While flea sprays are regulated by the U.S. government and are generally regarded as safe, you may want to avoid using them on your pets while you are pregnant, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Even flea sprays that contain natural, plant-derived pesticides could potentially cause harm. If your pets become infested with fleas while you are pregnant, consider having someone else administer their flea treatment.
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The chemicals contained in flea sprays and other pesticides are designed to do damage to the nervous system of fleas and other insects. The California Birth Defects Monitoring Program states that women exposed to pesticides during pregnancy are more likely to have infants with cleft palates, neural tube defects and heart and limb defects.
If you must use flea spray while you are pregnant, avoid doing so in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, when your fetus' nervous system is developing and most vulnerable to chemicals. If you use flea spray products in your house while you are pregnant, keep the windows open to aid in ventilation. Wear gloves on your hands if you are going to come into direct contact with flea spray.
The American Pregnancy Organization states that even flea sprays that are marketed as natural and derived from plants can be harmful to use during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor or your veterinarian to discuss completely safe, non-chemical options for flea control that you can use during pregnancy without concern.
If you are accidentally exposed to a small amount of flea spray during pregnancy there is no need to panic, according to BabyCenter. The most risk from flea spray use comes from prolonged exposure during pregnancy. If you work in an atmosphere where you are exposed to flea spray daily, talk to your doctor about the risks and how you can avoid them.
Potential Long-Term Effects
The long-term effects of flea spray on exposed fetuses is still being studied, according to the National Resource Defense Council. The NRDC states that women who use chemical pesticides during pregnancy may be more likely to have children who suffer from brain cancer, and suggests that pregnant women and anyone with children younger than 5 in the home avoid using chemical pesticides.