What you need to know
Some substances and chemicals—such as solvents, paints, cleaners and pesticides—can cause birth defects or increase your risk of miscarriage.
Substances to watch out for include cigarette smoke, lead (in water and paint), carbon monoxide, mercury, solvents, paint, paint thinners, benzene and formaldehyde.
What you can do
If you must live or work around these substances, minimize your exposure:
- Make sure your workplace is well ventilated.
- Wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves or a facemask.
- Let someone else paint the baby’s room and stay away until the fumes are gone.
- Check with your local water authority or health department if you are worried about the quality of your tap water. You can also drink bottled water while you are pregnant or trying to conceive.
- Be careful when handling fluorescent light bulbs. If broken, they may release mercury.
See also: Environmental hazards and pregnancy