Just like a sudden passion for wacky food combinations, the urge to scour every inch of the house is common during pregnancy. Before you pull on your yellow gloves, check our dos and don’ts to learn when to give in to your nesting urges, and when to leave the cleaning to someone else.
Use All-Natural Cleaners
Most cleaners are safe to use during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. If a product’s smell is too harsh or makes you nauseated, or if solutions irritate your skin, switching to an all-natural version may help. Expecting parents who are worried about chemical exposure may also prefer natural cleaners. Homemade cleaners based on vinegar or baking soda work well. At the store, look for “eco-friendly” or “natural” labels to find gentler products.
Generally speaking, your immune system isn’t at its strongest during pregnancy. You may notice that you’re more susceptible to minor bugs, or that environmental irritants bother you more. Gloves and/or a face mask can protect your skin from harsh cleaning products.
Fling open the windows or turn on a fan. A breath of fresh air will help you feel more comfortable and lessen your exposure to cleaning fumes. And if you decide what you really need is to get outside while your partner takes over cleaning, go ahead and do it!
Some types of mold have been associated with health problems. While there’s little clear evidence linking mold exposure with pregnancy risks, it may be prudent to keep your distance. If you have no choice but to clean away mold, wear a face mask and gloves to reduce contact with any spores.
Deep Clean the Oven
Harsh chemicals and a small area that’s hard to ventilate make oven cleaning a no-go during pregnancy. Leave this task to your partner, a family member, or a hired cleaner.
Change the Litter Box
This is the chore all cat owners are happy to hand off! Cats often carry Toxoplasma gondii, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. This disease can cause serious complications in an unborn baby. You can keep snuggling your cat on the couch, but steer clear of the litter box.
Dusty ceiling fans and cobwebbed corners will have to wait. Leaning from a ladder is even more precarious when a growing bump makes it hard to find your balance. Avoiding falls is smarter for you and the baby. Ask for help hanging curtains or tidying hard-to-reach spots.
Staying active is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Sorry to break it to you, but hauling loads of laundry up and down the stairs may actually be a beneficial way to get a little strength training in. The key is, of course, that your doctor agrees to your exercise plan. If you have a higher-risk pregnancy, your OBGYN may recommend that you don’t lift heavy loads, including an overflowing hamper. If you are clear to exercise, remember to squat to pick up a laundry hamper, so you don’t strain your back.
Vacuum and Mop
The strain of the extra weight in your abdomen can put pressure on nerves, causing sciatica pain. Wielding a vacuum cleaner or mop can trigger that pain, either during or after the period that you clean. Delegate tasks that make you sore and rest up when to need to.