Why should you be more careful about mosquito bites during pregnancy?

Why do MOSQUITOES get attracted to pregnant women?

If you feel that mosquitoes are snacking on you more than ever now, it’s not just your imagination. Scientists have found that pregnant women attract twice as many mosquitoes as non-pregnant women do. The reason behind this is the amount of carbon dioxide that a pregnant woman exhales due to frequent breaths, exhaling 21 percent more air — and it is this extra amount of the gas that the attracts mosquitoes.

Another reason can be the body temperature of a pregnant woman. Generally, expecting mother’s body temperatures is higher than other women.

ARE MOSQUITO BITES MORE DANGEROUS DURING PREGNANCY?

Sometimes. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, has confirmed that Zika virus can cause microcephaly in the babies, a rare birth defect that is caused when a pregnant woman gets infected by Zika virus.  Due to microcephaly, babies are born with small heads, due to which they have delayed growth.

 IS IT SAFE TO USE MOSQUITO REPELLENT OR BUG SPRAY WHILE PREGNANT?

Yes. The best way to prevent mosquito bites and the diseases they spread — especially if you are going to be out for long— is by using mosquito repellent. If you live in or plan to travel to an area where mosquitoes are widespread, it is essential to take the proper precautions, and even more so if you are pregnant. Below are the two types of mosquito sprays that are considered safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women to use:

  • Picaridin: This is an alternative form of insect repellent that is safe to use during pregnancy.
  • DEET: The most effective kind of insect repellent contains DEET.

In addition to applying spray to all exposed skin, you can spray your clothing for additional protection.

How to prevent mosquito bites?

If you live in an area with mosquitoes, prevent mosquito bites by taking the following steps:

  • Stay inside during peak mosquito hours, from dawn to dusk, as much as possible. Mosquitoes carrying chikungunya, dengue and Zika bite are are more active during daylight hours.
  • Use an insect repellent containing 10 percent DEET or picaridin, both of which are safe for pregnant and nursing women and children older than 2 months. Check the label for instructions.
  • Cover as much of your body as possible by wearing protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants and socks. Take extra care of your ankles and back of your neck as studies have shown that certain mosquitoes target these body parts and you are less likely to feel it.
  • Sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms as mosquitoes are less likely to thrive in cold temperatures.

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