Air Fresheners & Pregnancy

You may normally use air fresheners to freshen up your home or work area. However, it is important to evaluate the safety of the products that you use during pregnancy. In addition to the potential for triggering sensitivities to chemicals and scents during pregnancy, some air fresheners contain chemicals that can be harmful.

General Effects

The chemicals used in air fresheners can irritate your skin, throat and eyes 2. According to James T. Li, M.D., long-term use of air fresheners can contribute to indoor pollution, asthma and lung problems. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make you sensitive to different scents and environmental irritants, causing air fresheners to be a potential cause of sickness or irritation.


Some air fresheners contain phthalates, which can be inhaled or land on the skin and absorb. The National Resources Defense Council states that phthalates can cause hormonal abnormalities and birth defects. These chemicals can even be found in air fresheners that do not list phthalates as an ingredient.

Safe Use

If you plan to use air fresheners during your pregnancy, ask your doctor about the type and brand you are using to find out if it is safe. When using air fresheners, try to use them minimally. Baby Center recommends opening the windows to help ventilate the area.

Other Options

There are other ways that you can safely make an area smell fresh and clean without using air freshener. In addition to ventilating the area, you can sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of wastebaskets to absorb odors. You can also try lighting a candle or grinding lemon slices in a garbage disposal.


Talk to your doctor before using anything that can be a cause for concern during pregnancy. This includes other cleaning products and medications. Your doctor may be able to recommend safe alternatives for the products you currently use.