It can be a challenge to find a good mosquito repellent to use during pregnancy. You want to protect yourself and your baby from bug bites, which are not only annoying but can carry dangerous diseases. However, you may be concerned about potentially harmful ingredients.
We’ve evaluated many modern studies to learn more about insect repellents and how they affect your pregnant body and unborn baby. We’ve compared dozens of products, trying to find the best options to suit all scenarios.
This guide will help answer all your questions and includes our top five picks for the best mosquito repellents for pregnancy — products we feel comfortable using during our own pregnancies.
- Made with 20% picaridin
- Protects against zika virus
- Variety of different sizes
- Quick, easy, & odorless solution
- Comfortable to wear
- Repels mosquitoes, ticks, and insects
- Comfortable on the skin
- Dry, non-greasy formula
- Fresh scent that isn’t greasy or oily
- EPA registered
- Can be used on clothes
- Repels mosquitoes, ticks, flies, chiggers
- Can be used on clothing
- Safe for pets too
Why Do Mosquitoes Love Me Now That I’m Pregnant?
If you never seemed bothered by mosquitoes before becoming pregnant, that doesn’t mean you’re safe now.
Scientists have found that pregnant women attract twice as many mosquitoes as those who aren’t pregnant.
This could be because pregnant women take more breaths per minute, and mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide. Or it may be because mosquitoes are sensitive to body temperature, and pregnant women tend to have higher temps (1).
Dangers of Mosquito Bites During Pregnancy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that mosquito bites can sometimes be much more harmful to pregnant women. While most times, the only side effect associated with a mosquito bite is an inflamed and itchy bump, the real threat is the possibility of disease.
The main risk associated with mosquito bites and pregnancy is the potential of contracting the Zika virus (2).
The Zika virus can cause birth defects in your baby. The main defect is microcephaly, which is a smaller than normal head, but it can also cause babies to have developmental delays.
Risks Associated With Mosquito Repellents
Some mosquito repellents shouldn’t be used when pregnant, but most are safe if used as directed.
These are two mosquito repellents that have been registered by the EPA and have studies to back their safety for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding (3):
- DEET: DEET repellents are believed to be effective and safe.
- Picaridin: This is an alternative insect repellent that’s also reported to be safe during pregnancy.
There are other safe alternatives on the market, but the two above offer the most effective protection.
Stay Away From
The Best Pregnancy Mosquito Repellents of 2022
These five mosquito repellents stand out above the rest for use during pregnancy.
1. Sawyer Insect Repellent
Best Picaridin Repellent
The pump sprayer on the Sawyer Insect Repellent is a great way to control your application. We found it easiest to pump the product onto our hands and rub it on all exposed areas.
This repellent contains 20% of the highly effective ingredient Picaridin, so it’ll help you combat those pesky mosquitoes and other insects.
Each application of the pump version is effective for up to 12 hours, and you’ll get 14 hours for the lotion. It’s safe to use on the whole family and won’t damage clothing, fishing line, or firearm finishes.
This repellent should provide you with enough peace of mind that you’ll feel confident venturing out at all hours of the day.
- It’s easy to apply.
- Made with 20% Picaridin.
- Protects against the Zika virus.
- Comes in a variety of sizes.
- You cannot use it on clothing.
- Some users said this product caused them to develop a rash.
2. Superband Mosquito Repellent Bracelet
If You Want to Avoid Chemicals
This mosquito repellent bracelet is an option if you want extra protection but don’t want to cover yourself in a spray or lotion. It’s ideal for moms who aren’t comfortable putting any products on their pregnant bodies.
Superbands are non-toxic and free of DEET. The bands contain a mixture of natural oils, including citronella and lemongrass, which smell rather nice compared to most other alternatives.
A bracelet is also an excellent option for short-term use because you can simply slide it on and off of your wrist. You don’t have to worry about rinsing the spray off your entire body once you go back inside.
This set includes multiple colored bracelets. Each bracelet is individually packaged to allow you a maximum wear time of up to 200 hours after opening.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy (not to mention relatively odorless) mosquito solution, this just might be it.
- You won’t need a shower after wearing one of these like you would with a spray.
- Each bracelet will effectively repel mosquitoes for up to 200 hours.
- Comfortable to wear.
- Not as strong as products that contain DEET.
- May irritate sensitive skin.
3. OFF! Deep Woods Repellent
Super Effective DEET Choice
This brand has been a go-to mosquito repellent for years for many people. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use mosquito repellent that’s comfortable on your skin during pregnancy, this is the best option we found.
The product comes in an aerosol spray, so you can apply it easily. It contains 25% DEET, which is argued to be the best insect repellent.
The other ingredients are safe for both adults and children, and many doctors recommend OFF! as the go-to brand for pregnant women.
There are varying sizes available, so you have the option to choose one that best fits your needs. If you want one to simply fit in your purse or meet the TSA regulations, there are sizes for you.
- Repels mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects.
- Comfortable on the skin.
- Goes on dry and not greasy.
- It contains DEET, a powerful repellent.
- It sometimes leaves a white powdery residue on the skin.
- The strong scent isn’t always welcome during pregnancy.
4. Cutter All Family Insect Repellent
This pump spray is great for people who want protection from insects but don’t want to feel like they’re wearing an insect repellent.
The spray provides great comfort with its non-greasy formula. It contains 7% DEET and also includes vitamin E and aloe to help keep your skin feeling great and moisturized.
Some pump sprays tend to be difficult because you can’t spray them in every angle you prefer, but this one can still spray no matter the direction — even if held upside down. This is a great benefit when pregnant so you don’t have to try to maneuver a specific hold in a hard-to-reach area.
- Repels mosquitoes.
- A fresh scent that isn’t greasy or oily.
- EPA registered.
- You can use it on clothes.
- It isn’t as effective as formulas with a higher DEET concentration.
- Does not repel ticks.
5. Greenerways Organic Insect Repellent
When You Want Mild, Natural Protection
This impressive formula contains citronella, lemongrass, and cedarwood oils. Many mothers are skeptical of introducing foreign products onto their bodies when pregnant, but this one’s natural and organic ingredients might help to ease their mind.
It’s easy to apply and has been lab-tested and proven to repel mosquitoes and 55 other insects.
If you’re looking for a safe way to ward off insects, this is a great option. However, the ingredients used are all natural, so the product needs to be applied regularly.
If you’d gladly sacrifice a long-lasting product for one with 100% organic ingredients during pregnancy, this is the best mosquito repellent for the job.
- Repels mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and chiggers.
- You can use it on clothing.
- Safe for use on pets.
- Not as effective as products with DEET.
- Shorter wear-time than other products.
The Bottom Line
We believe the best pregnancy-safe mosquito repellent is Sawyer’s Premium Insect Repellent. This spray is super effective, and it comes in many sizes and even includes a lotion option for versatility.
The long-lasting power and strong active ingredients make it a great choice to combat mosquitoes and other insects. The easy application is another reason this pick comes out on the top of our list.
The best feature of this product is that it’s not only safe for use during pregnancy but great for the whole family.