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Pregnancy is a period where women gain a considerable amount of weight, and their body warrants a re-adjustment in balancing as the weight piles on in one place – the belly. This can make it difficult for pregnant women to manoeuvre. Add to this the feeling of exhaustion and you may find yourself wondering if you should be doing all the housework that you usually perform.
While it is safe to attend to most household activities during pregnancy, some tasks are best avoided or delegated to others. Read on to understand what activities you should and should not do; the risks of a sedentary lifestyle during pregnancy, and the risks associated with doing strenuous household work during this time.
Is It Safe to Do Household Work During Pregnancy?
The answer is rather simple – one has to balance work and rest in order to have a stress-free pregnancy. It is commonly understood that while it is risky to do strenuous work, the contrary is equally unhealthy. A sedentary lifestyle too can have adverse effects on a pregnancy. By and large, therefore, it can be concluded that it is safe to attend to most of the household activities.
Household Work You Can Do While Pregnant
Some basic household chores and tasks can be attended to with relative ease, while some tasks may involve the practice of doing them differently.
- Cutting & cleaning vegetables is one task that can be done effortlessly. Most women are used to cutting vegetables while standing, but pregnant women are recommended to pull up a chair and sit while performing the tasks.
- Sweeping and mopping can also be done with a bit of innovation. It is advised that you pick brooms and mops with long handles attached to them so you do not have to bend too much. Pregnancy puts additional stress due to weight gain and causes a marginal shift in the body’s centre of gravity. This can add stress to the body of the woman performing the chore and aggravate the sciatic nerve – a nerve that runs from the lower back to the leg. Thus, tasks that require bending and standing for prolonged periods should be avoided. If it makes you feel tired, stop the activity immediately and take rest. If you do not have proper long-handled brooms and mops, it is best that someone else does the cleaning.
- Cleaning bathrooms and toilets should only be attempted by expecting moms who have access to green/eco-friendly cleaners. Using harsh, chemical-based products is a strict no. White vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda are some effective and inexpensive cleaning products that can be used safely during pregnancy. If you do not have access to these products, it’s best to leave this job to someone else.
- Light washing of utensils and dishes can be done, but refrain from standing for more than 15 – 20 minutes.
Household Chores to Avoid During Pregnancy
Almost all household activities can be done during the first few months of pregnancy. While it is safe to do household chores during early pregnancy, some household chores are best avoided at this time because they may put undue stress on the body and could potentially put the baby at risk. Repetitive and monotonous tasks increase stress hormones, which is not good for pregnant women.
- Any task that involves lifting heavy loads or shifting furniture should be avoided; activities like carrying laundry should also be avoided as well as they can cause preterm labour symptoms and high blood pressure.
- Any task that requires you to climb should not be attempted. The weight gained during pregnancy alters the body’s centre of gravity and women are more prone to losing their balance. Tasks like cleaning the ceiling fans or changing the curtains are best delegated to someone else.
- Pregnant moms with pets, particularly those with cats should completely avoid cleaning the litter tray. Cat litter contains a parasite called Toxoplasma Gondi which can pose a serious threat to the mother and baby. Although you are more likely to contract this by eating undercooked meat or from the garden, cat litter also poses a threat. If there is no one else available to do the same, proceed with extreme caution. Use gloves to do the same, and after you’re done, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and rinse well.
- Hate the sight of cockroaches, ants and pests and would like to eliminate them immediately? For your own sake, don’t do it. Going after roaches and other household pests almost always involves the use of toxic chemical sprays; the poisonous fumes which are meant to kill these pests also pose a threat to you and your baby.
- If you feel the urge to repaint a room in your house, then its best that you wait till the baby is born. Paints emit fumes when they are applied, and for several hours up until they dry, these fumes can have adverse effects on a to-be mom and her baby.
Household chores during pregnancy are a great way to remain active and stay fit during pregnancy. While it is safe to do household work during pregnancy, it is important to remember that certain household tasks pose a hazard to pregnant women. Always keep in mind tasks that have to be avoided. Listening to your body is also important. Refrain from any work that makes you tired or sick and work out a schedule that includes a good amount of rest along with work.
Resources and References: Parents
Also Read: Exercises You Should Avoid When Pregnant