Thanks to all the fatigue and morning sickness, maintaining a clean house can be a challenge during pregnancy. Moreover, there are a number of activities that are either physically too exhausting or toxic. Enlisted here, are certain household chores to avoid during pregnancy.
A reason to skip the chores…
A study published in the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, showed that the “boring and sedentary” nature of household chores can lead to premature birth and low birth weight of the baby.
As a pregnant woman, it is common to feel like you are being driven by your hormones. Apart from battling a host of physical symptoms like constipation, morning sickness and fatigue, pregnant women have to go through a number of emotional upheavals as well. One day you are happy, the next day you are crying inconsolably and there are some days that you feel like you can finish the entire contents of the refrigerator, and still be famished.
Then there are days when your nesting instinct goes on an overdrive, and you cannot tolerate even a speck of dust in the house. While the urge to spring clean the entire place may be strong but doing heavy household chores may not be safe for an expecting mum.
You may want your household running smoothly even when you are heavily pregnant but there are certain tasks that might pose complications during pregnancy, and even lead to premature delivery. The urge to push ahead and fulfill the responsibilities despite feeling exhausted may be there but to ensure that your unborn baby is fine, there are some things that you have to avoid. This HerHaleness article presents a list of household tasks that are either physically too strenuous or toxic for a pregnant woman.
Household Chores to Avoid While Pregnant
Lifting Heavy Laundry Baskets
The first thing that your healthcare provider, your mum, your friends and even your next-door neighbor will warn you against, is lifting or moving heavy weights during pregnancy. The strain of carrying a growing baby and your center of gravity moving forward can leave your back strained and aching all the time. To top it, when you carry heavy loads, like a full laundry hamper which probably weighs as much as 20 pounds, you are just making things harder for yourself. So, when you need to carry a bucket of water, heavy furniture, a bag full of groceries or even another child, try getting help from someone.
Vacuuming the Floor
Bending for long hours to do chores like vacuuming, sweeping or removing the mess from the floor, can leave you tired and your back aching. Moreover, these jobs can lead to sciatica, a painful swelling of the sciatic nerve that runs down the back to the legs, which is aggravated due to weight gain and pressure on the uterus during pregnancy. If you feel a sharp lower back pain and numbness then take a break and get off your feet, to relieve the pressure off the nerve.
Killing Those Bugs
Chemical-heavy cleaning products can be toxic for a pregnant woman. It may be difficult to stay with pest around but if the alternative is a long-term exposure to pesticides, then you should just learn to live with insects for a while. This is because the chemicals in pesticides and other harsh cleaning agents, with strong fumes, are linked to neural tube defects, and deformities of the heart and limbs. Try to skip these chemicals and use ingredients like baking soda and lemon to clean the house. If you must use chemical-laden products, then make sure you do so in moderation. Wear protective gloves and cover your mouth to avoid any accidental inhalation.
Cooking a Large Meal
Pregnant women get these bursts of energy that make them want to do a whole lot of things at a go. You may decide to cook a large meal for your family or iron a whole lot of clothes. Standing for long hours to do so can be problematic, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. This is because standing for too long can disrupt the blood flow, increase the risk of high blood pressure and may even lead to premature birth. Even if you are not doing it often, standing for long durations can leave you with swollen feet.
There is nothing wrong with cleaning shelves, windows or fans but if you are perched on stools and ladders while doing so, then it might be very risky. With a growing belly, the center of gravity of that lady changes during pregnancy. This makes a pregnant woman extremely susceptible to falls.
Cleaning the Cat Litter Box
As much as you love your cat, cleaning its litter box may not be your favorite household chore for sure. During pregnancy, you can get away with not doing this. This is because cat litter contains a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. Although this infection is hardly severe for adults, it can harm the unborn baby, causing vision loss and brain damage. Digging the soil or gardening where an infected cat has left its feces can also lead to the infection being passed on to a pregnant woman.
What You Can Do
- Enlist some help with chores. Ask your husband or a family members for help with certain tasks.
- Distribute your household chores in such a way that you do not require to do large number of tasks at the same time.
- Think simple, and try not to go overboard when doing things like cooking a fancy meal or cleaning all the bathrooms at the same time.
- If you are tired, stop and rest.
Being pregnant does not mean that you stop moving or keep your house in a mess. Being active during pregnancy is essential for a healthy mom-to-be as it keeps the weight in check, prevents pregnancy complications and allows new mothers to care for their babies better. However, some work that is extremely strenuous should be avoided for the safety of the mother and the baby.