Most expectant mothers have one thing on their mind: Staying safe and healthy so they can give their baby the best start in life. If you’re pregnant, you already know to avoid cigarette smoke, alcohol, caffeine, and risky foods like sushi – but what about cleaning products?
Until recently, being pregnant wasn’t considered a barrier to doing basic household chores, as long as they didn’t involve any heavy lifting. As our knowledge of the toxic chemicals in cleaning products increases, however, many moms are questioning the wisdom of cleaning while they’re expecting. Likewise, today’s moms have to balance more commitments than their ancestors did: When you’re already tired from working outside the home, housekeeping can feel exhausting.
For these reasons, many expectant mothers hire professional maids rather than doing housework themselves. Hiring a maid prevents direct exposure to cleaning products and contributes to maintaining a healthy work-life balance, which is crucial for new parents.
For those who do have time to clean during pregnancy, trying the tips below can improve comfort and eliminate unnecessary risks:
Choose green cleaning products.
Certain ingredients in conventional cleaning products, like phthalates and phenols, have been linked to reproductive harm in humans. Some researchers also believe they can cause long-term adverse health effects following exposure in the womb.
To protect your baby, only use cleaning products that contain safe, naturally-derived ingredients. Look for products that are stamped with a Green Seal, USDA Bio-Preferred, or EcoLogo sticker, as these have been certified “green” by a regulatory agency. Alternately, you can make safe cleaning solutions at home using lemon juice, white vinegar, baking soda, and water.
Note that you should keep using green cleaning products after your baby is born, too, because infants are more vulnerable to the effects of chemicals than adults.
If you have a cat, get someone else to empty the litter box.
Cats that go outdoors sometimes pick up a parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause toxoplasmosis. While this condition is harmless to most adults, it can cause complications during pregnancy. Fortunately, the only way to pick this parasite up is through direct contact with cat feces, so you don’t have to worry about petting your cat – Just make sure you get someone else to clean his (or her) litter box for you as a precaution. You should also keep your cat indoors while you’re pregnant, if possible, and never feed your pet raw meat. According to the CDC, indoor cats that eat cooked food are very unlikely to transmit toxoplasmosis.
If you can’t get help cleaning your cat’s litter box, you can protect yourself by wearing thick rubber gloves, a face mask, and goggles throughout the cleaning process. When you’re done changing the litter, wash your hands thoroughly in hot, soapy water.
Clean in increments.
It’s normal to experience periods of extreme fatigue when you’re pregnant, especially during the first and third trimesters. If you’re used to doing most of your cleaning on the weekend, you’ll probably have to switch to cleaning in short segments every day to preserve your energy. Getting into the habit of doing a bit of cleaning each day will also help you prepare for after your baby arrives, when you’ll need to work around caring for an infant.
Create a schedule of daily cleaning tasks and research speed-cleaning techniques to make housekeeping as manageable as possible. If you need help with deep cleaning, ask a friend or relative to come by on the weekends or hire a maid.
Be careful when cleaning hard-to-reach places.
Being pregnant can throw off your center of balance because it changes the way your body’s weight is distributed. This puts pregnant women at an increased risk of slips and falls, which can be dangerous for both you and your baby. To minimize this risk while cleaning, avoid standing on chairs, stools, or step-ladders while cleaning hard-to-reach places. Instead, invest in cleaning tools with extendable handles. These tools will allow you to reach the ceiling and the tops of high shelves and cupboards from floor level.
Break laundry down into smaller loads.
A load of laundry can weigh anywhere from seven to 20 pounds. If your doctor has advised you not to do any heavy lifting, you’ll need to modify how you wash your clothes to ensure you don’t strain yourself. Break laundry down into small, light loads, or consider hand-washing a few items at a time if you don’t want to waste water.
Buy a stick or robot vacuum.
Pushing a heavy upright or canister vacuum around the house can aggravate sciatica, a type of painful nerve inflammation frequently seen in pregnant women. If you experience flare-ups of back pain within several hours of vacuuming, try switching to a lighter type of vacuum cleaner – like a stick vacuum – or invest in a robot vacuum.
Note, however, that neither of these options are a good choice for use on thick, deep carpets. If your home has a lot of carpeting or you own pets, you’re better off hiring a professional house cleaner to vacuum and wash your carpets for you. A professional cleaner can get rid of allergens and bacteria in your carpets through the use of hot water extraction technology, leaving your home smelling wonderfully clean and fresh.
Affordable Cleaning Help in Louisville for Expecting Moms
Physical discomfort – particularly back pain – is common during the last few months of pregnancy, even for women who don’t have sciatica. If cleaning has become difficult for you despite using the strategies above, why not give yourself a break and let us take over? Our affordable maids in Louisville, Kentucky can help you keep your home spotless, so you can relax and enjoy your new arrival. Use our convenient online booking form to arrange your first appointment today and spend the day having fun at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest.