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Products that pose danger to pregnant women

April 14, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
There are thousands of personal care and cleaning products sold in stores every day. While they are usually safe to use for the average American, they could pose a danger to pregnant women.

From polishes to powder, from hair care products to cleaners. Which pose the greatest dangers to pregnant women?

Susanne McCoy is four months pregnant and Sherika Roberts is nine months pregnant. Both are 30 years old, busy, working moms and are expecting their second child, and both have had concerns about the effects of products on their pregnancy.

"My main concerns were about products that emitted a fume. So cleaning products did concern me," said McCoy.

Dr. Sandra Abraham-Hebert says if a product has a fragrance, more than likely, it's toxic.

"Especially when you're pregnant you really want to limit the amount fumes or fragrance that you're exposed to for you and your unborn baby," said Abraham-Hebert.

Nail polishes often contain chemicals like toluene and formaldehyde, which could be harmful to a fetus. High levels of exposure to solvents in products like nail polish remover, paint thinners and degreasers have also been associated with birth defects.

"One concern that I have had was with polishing nails, because chemicals can be kind of strong," said Roberts.

Abraham-Hebert recommends pregnant women choose fragrance-free products and while hair coloring and relaxers are fine, expectant moms should avoid tooth whiteners, Botox injections, tattoos, tanning salons and chemical peels.

"When pregnant, the facial skin, and pretty much the body's skin, is very hypersensitive and a chemical peel can cause a much more severe reaction," said Abraham-Hebert.

Her best advice is for expectant moms to use natural personal care products and cleaners like vinegar and baking soda during pregnancy, and put off unnecessary beauty treatments until after the baby arrives.

Pregnant women also were advised to avoid hot tubs and saunas, because they can increase core body temperature and possibly cause an unborn baby to overheat.