The first thing that came to my mind when my pregnancy test strip read positive was how will I manage household work during pregnancy. My guess is most women secretly wish for all their household chores just to vanish when they learn about their pregnancy.
While it is recommended to stay active during whole of pregnancy, not all household chores are safe during pregnancy. Even some household tasks that are considered safe might go off-limits at some point in your pregnancy.
When it comes to household works the basic rule is, do only as much your body allows you to do. No matter how simple the task is if your body gives you a warning signal you are overdoing it, stop it then and there.
Find out everything about household work during pregnancy-what do and what to avoid.
Is It Safe to Do Household Work During Pregnancy?
Not all women can afford to hire a maid when they are pregnant. Also, for many women, household work is a means of keeping themselves active and busy. It a good way to remain physically fit throughout pregnancy.
One doesn’t have to refrain from household chores completely just because of being pregnant. However, during pregnancy, there are some rules to follow while doing some chores.
Also, just remember to stay away from certain works that pose a hazard to you and your child in the womb. In that case, you can seek the help of your family member or your husband to do those works. Minor cleaning during pregnancy is allowed.
So, no need to hesitate to organize things, medicines, toiletries, etc in racks. Even while doing a simple chore, it is important to listen to your body’s signal. Plan a day’s work beforehand and always include a good amount of resting time in between each housework.
Warning Signs To Stop Doing Household Chores During Pregnancy
Other than household work that demands exposure to harmful chemicals and microbes, almost all household chores are safe to do during the initial month of pregnancy.
However, it is advisable to stay away from repetitive and monotonous tasks. This type of household work can potentially increase stress hormones due to boredom. Increased level of stressed hormone can impede the health of the mother and normal progression of pregnancy
If you experience any of the following signs, stop housework at once and consult your doctor:
- Experience back pain or any kind of pain or cramps
- Feeling nauseous
- Feeling extremely tired
- Blurred vision
- Numbness, swelling, or pain in the legs or any part of the body.
Household Work During Pregnancy- What You Can Do
Here is a list of some common household works that you can safely continue during pregnancy.
Cooking during pregnancy is safe. You can continue your normal cooking routine during your pregnancy as well. However, the only thing that keeps expecting mothers to stay away from cooking during their first trimester is certain smells that make them sick.
This is because many pregnant women experience a heightened sense of smell sensitivity during pregnancy.
Other than that, continuing cooking during the first and second trimester of pregnancy is safe. However, when you get into the third trimester, cooking won’t be that easy. The growing pregnancy belly might get in the way of your cooking, especially of it involves standing for longer hours.
The growing belly will not allow you to see things below your knees. This increases the chances of a trip or slip. Therefore, make sure the kitchen floor is dry and clutter-free. You can keep a dry mop at your reach and mop the spilled water and other liquids then and there.
Also, keep a chair nearby. Sit whenever possible. Standing for long hours during pregnancy is not appreciated. Sip water now and then throughout the time you are spending time in the kitchen.
This will help to stay well hydrated. And more importantly, spend less time to cook. Plan a simple menu that needs less cooking time. Aim for less effort and more products when it comes to cooking during pregnancy.
2. Cutting & cleaning vegetables
This is one task that can be done easily during pregnancy. Even during the days cooking smell bothering you, you can do this part of cooking and leave the rest to your partner.
Most women are used to stand while peeling and chopping vegetables. Standing for a prolonged time is not advised during pregnancy. Instead, take the supplies to a hall or balcony. Sitting in an airy area while during these chores will make you feel less tired.
Lastly, when it comes to cooking during pregnancy, it is always better to avoid biomass fuels for cooking. Researchers have found that using biomass fuel and poor ventilation during cooking increases the risk of certain pregnancy issues, like anemia
Even if you have a washing machine, some clothes may not stand a machine wash. In that case, you have to do a hand wash. When it comes to washing clothes during pregnancy, it is fine to do if you follow some rules.
First of all, refrain from bending too much. Bending down during pregnancy increases the risk of back pain. You can keep the bucket on a slab as high as above your keens. This way, you may not have to bend a lot. If you have to bend, bend with your knees rather than your spine.
Likewise, washing dishes during pregnancy is also fine, provided, it does not require much effort. However, avoid washing heavily stained cooking vessels that need strong scrubbing. Here you can seek help from other family members.
Also, refrain from standing for more than 15 – 20 minutes at a stretch. Take frequent rests to avoid getting too exhausted
Household Work During Pregnancy What You Should Avoid
For some of the chores we mentioned here, you might not abstain fully during pregnancy. Yet we put those under this list because you should be more careful if you have to do those chores. It can be done by applying some modifications.
When it comes to household work that should be avoided, the basic points you have to keep in mind is
- No heavy lifting
- No exertion
- No direct contact with chemicals or chemical fumes
- No direct contact with dirty wastes
- No tasks that require bending and standing for prolonged periods
Here are some of the household chores that should be avoided during pregnancy.
1. Mopping and sweeping:
Mopping during pregnancy is a big no if you are used to mop with strong disinfectants. Studies have shown, using disinfectants containing glycol ether is not safe during pregnancy. Likewise, sweeping with small brooms necessitate the pregnant women to bend too much.
Even though it is better to avoid mopping and sweeping during pregnancy, you may have to do that. In that case, you can exercise the below tips-
- Mop on alternate days with a handheld mop. The handles should be long enough that you don’t have to bend at all. Make sure the mop is not too heavy for you and you can hold it easily.
- Use a mild and pregnancy-safe disinfectant. Choose natural cleaning products such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon instead of chemical-heavy cleaning products.
- When sweeping during pregnancy, cover the nose and mouth against the dust. Pick brooms with long handles attached to them so you do not have to bend too much.
- Bending too much puts pressure on the sciatic nerve – a nerve that runs from the lower back to the leg. This can cause/ aggravate lower back pain.
2. Cleaning bathrooms and toilets
Cleaning the bathroom floor and tiles is a tedious job. It is wise to stay away from it from the end of the second trimester. By then, the center of gravity of the body shifts. Therefore, pregnant women have increased chances of losing balance.
Cleaning during pregnancy is permitted only if they have access to safe and eco-friendly cleaning solutions. Remember, the chemicals and fumes in the cleaning supplies that you regularly use can adversely affect the developing fetus.
3. Lifting weight
Lifting heavy stuff during pregnancy is a big No. However, in case a pregnant woman gets into a situation that necessitates lifting something light, come to a squat position by bending knees and keeping back straight. Slowly lift the stuff and hold it close to your body rather than away.
Pregnant women should totally refrain from lifting heavyweight as it can trigger not only backache, but it can also cause sudden bleeding, rupture of the amniotic sac, and premature labor. Therefore refrain from moving furniture, carrying laundry bags etc.
4. Work that involves prolonged standing, climbing, or over-stretching
Physical work during pregnancy should not involve climbing a ladder, over-stretching to clean something out of your reach, etc. This is because, as the pregnancy progresses the center of gravity of the body shifts. This increases the risk of losing balance and falling down.
Likewise, work that involves prolonged standing or climbing should also be avoided. Standing for a long time, interrupt the blood flow. This, particularly during the third trimester of pregnancy can bring about swollen and painful feet. It also increases the risk of shooting up blood pressure.
5. Removing household waste or animal litter
Dealing with household waste and animal litter is definitely not the job of a pregnant woman. Clearing kitchen waste alone can make her nauseous. Cleaning pets litter, on the other hand, is not safe for expecting mothers.
Cat litter contains microbes that can potentially cause infection toxoplasmosis in the mother, which is imperative for the baby in the womb. This household chore should be passed to someone else in the family.
In case a situation arises, and you have to deal with it, wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly with soap and plenty of water.
6. Killing pests
No wonder you might have an urge to kill mosquitoes, ants, and cockroaches as soon as you see it. But it is not the job of an expecting mother. The toxic chemical sprays used to kill the pests emit toxic fumes that pose a threat to mother and unborn child.
You don’t have to discontinue doing housework during your pregnancy. Just think twice before taking up any task and seek help whenever you need it. When it comes to the safety of household chores, it is always better to ask the doctor what is safe and what is not.
Depending on the phase of pregnancy (trimester wise), health condition of mother, and depending on if you are having a high risk pregnancy or not, the doctor will provide an apt guidance.
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor will insist not to do any household chore and ask to get adequate rest. In that case, follow the advice given by the doctor.