Jun 05, 2013 10:27 AM EDT By Vishakha Sonawane
Pregnant women should avoid chemicals in household items, cosmetics and family medicines to evade any kind of harm to the unborn baby, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG).
Expecting women are also advised to stay away from paint fumes, pesticides and canned food items. This advisory has drawn criticism from various groups, which say such warnings could stress pregnant women.
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"The best approach for pregnant women is a 'safety first' approach, which is to assume there is risk present even when it may be minimal or eventually unfounded," a statement issued by the RCOG said.
"While there is much guidance on healthy lifestyle choices that women can incorporate during pregnancy, there is currently no official antenatal advice that informs women who are pregnant or breast feeding of the potential risks that some chemical exposures could pose to their babies," it added.
But Sense for Science states that it is "a missed opportunity to set out the ways pregnant women can cut through the confusing debates about chemicals and pregnancy".
"As the report itself shows, there are many unfounded rumours about links between particular substances and pregnancy outcomes. By contrast, we have plenty of evidence that stress is a major risk factor in pregnancy. Researchers and professional bodies should not be adding to it," Tracey Brown from Sense for Science said.
She said that the RCOG report mentions the harm that chemicals present in such items do and it is useful information for pregnant women who spend a lot of time and effort in determining what is harmful and what is not.
Brown said, "The simple question parents want answered during pregnancy is: 'Should we be worried?'
According to her, the RCOG report is disappointing in that it does not help women in striking a right balance in the debate about chemicals and pregnancy.