If you’re like most women, you probably enjoy spritzing on a little perfume to make yourself feel more attractive. Or if you’re pregnant, even a whiff of your favourite scent may seem repulsive to you. But the question remains – can you use perfume during pregnancy? Is it safe?
In general, the answer is yes. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
A Sharp Sense of Smell
Imagine stepping into your favourite bakery and being greeted by a waft of freshly baked cookies. Sounds delightful, right?
Well, for many pregnant women, this simple pleasure can turn into an intense sensory overload. During pregnancy, your sense of smell can go into overdrive, making even the faintest of odours feel overpowering. But why does this happen? Blame it on those powerful pregnancy hormones!
According to the American Pregnancy Association, hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase blood flow to your nasal passages, making them more sensitive. This heightened sensitivity can lead to a heightened sense of smell, allowing you to detect scents more intensely than ever before.
But while being sensitive to some scents can trigger your allergies or cause you to have nausea or food aversion, there’s still another important point to consider when using perfume during pregnancy.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk
Is Perfume Safe for Pregnancy
Some experts believe that perfumes and other fragrances may contain a class of ingredients called phthalates, which could be harmful for babies. Phthalates are often found in potent fragrances like perfume because they help the scent last longer.
The detrimental effects of phthalates on reproductive health are highlighted in two new Harvard School of Public Health studies. Phthalates have been shown in studies to increase the risk of miscarriage and increase risk factors for gestational diabetes.
Phthalates are hormone-disrupting synthetic substances that can be found in plastics, cosmetics, and fragrances. There are various types of phthalates, some of which may be more dangerous than others.
According to the first Harvard study, women with high levels of the phthalate di-(2-ethylhexyl) — more commonly known as DEHP — were 60 per cent more likely than those with lower levels of DEHP to miscarry before 20 weeks. This research looked at women who were having trouble getting pregnant at a fertility clinic.
The second study discovered that women with the highest amounts of monoethyl phthalate in their bodies were twice as likely as women with lower levels to acquire too much weight during pregnancy.
Monoethyl phthalate is produced when your body is exposed to and metabolises diethyl phthalate (DEP), a phthalate commonly used in fragrances.
Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is connected to gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of preterm birth and other birth complications.
The bottom line is that there are no conclusive data on the safety of phthalates, one way or the other. If you’re concerned about using perfume during pregnancy, you may want to check with your doctor first before using any product.
Can Perfumes Cause Miscarriage?
Most pregnant women are aware that they should avoid alcohol, tobacco, and certain foods such as sushi and soft cheeses while they are expecting. Some also go extra on the precautions and avoid lipstick, lotions and perfume during pregnancy.
The issue is on phthalates, which are a type of chemical. Phthalates are nearly impossible to avoid due to their widespread presence.
They’re found in plastic products including packaging, toys, and garden hoses, as well as cosmetics and other personal care items. They can mimic hormones, affecting male genital development and increasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Phthalates are harmful even before a child is born. According to one study, children whose mothers were exposed to phthalates during pregnancy had problems with motor abilities, which we use not just in sports but also in everyday activities, while children whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy had problems with language development.
According to a University of Illinois study, pregnant women who use perfume and plastic containers are more likely to have children who struggle to grasp complicated concepts, hinting that it has an impact on fetal brain development. Specialists say that the abundance of phthalates in plastic and perfumes is a big issue.
Research has highlighted the hazards of phthalates. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can alter hormonal balance, resulting in developmental and reproductive difficulties, as well as other health issues. Phthalates accumulate in fatty tissues over time, causing health problems years later.
Despite the well-documented hazards, phthalates are nonetheless used in a variety of products. They can be found in about 75 per cent of perfumes.
It can be difficult to tell which things (and in what quantities) contain phthalates because manufacturers aren’t always required to list chemical compounds in components in great detail.
Natural Perfume Safe for Pregnancy
Photo by Karolina Grabowska
Scented body spray and lotion are becoming increasingly popular during pregnancy because they are lighter and contain less alcohol than perfume.
Peppermint, ginger, and cardamom are just a few of the scents that can help with nausea. Citrus scents have been claimed to aid pregnant women to ease nausea, and they are not overbearing, providing a rejuvenated, energised, and serene sense.
Sweet orange, neroli, and mandarin are among the most favoured citrus smell among pregnant women. Milder scents to try are lavender, rose, and chamomile. If you look for massage creams in these scents, you’ll be doing yourself a double favour.
Natural deodorants and perfumes may not operate as well as conventional deodorants and perfumes. The longer you use natural scents, however, the better. Natural perfumes are offered in jars, sprays, roll-ons, and sticks. Some of the components that make up the best natural deodorant for pregnant women include:
- Chamomile oil
- Lavender oil
- Mango butter
- Tea tree oil
- Lichen oil
- Rosemary oil
- Citrus oil
- Lemon Mint Leaf
- Coconut Lime
- Cucumber Melon
- Passion Fruit
- Green Tea
Essential oils, on the other hand, are not the same as body sprays and lotions. Essential oil is a concentrated, aromatic liquid excreted by plants.
Some essential oils are toxic to the skin and should not be used while pregnant. The use of essential oils during pregnancy should be discussed with your doctor and aromatherapist.
Can I Use Perfume When Pregnant: How to Avoid Phthalates?
Unfortunately, due to trade secret policies and a lack of labelling, determining if phthalates are present in consumer products is often impossible.
As a result, without our knowledge or agreement, women are being poisoned by these chemicals, which appears to be hurting our ability to have a healthy pregnancy, as Harvard studies show. This underlines the significance of more severe chemical management techniques that screen out harmful chemicals like phthalates.
Even if totally eliminating phthalates is impossible, there are ways for women to decrease their exposure:
- Limit your contact with plastics, particularly those with the digits 3 or 7. Glass, ceramic, or metal containers should be used to serve food and drink.
- Buy foods that aren’t wrapped in plastic.
- Anything with phthalates, which are commonly present in fragrances, should be avoided.
- Look into chemical-free cosmetics and handcrafted personal care products (and skip the products entirely when you can). The Environmental Working Group maintains a database that can be used to learn more about commercial things.
- Natural alternatives to many commercial cosmetics include honey, coconut oil, baking soda, vinegar, and salt. If you do some research, you may find that manufacturing a moisturizer, shampoo, or perfume is simpler than you think.
- To reduce chemical leaching, avoid microwaving plastic and cleaning it by hand rather than in the dishwasher.
- Hands should be cleansed with soap and water on a regular basis.
- After the baby is born, continue to be vigilant of any dangerous chemicals. Keep up with DIY, including cleaning supplies, and search for fragrance-free, all-natural products to reduce plastics in the home, particularly baby bottles and toys.
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More precautions for pregnant women to avoid consuming more toxins than necessary are listed below.
- Food should not be microwaved in plastic containers.
- Remove your shoes at the front door to avoid tracking in dust that may contain dangerous substances.
- Because phthalate-containing dust tends to collect on carpets and window sills, keep them clean!
- Look for phthalate-free products from reputable firms and producers.
- Bottles and containers made of polyvinyl chloride should be avoided (PVC)
- Food should always be stored in glass, stainless steel, or ceramic containers.
- Synthetic smells can contain hundreds of ingredients. Examine your fragrances’ ingredients and choose natural odours or a fragrance-free label.
- Organic foods are recommended. Phthalates are pesticides.
- Fruits and vegetables should be bought fresh. Canned and processed foods should be avoided.
- Reduce the time spent handling receipts containing chemicals. Also, always wash your hands after touching them!
- Reduce your use of personal care products that contain phthalates (shampoos, cosmetics, and lotions).
Is Perfume Safe for Pregnancy? When to Call the Doctor
You should visit a doctor if you get any of the following symptoms after using deodorant or perfume:
- A headache
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Reactivity to allergens
- Having trouble breathing
Discuss any potential sensitivities or allergies you may have to your doctor. Based on your medical history, your doctor can recommend a pregnancy-safe deodorant.
Because it’s always a good idea to be cautious, it’s critical to check product labels before acquiring them. You can also go for subtle scents instead of strong ones. Additionally, you may wish to switch to natural perfumes that are free of dangerous chemicals when pregnant to avoid any potential health issues.
Image Source: iStock
So, is perfume safe during pregnancy?
While the answer isn’t a simple yes or no, it’s essential to consider the potential risks and make informed choices. Pregnancy brings about remarkable changes in your body, including an enhanced sense of smell.
While some fragrance ingredients may pose risks, there are safer alternatives to explore, such as natural fragrances or essential oils. It’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider, who can provide personalised advice based on your specific circumstances.
Ultimately, finding a balance between enjoying the scents you love and prioritising your health and the well-being of your baby is key. So, embrace your unique journey and make scent-sible choices that make you feel confident and comfortable throughout this special time.
This article was written by Margaux Dolores and republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.