Pregnancy is a time when you get sudden urges for the weirdest of things – from chewing on sour tamarind in the middle of the night, to washing the dishes all over just because you feel like it. However, pregnancy is also a time when you need to take a little extra care of yourself as there is another life living inside you.
Although taking care of your diet is important, another aspect of life that requires ample attention is the household chores that you should and should not do during pregnancy. Yes, there are certain household chores you’re best to avoid during pregnancy. In order to enjoy a healthy pregnancy, it’s necessary for you to follow certain guidelines on every factor that may impact your developing baby.
Being active and doing a bit of exercise is important while you’re pregnant, but at the same time, there are certain household chores that can prove disastrous for you and your unborn baby. Being safe is important for you to be able to enjoy a healthy and sound pregnancy, so make sure that you avoid the household chores mentioned below:
7 Any Chores that Involve Heavy Lifting
Being pregnant demands that you stop lifting heavy items, particularly during the first trimester. With time, there will be a lot of strain on your back and with your body going through so many changes, there’s no reason at all for you to increase your discomfort.
Remember, you will be carrying your baby’s weight too and your center of gravity will move forward, so it’s best for you to just avoid lifting heavy weight items during your pregnancy. If you continue to lift heavy items, it will just increase your risk of having a back injury and/or discomfort.
To avoid this, it’s best for you to ask for some help when you have to do things like carry in the groceries, unpacking the furniture you bought for your baby, taking out the garbage, carrying loads of laundry and rearranging the furniture around your place. There are no safe limits as such for lifting or moving weight during pregnancy.
All through this time, the way you hold yourself is going to change, which is why exerting yourself to lift or move heavy items is just going to put you at risk of a serious back injury. The worst part is that lifting heavy objects can at times trigger bleeding, premature labor and may even rupture the amniotic sac.
If you have to lift a heavy object, make sure that you bend at your knees instead of your waist. While you are at it, keep your back straight as you bend at your knees and push up with your legs. Also, do not make any sudden movements when lifting heavy items during pregnancy.
6 Using Chemical Cleaning Products
Chemical cleaning products can be literally toxic for you during pregnancy. You should try to either completely ignore using chemical cleaning products, or use lesser amounts of the same. Also, if you simply must use these for cleaning purposes, make sure that you do so while wearing gloves. The room where these have to be used (even in the smallest quantity) should be well-ventilated.
If possible, try to keep your home clean using safe and natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda. The utilization of chemical-heavy products can be very harmful for you during pregnancy. For this reason, it’s best for you to use natural products to clean your place. However, if it’s necessary for you to use chemical products, then it is best to do so in moderation.
If something smells harsh, it‘s best for you to stay away from it. Instead of using these, make your own green cleaners at home with lemon juice, white vinegar and baking soda. You should particularly avoid carpet cleaners, oven cleaners, paint thinners, certain paints and varnish removers.
A few more tips
It is highly recommended for you to speak to your doctor about any chemicals that you may use at home during pregnancy for cleaning purposes. Also, make sure that you read product labels when purchasing chemicals. Those that say toxic should be avoided at all costs. When using chemicals make sure that you use rubber gloves and leave the windows open for ventilation purposes.
While you are at it, never mix ammonia and chlorine products as the fumes can be extremely dangerous even to women who are not pregnant.
5 Refrain From Changing Cat Litter
Yep, you need to stay away from that cat pooh too during pregnancy. Why so? Well, for the simple reason that cat feces may contain a parasite that is known to cause the infection ‘toxoplasmosis’. Even if the infection doesn’t bother you much, it can prove to be deadly for your baby even in the womb. Apart from that, cleaning up cat poop can expose you to many germs and the infections they may trigger are best avoided by pregnant women.
The biggest risk to a developing baby is toxoplasmosis. This is an infection transmitted by a parasite that mainly lives in cat feces. The infection is so deadly that it can affect your baby even if you contract the infection shortly before getting pregnant. If you want to read up on dealing with toxoplasmosis during pregnancy, make sure that you read Baby Gaga’s detailed article on the topic here.
The infection can prove to be deadly for your developing baby and it’s for this reason that you should avoid cleaning cat poop all through your pregnancy. However, if it’s an absolute must for you to handle cat poop, make sure that you do so while wearing gloves and then wash your hands properly afterwards. If possible, it’s best for you to get someone else to do it.
Wash those vegetables too
It is also highly recommended for you to thoroughly wash vegetables before eating irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not. This is meant to help you avoid contracting toxoplasmosis in case the vegetables have been contaminated with soil where a cat may have been.
4 Refinishing Furniture with Toxic Chemicals
You may think it’s the perfect time to refinish that antique baby furniture, but it’s best for you to get someone else to do it for you. Why so? For the simple reason that you should avoid coming into contact with chemical solvents that are typically found in furniture stripping products, varnish and paint removers – these chemicals can pose a serious health risk to you and your developing baby.
Instead of doing bits and pieces of work, it’s highly recommended for you to get someone else to work on refinishing the furniture during your pregnancy to be 100% safe. If you want, you can also wait and do the work yourself once you’ve delivered your precious bundle of joy. Studies have associated these products with birth defects and miscarriage, so make sure that you stay away from them.
However, if you can’t wait to get things started, there are safety measures that you should pay attention to and use products that are safer than others. Any products that contain chemical solvents such as paint removers, furniture stripping products and varnish are best avoided during pregnancy.
Steps you need to take to reduce your risk
As stated, it’s best for you to look for products that don’t contain solvents and can easily be cleaned up with water. Also, it’s highly recommended for you to take precautions while working so you reduce your exposure to fumes. This can be done by working in a well-ventilated area or in the outdoors.
3 Refrain From Bending Constantly
This applies to chores like sweeping, washing clothes and clearing litter on the floor – basically any task that requires you to bend constantly should be avoided all through your pregnancy. Constant bending will affect your back, and may cause a serious injury. For this reason, it’s best for you to leave such jobs to someone else in your family.
In case there’s no one to help you out, it’s recommended for you to crouch instead of bending if you need to pick up something. Another chore for you to avoid during pregnancy is mopping. Yes, it’s alright for you to sweep up small spaces, but if you mop up a huge area, there is a good chance that it will aggravate your lower back.
You should also refrain from lugging around the vacuum cleaner for the simple reason that it may also put a strain on your back. But if you’re totally committed to keeping the house clean and getting the floors to shine their best, it’s highly recommended for you to take lots of breaks in between so you can rest every now and then.
Problems that may be triggered by mopping and vacuuming
Both these chores can aggravate sciatica – a painful inflammation of the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back down the entire leg. This problem is fairly common during pregnancy because of weight gain and pressure placed on the nerve by the uterus, and performing chores that require pregnant women to lean forward or bend at an angle.
2 Cleaning Curtains and Ceiling Fans
The reason why you need to avoid these tasks and all others that require you to climb on stools or ladders is because these require you to maintain balance – and this can be rather troublesome during pregnancy. You need to bear in mind the fact that pregnant women are extremely vulnerable to falls and the impact could be rather dangerous.
For this reason, it is best for you to even avoid standing on stools, tables or low steps. Climbing on stools and ladders to clean curtains and ceiling fans is extremely dangerous all through your pregnancy. Doing this may put you at risk of losing your balance and falling, which is why it is best for you to avoid these chores.
Instead of taking things in your own hands, be patient and wait for assistance irrespective of how important the chore is at the moment. If you need something from the upper shelf of the kitchen cupboard or need to get a few things from the loft, ask for help – don’t do it yourself. Stop yourself from getting into a cleaning frenzy and ask others to help you out – it’s worth the wait.
If your carpet needs to be shampooed or the curtains need a good cleaning, it’s best for you to delegate these chores instead of pushing yourself to work on them. During pregnancy, the connective tissues in your body softens, thereby leaving you prone to injuries. You could easily hire professional curtain and carpet cleaners to do the job – either you call the pros or get your husband to do it!
1 Painting the Baby’s Room
Yes, I know how exciting this task is in terms of preparing for your newborn’s arrival, but you need to remember that the paints and sealants used in this task give off fumes that can be extremely harmful to your unborn baby. For instance, just sanding or scraping old paint can trigger the release of toxic particles into the air you breathe.
If you still want to continue painting your baby’s room, it’s highly recommended for you to choose a water-based paint designed for indoor use – and make sure that you carefully check the label for mercury or lead. In case the renovation involves using oil based paint, make sure that you’re out of the house while professionals or your husband to work on it, and don’t step in till the paint has dried.
Certain paints contain ingredients that should be seriously avoided during pregnancy. Paint basically consists of a pigment or dye that is suspended in a liquid to which solvents, thinners and drying agents may have been added. This particular pigment is also known to contain metals like aluminum, zinc and lead.
Precautions for you to adhere to
In case your profession deems it necessary for you to be exposed to oil-based paints on a regular basis, then there are certain safety measures that you need to take. It’s vital for you to limit the amount of time you spend working with oil-based paints. It’s suggested that you to use your best judgment considering there are no set limits on how much exposure is safe.
If you start feeling ill from the fumes, stop working and stay out in the fresh air until you feel better.