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I am hoping you can help ease my mind.   I am thirty three years old and pregnant with my first child. My husband and I are absolutely thrilled. Since I found out I was pregnant, I have been exceptionally healthy.  I have continued my exercise routine and made sure to eat enough varied nutrition.  At the 8 week mark (I am currently 16 weeks), I went with my husband's family up to their cabin in the woods. His mother decided that while most people were out playing in the snow and having fun, that she would use the oven's self cleaner button to clean the oven.  This cabin is small and its oven is original from the late 70s.  In any case, I decided to stay with his mother all day inside the cabin, not thinking about any possible effects.  After 6 hours of staying in the house with no ventilation, I began having severe cramps (my first cramps ever).  There was no bleeding, but, these cramps lasted a good 20 to 30 minutes on and off.  The rest of his family also began complaining about having upset stomachs. My husband got diarrhea and his mother also had an upset stomach.  With that, I realized that the oven cleaning toxins might have taken a toll on all of us.  My husband and I left the house to go home after dinner due to worrying about the oven's possible toxins and its effects on the baby.  I am worried that I might have done damage to the baby in terms of birth defects or autism.  I just recently had my NT testing and everything came back clear and normal.  I have a couple questions.  1- Can the self cleaning oven toxins do damage to an 8 week old baby?  2 - If the toxins did cause a birth defect would it show up in the NT screening or AFP Test? 3 - In your opinion, are the cramps a sign of anything serious?

Thanks in advance for your time and help.  I am really looking forward to your response.

Answer
There is not a wide variety of research done on self cleaning ovens, and little of the information is helpful in determining whether or not it could have a harmful affect on the baby.  In doing some research I did learn that most older ovens with the self cleaning option are lined with Teflon and that alone can emit gasses that may kill birds. I have read that use of chemicals while using the self cleaning option is not recommended due to the excessive fumes and toxins released into the air. However, this being said, there are also no reports on self cleaning ovens affecting a baby in utero or causing any birth defects. This is a good thing, should that have occurred, you would have ample reason to be concerned, however with no indications that this could affect the baby, that should be a good sign. As a precautionary measure, I would not be in the path of a self cleaning oven for the remainder of the pregnancy. But I do not feel that you have hurt the baby. You may have experienced a stomach bug, food poisoning or some other form of gastrointestinal upset. This will cause cramping in anyone, especially in an expectant mother. There may not have been a link between the stomach upset, cramping and the self cleaning oven you were exposed to. The NT and AFP tests are useful in determining the potential for birth defects or syndromes, however they are not always accurate for unknown reasons. I have seen women have a positive reading for down syndrome and their child was born perfectly normal. I rarely see false negatives, however I would not worry about this. I feel you are overall in great shape. I wish you the best of luck with your pregnancy. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me further.

Sincerely,
Cheryl Hetherington

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Cheryl Hatcher

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I can answer any questions concerning any and all pregnancy related concerns including: High risk pregnancies, Gestational Diabetes, multiple birth, premature birth, complications, concerns/worries, placenta previa, toxemia/pre-ecclampsia and more. I prefer not to answer questions that are not related to a diagnosed pregnancy. Please note: You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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I have an astute knowledge of the obstetrical field.

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I worked in Labor and Delivery at a hospital.

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