Researchers have found that pregnant women are more attractive to mosquitoes and biting insects, possibly because when you’re pregnant you have a slightly higher body temperature and dilated blood vessels and breathe out more CO2, making you more attractive to bugs. This is especially concerning given the rise of West Nile and Lyme disease, both of which are extremely dangerous to you and a developing fetus.
Further complicating the issue, the most effective bug repellents contain DEET (N, N- Diethyl-meta-toluamide), which in animal tests has been linked to cardiac birth defects in high doses.
But the good news is that less-toxic alternatives to slathering yourself in DEET or going bare are available: according to Consumer Reports, the most effective bug repellents are DEET at a 15 percent concentration (which was found to be more effective than even higher concentrations) and solutions containing a combination of oil of lemon eucalyptus and picaridin, a chemical pesticide invited in the 1980’s and approved in the U.S. in 2005 and generally considered nontoxic. So if you’re going to be outdoors in bug season opt for a safe solution and slather it on!