Avoiding Environmental Hazards While Pregnant

The environment you live and work in while pregnant can affect the health and development of the baby growing inside of you. In addition to not smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke, follow these tips about other potential environmental hazards:

  • If you use well water in your household, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you have it tested now, and then yearly, for chemicals or organisms that can cause illness.

    Check the water quality by contacting the county health department, the state environmental agency or the Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Hotline.
  • Let us know if you work in a factory or laboratory, with small children or with animals. Your healthcare provider will want to make sure that your workplace is safe for both you and your baby.
  • Do you have pets at home? If you have a cat, please arrange for someone else to clean the litter box, as a parasite in cat feces can cause vision and brain development problems in your baby.

    You may also need to use precautions with other kinds of pets - particularly reptiles and birds.
  • Carbon monoxide, and fumes from pain and certain cleaning products can be hazardous to your developing fetus. Check out this EPA guide on avoiding these air pollutants during pregnancy.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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