you can do to avoid insecticides - you're sure to be given a variety of options. 

Do you use insecticide alternatives in your home to keep yourself safe? If so, what are they and where did you find them? Comment here!