Q: Is it safe to use pesticides during pregnancy?

A: Yes, but you should limit your contact with them. There's little evidence that exposure to these chemicals at normal levels significantly increases risks to your baby. But all pesticides are poisons, and some studies have shown that at very high levels, they may play a role in miscarriage, preterm birth, and birth defects.

If you need to have your home or yard treated with pesticides during your pregnancy, take these simple steps to safeguard your and your baby's health:

- Don't do it yourself.

- Be sure that the chemicals are used only where needed, which is safer than widespread spraying.

- Remove all food, dishes, and utensils from area being treated, including cabinets or drawers. This also goes for outdoor grills.

- Stay out of the house while it's being sprayed and for several hours afterward.

- If only your yard is being treated, close all windows and turn off the air conditioning so that the fumes won't be drawn into the house.

- If you garden, wear rubber gloves to minimize skin contact with pesticides or herbicides (weed killers).

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