Best Pregnancy Safe Mosquito Repellents of 2021
Written By: Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC
Sometimes the biggest threats come in the smallest packages.
Are you worried about mosquitoes biting you during your pregnancy, and harming your baby?
It’s only natural to be concerned considering all the negative media about pregnancy and mosquitoes!
By finding the best pregnancy-safe mosquito repellent, you can protect yourself and your unborn baby. A mosquito repellent can give you that extra peace of mind when you step outside.
Let’s look at the safety of using repellents when you’re pregnant and why you might want to consider adding one to your arsenal.
Why Do Mosquitoes Love Me Now That I’m Pregnant?
If you never seemed to be bothered by mosquitoes before becoming pregnant, that doesn’t mean you’re safe now.
Scientists have found that pregnant women attract twice as many mosquitoes as those who aren’t pregnant.
This reasoning could be because pregnant women take more breaths and mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, or it’s because mosquitoes are sensitive to body temperature and pregnant women tend to have higher temps (1).
Dangers of Mosquito Bites During Pregnancy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined mosquito bites can sometimes be much more harmful to pregnant women. While most times the only side effect associated with a mosquito bite is an inflamed and itchy bump, the real threat is possible disease.
The main risk associated with being pregnant and mosquitoes is the potential of contracting the Zika virus (2).
The Zika virus can cause birth defects in your baby. The main defect is microcephaly, which is a smaller than normal head, but it can also cause babies to have developmental delays.
Risks Associated With Mosquito Repellents
There are some mosquito repellents that shouldn’t be used when pregnant, but most are safe if used as directed.
Two mosquito repellents that have been registered by the EPA and have studies to back their safety for pregnancy and breastfeeding are:
- DEET: DEET repellents are believed to be effective and safe.
- Picaridin: This is an alternative insect repellent that’s also believed to be safe during pregnancy.
There are other alternatives on the market that are safe, but the two above offer the most effective protection.
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.