Household Chores to Avoid During Pregnancy

When you’re in the process of doing something incredible, like building the body of a new human being inside your own body, it can be frustrating to find you can no longer easily do simple things, like tying your shoes. Especially when it feels like more things need to be done than ever when you’re expecting a baby! You may be in full nesting mode, however, there are some household tasks you’ll want to steer clear of. 
Household chores to avoid:

Heavy Lifting 

As the baby grows each day, you will be doing enough heavy lifting just to get yourself from point A to point B! All jokes aside, it may be tempting to pull those boxes of baby clothes down from the attic or lug the box of parts for the baby's new crib upstairs, but leave the heavy lifting to someone else. This includes pushing and pulling furniture!

The Why: Your body produces hormones that can loosen ligaments during pregnancy, making you more prone to injuries, like back strain. 

Instead: If you aren’t able to enlist someone else to do the heavy lifting for you, consider leaving things where they are and working around them until the baby arrives. We want to have everything perfect and ready to go before the baby gets here, but the truth is a lot of those things won’t make a huge difference right away. The baby will have limited wardrobe needs for the first few months and will likely not be sleeping in their full-sized crib immediately. Rock the newborn onesies and have a small bassinet ready to go. There will be time to move things where you want them after the baby arrives, and you are feeling up to it. 

Extended, Sustained Activities 

This can look like standing for a long period or doing a repetitive action without breaks. For example, you may not want to power through mopping and vacuuming the entire house, unless you’re taking time to rest intermittently throughout. 

The Why: With extra blood circulating throughout your body and additional energy being utilized to support your growing baby, it can be easy to overdo it, or become winded while working. Also, as mentioned with heavy lifting, your body is more prone to injury and pulled muscles. 

Instead: Rest! If you can’t avoid strenuous, time-intensive tasks completely, spread them out with as many breaks as possible. And be sure to keep yourself hydrated. 

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Use of Harsh Chemicals 

Painting the nursery is a favorite memory for many new parents; however, fumes can leave you dizzy and worrying whether your baby has been harmed. While most paint is probably fine in moderation, you want to be able to prep and clean your home for your little one’s arrival confidently. Always check labels for warnings, use gloves when possible, and work in a well-ventilated area. If you have a question, reach out to your doctor or birth center. 

The Why:

Chemicals found in household cleaners can be harmful. These chemicals can hide in bug sprays, air fresheners, and even your car's gas tank or lawn mower. The chemicals can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled as toxic fumes, which may hurt both you and your baby. 

Instead: Skip air fresheners (which can make you nauseous anyway) and opt for natural, simple cleaning ingredients, like vinegar and dish soap, when possible. 

Climbing or Balancing 

The artwork you ordered for the baby's room has arrived and you’re itching to get it on the wall, so you can see your vision come together. Before you drag out the step stool or ladder, consider asking for help instead. 

The Why:

Tasks like hanging pictures or curtains can result in loss of balance and dangerous falls. Climbing is particularly risky while pregnant because your center of balance is shifting and you may not be as accustomed to your new body. What may seem like a small fall for you can be serious or even fatal for your unborn baby. It's better to keep your feet on the ground until after your baby is safely delivered. 

Instead: Wait until the baby arrives or enlist help. Use a sturdy ladder on a flat, firm surface if you absolutely must go up high. Place it near your targeted area to avoid leaning. 

Litter Boxes and Gardening 

Most pregnant women hear the lecture about not cleaning out the litter box while pregnant from their doctor or birth specialist. But did you know that garden work can be just as risky? 

The Why: Cats can carry a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. They can get this parasite by eating raw meat, including those they’ve caught, such as rodents or birds. Coming in contact with a kitty’s waste can cause an infection that could lead to serious complications, including miscarriage. The litter box is stinky anyway, which is NOT fun with your pregnancy super nose! 

Many people don’t know that you can also contract this parasite while gardening if a wild or stray animal has used your garden as a bathroom, or by eating undercooked meat yourself. 

Instead: Wear gloves and take the time to wash your hands carefully and thoroughly after handling potentially contaminated substances. Be sure to cook your meat thoroughly to avoid getting sick. 

With energy levels low and your gag reflex in full swing, it’s a good idea to delegate household tasks wherever possible, especially ones that could potentially put you and your baby at risk. Recruit friends and family, or look into hiring a house cleaner or a handyman/woman. Right now, you deserve as much rest as you can get! Nothing is more important than your baby arriving as safely as possible.

 

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