Housekeeping during pregnancy is one of the challenges you may face. We have compiled some recommendations for a more comfortable pregnancy.
Most women would not mind having a personal maid to keep their homes tidy and clean. When you’re pregnant you may have an overwhelming need to clean the garage, closets and everything between the ceilings and baseboards. It’s all part of the nesting urge scientists and geneticists can’t explain.
As a doula, Bradley Method childbirth instructor and mother of two Bonnie Delgado of San Gabriel, California, tells her clients to fight the urge to make everything immaculate. “Nesting is about preparing everything for the baby,” she says. “Women go through a spurt of wanting to have everything very clean. That usually happens right before they go into labor. That’s where they can fall into the tendency to use chlorine or chemicals that are really harsh.“
When cleaning, use non-toxic cleaning agents and avoid chemicals, she says. “You do want a clean environment, but the baby is going to be used to the same germs you have gotten used to in your environment,” Delgado says. “There are a lot of products on the market now you can use that are not harmful or toxic. That’s very important. I tell my moms if you can’t ingest it, it’s probably not a good idea to be in direct contact with it. The vapors and fumes, all of that is absorbed.”
Delgado says general housekeeping during pregnancy should suffice. “They can tidy up and vacuum and dust but I tell them to avoid at all costs going into this disinfecting craze that is ingrained in us,” she says. “We want to have it immaculately clean, but either get someone to do the cleaning for you or do your general cleaning with products that are non-toxic.”
You can learn about pregnancy stages and get week by week pregnancy information in our website.
Being Tidy is Vital
One of the best ways to keep a home clean is by having the home organized with items arranged in a practical and functional manner. In preparation for your baby’s birth, you can arrange a special room for breastfeeding or a station for changing diapers.
To learn about diaper types : The Diapering Dilemma Cloth vs Disposable
“Have a basket close at hand with diapers, little wash clothes, a snack for mom,” Delgado says. “If she is breastfeeding it’s a good idea to have a station prepared so when she sits back to breastfeed the baby, there is a large glass of water or tea because she is going to get thirsty. You will not want to break the breastfeeding session to get a glass of water.”
When your home is organized and neat with a place for everything and everything in its place, it’s easier to see what needs to be done. Keep laundry baskets in every bedroom so you can more efficiently collect soiled laundry.
Although it’s generally safe to clean up messes in the home during your pregnancy, it’s a good idea to let someone else take over the duties if someone is ill in the family or if the cat litter box needs to be changed. “That’s when Dad steps in and takes over some of those duties, especially if there is another child who is ill or you have a newborn baby or you are about to give birth,” says Delgado.
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Karla A. J., a nurse and worker in a genetics department at Cleveland, Ohio, says it’s important to keep exposure to chemicals to a minimum during pregnancy, but the risks for birth defects are slim. “Most women clean their houses and thousands of babies are born,” Karla says. “The risk of birth defects is the same regardless. Anybody who gets pregnant has a 3 to 5 percent risk of having a baby who has an isolated birth defect. That figure changes if you have a family history or other risks because of your age or as far as environmental exposures, but it depends on what you are exposed to.”
Karla says many experts believe ammonia or chlorine, found in many household cleaning products, may cause you to feel nauseous but are not likely to harm your baby. Make sure to use rubber gloves when using cleaning products and never mix ammonia and chlorine products, as it will produce dangerous fumes.
“Try and keep down exposures to chemicals in general,” she says. “Deciding you want to go and paint the house with all the windows closed is probably not a great idea when you are pregnant. If you decided to paint a bureau out in the open with lots of good ventilation, you are probably not at any increased risk.“
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During your pregnancy is a good time to try homemade cleaning solutions such as vinegar and water for cleaning windows and mirrors. Use one part vinegar and three parts water. Try putting equal parts of white vinegar and liquid dishwashing soap into a spray bottle to apply to spots and stains while doing laundry.
You may use baking soda to replace scouring powder as a toilet bowl, tub and sink cleaner. Also, clean ovens by making a paste out of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the oven surface and let it stand for a few minutes. Use a scouring pad to scrub and a spatula to get rid of large food deposits.
Finally, in your quest for a clean home, don’t step up on ladders, chairs or tables because you don’t want to risk falling. Opt instead for dusters with extensions or long-handled dusters.
Having a strong desire to clean is natural. Your urge may be satisfied by spending time organizing and planning for the new member of the household and delegating the grunt of the cleaning duties to another person. (Housekeeping During Pregnancy)
Cleaning Materials to Avoid
Before you conceive or early in your pregnancy, it’s a good idea to identify products in your home that could be harmful. Be wary of the following chemicals:
- P-dichlorobenzene is a chemical frequently found in sanitizers such as toilet bowl cleaners. People who have prolonged exposure may develop anorexia, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, liver disease and could lead to death in some cases. Also, check our article about nausea during pregnancy : Ways to Reduce Nausea in Pregnancy
- Formaldehyde is a chemical found in cleaning agents and air fresheners. Experts say formaldehyde is commonly used to suppress the central nervous system smell receptors so we cannot smell bad smells. It may cause cancer, disrupt the menstrual cycle and cause miscarriage and birth defects.
- Ethylene glycol butyl ether (2-butoxyethanol) is a solvent found in some carpet cleaners. It may cause reproductive problems as well as blood disorders and liver and kidney problems.
- Chloramine gas is formed when bleach and ammonia, used for general cleaning, are combined. Exposure to chloramine gas can result in sore throat, cough, wheezing and pulmonary edema.
- Acid-containing products such as drain cleaners with sulfuric acid or sodium hydroxide are dangerous because of the corrosive nature of the compounds. If you have been exposed to acid-containing products you may damage the surface layers of your tissues or skin. If you ingest acid-containing products you may have abdominal pain, vomiting or nausea and sustain severe esophageal and gastric burns.
Our articles are prepared to give advice. Always consult your doctor first for any problems and exact information.
The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons and to protect privacy.