Pregnancy changes just about everything in your routine, and that includes your daily beauty and skincare rituals, too. In general, is perfume safe during pregnancy? For people who love their signature scent, the idea of going without it for months on end is concerning.
In general, spritzing on a little scent does not appear to be a major cause of health problems in pregnant women. "If a woman has been using perfume or products with fragrance during her pregnancy already, she shouldn’t be concerned about a problem with the baby," said Sara Twogood, MD, FACOG, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Keck Medicine of USC, in The Bump. For the most part, you don't have to feel bad about enjoying a your beloved eau de parfum when there's a baby on board.
That said, some people have raised concerns about the potential for phthalates in perfumes and other fragranced products. A type of chemical sometimes used as solvents, phthalates are found in hundreds of items, including many personal care products, as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although studies are still being conducted on the subject, exposure to phthalates may cause reproductive harm or even increase the risk of miscarriage or gestational diabetes, as noted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School Of Public Health. In order to err on the side of caution, pregnant women may understandably decide to avoid products that contain phthalates.
So all you have to do is make sure your perfume doesn't contain phthalates and you're all good, right? Well, sort of. Some fragrance companies have worked to get rid of the stuff. For instance, you can do a search for phthalate-free perfume at Sephora to find brands such as The 7 Virtues, Lavanila, and Clean that offer scents without them. (Look for the Clean at Sephora label to make your searches easier.) As you'll see, there are a ton of great-smelling choices that definitely do not contain phthalates.
If your perfume does not explicitly state that it is made without phthalates, though, then finding the exact ingredients may prove tricky. Because regulations do not require companies to list individual fragrance ingredients, you won't necessarily see phthalates on your product's ingredient list, even if it's in the formula, as explained by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Because there are so many unknowns when it comes to phthalates and your health, it's OK if you want to use a "better safe than sorry" approach and take a break from the fragrance during your pregnancy.
There's a more common reason some women choose to discontinue using perfume during pregnancy, and that's allergies. If you happen to enjoy spraying perfume on your neck, then this is worth considering. "Neck fragrance is a common cause of skin allergies, to which you’re especially susceptible now," said dermatologist David E. Bank in Fit Pregnancy. If you're concerned about an allergy flare-up, then just enjoy your perfume on your clothes or wrists for the time being. Hopefully, though, both you and your signature scent will get through your pregnancy without any problems.