Household Cleaning Safety During Pregnancy
While pregnant your body can become more sensitive and you might worry about things that didn’t cross your mind before, like cleaning and the safety of the products you’re using.
Although you can find a variety of non-toxic and organic cleaning products, you might not be aware of what’s inside some of those household cleaning products that you’re about to use. Likewise, you also want to be careful about how much strain you’re putting on your body while cleaning – bending, kneeling or lifting heavy furniture.
Before you start cleaning
1. Read the labels
Although you’ve been using a particular product for quite some time before becoming pregnant, you may have never read the labels until now. Be sure to go through the description as well as the caution notes that are there for a reason. Some chemicals state not to be sprayed against hot water because the fumes can get stronger. If you’re not sure whether to use a particular product, it’s best to ditch it and find one that you feel comfortable using while pregnant.
2. Open the windows
This is an important step before beginning any chores around the house, even dusting. Opening up the windows allows fresh air to enter the space to allow you to breathe properly while avoiding the risk of inhaling potentially dangerous fumes. You’ll also enjoy some natural light at the same time!
3. Wear gloves or protective gear
To avoid damaging your skin it’s best to wear rubber gloves when cleaning the toilet, shower or basin. You can also wear a face mask if you’re suffering from nausea and scent sensitivity while pregnant – which is common during the first trimester.
Cleaning products to watch out for
Although all cleaning products should be used with caution, there are particular products that might be best to avoid. Otherwise, ask someone else to do that specific job for you – perhaps your partner, parent or a professional cleaner that can help every two to three weeks.
Some oven cleaners and bathroom cleaners contain harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia. These two should never be mixed together, (even if you’re not pregnant) as the fumes can be hazardous to inhale.
If you need to clean any mould off of your bathroom tiles, try and get another person to complete this job for you.
If you’re concerned about the risks of using store-bought cleaning products, you can try and make your own, such as the traditional vinegar and baking soda combination.
Essential oils like Eucalyptus oil are excellent for disinfecting and are natural compared to many store-bought cleaning products that are harsher and stronger in smell. Eucalyptus oil has many household benefits and can also be used to clean floors or as a grease remover.
There are a range of essential oils that should be avoided during pregnancy, so before using any product, it’s best to do your research first.
- Lemon juice and tea tree oil
- Lavender oil
- Lemon and olive oil for furniture polishing
As a last resort, you can also purchase organic cleaning products from health stores or any specialty shops – but they can be pricey.
Risks of inhaling cleaning chemicals
Obviously breathing in chemicals at any stage of your life can be dangerous, but it’s especially vital to be extra cautious while carrying your future bundle of joy. There are risks associated with inhaling chemicals if you’re not aware already.
- Your baby can develop wheezing after they’re born
- The chemicals can affect your baby’s lungs and other organs
- If you already have an immune disorder or a compromised immune system, breathing in chemicals adds another potential risk to your baby’s health
- Pesticides can contribute to miscarriage, preterm labour and birth defects
- Solvents have been known to increase the risk of miscarriage (almost three times more) than unexposed pregnant women
Chores to avoid while pregnant
Most household chores are safe while pregnant, as long as you follow the necessary steps explained above, including correct ventilation and the use of non-toxic cleaning products. However, there are a few chores that you should skip on as an expectant mother.
- Don’t move heavy furniture (it doesn’t matter how strong you think you are)
- Leave the changing of the cat litter box to someone else
- Don’t paint the house or do any intense renovations while pregnant
- Don’t use insect repellents (even if you’re super scared of spiders)
Other tips to keep in mind:
Take regular breaks in between cleaning, or leave another big task until the next day (If you have two bathrooms, do them over two days instead of one)
- Always wash your hands after cleaning, or take a shower
- Wait until kitchen benches are completely dry after cleaning before preparing food
- Leave the room that was mopped or cleaned with chemicals and don’t renter until it has aired / or the floor has dried
- Allow the bathroom to air after cleaning by turning on the heating fan or opening the windows
- Wear daggy clothes while cleaning and then wash them – wear these exclusively for cleaning
- Don’t go too long without vacuuming as dust can build up
When it comes to cleaning and household chores while pregnant, it’s key to remember that you’re carrying a vulnerable unborn baby. Don’t overdo it and strain your body in the process by thinking that you have to get everything done in one day. It’s okay to take regular breaks while cleaning, or leave specific tasks for your partner or a cleaner to complete instead. If you decide you want to clean bathrooms, surfaces, floors and the oven, opt for DIY materials or organic products that won’t expose you to the harsh chemicals that are found in store-bought products.