Insect repellent in pregnancy – is it safe?

Can you use insect repellent when you're pregnant and what natural repellents are available?


Mosquito and bug repellents often contain chemicals to keep away the pests. Mosquito bites are never fun but if you are going on holiday somewhere where you usually put on spray repellent or cream, can you still do this if you are expecting a baby?


Many sprays contain chemicals which will seep into your skin when you apply them. For this reason, you do have to be cautious with repellents. The main chemical is DEET and if you are pregnant you should use repellents containing this sparingly. Preferably, talk to your doctor about using them first. (If you already have a young child, try to keep the use of such repellents down to ones which contain less than 30 per cent DEET, when applying them to his or her skin.)

If you are travelling to exotic countries where mosquito bites can be a danger, discuss this with your GP. Immunising you to best protect against contracting diseases like malaria is important, but some a href=””>vaccinations are not advisable during pregnancy.

It is possible to burn citronella sticks or use cintronella oil during pregnancy, to ward off blood-sucking nasties!


For more information about travelling safely, visit the Department for Health website.

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