Household Work During Pregnancy – What to Do and What to Avoid
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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. Be careful particularly while doing household work during the first trimester of pregnancy.
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.
1. Cutting and Cleaning Vegetables
While pregnant, it’s safe to engage in tasks like cutting and cleaning vegetables. It’s advisable to sit down on a chair while doing these tasks to avoid prolonged standing, which can strain your body.
2. Sweeping and Mopping
Sweeping and mopping can also be managed during pregnancy with some adjustments. 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.
3. Cleaning Bathrooms and Toilets
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.
4. Light Dishwashing
Light washing of utensils and dishes can be done during pregnancy, but it’s important to avoid standing for extended periods. Limit standing to 15-20 minutes at a time to prevent discomfort or strain on your body. Taking regular breaks while washing dishes can help alleviate any discomfort and prevent overexertion.
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. These are the household activities to avoid during pregnancy,
1. Lifting Heavy Loads and Shifting Furniture
Pregnant women should avoid tasks that involve lifting heavy loads or shifting furniture, as these activities can lead to preterm labor symptoms and high blood pressure. Carrying laundry, in particular, should be avoided to prevent strain and potential complications.
2. Climbing and Tasks Requiring Balance
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.
3. Cleaning the Litter Tray (Cat Owners)
Pregnant women, especially those with cats, should completely avoid cleaning the litter tray. Cat litter contains a parasite called Toxoplasma Gondi, which poses a serious threat to both the mother and the baby. If no one else is available to clean the litter, proceed with extreme caution, using gloves and thorough hand washing afterwards.
4. Handling Household Pests
Engaging in pest control activities, such as going after cockroaches and ants, should be avoided during pregnancy. These tasks typically involve the use of toxic chemical sprays, which can release poisonous fumes harmful to both the mother and the baby. Consider delegating pest control to someone else or using non-toxic alternatives.
Avoid repainting rooms in your house during pregnancy. Paints emit fumes during application, which can have adverse effects on pregnant women and their babies. It’s best to postpone any repainting projects until after the baby is born to ensure a safe environment for both.
Moving the vacuum cleaner from room to room can be quite exhausting. Additionally, it’s best to avoid replacing the filter while pregnant. The filter typically harbors dust, spores, and hair, which may lead to irritation in your eyes and respiratory system.
7. Window Cleaning
Exercising caution is crucial when handling window cleaning tasks, as there’s a risk of slipping and falling. Opt for gentler cleaning solutions rather than harsh glass cleaners, and consider using a damp newspaper to wipe the windows clean for a safer approach.
Tips to Handle Household Chores in Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a challenging and transformative time for expectant mothers. Handling household chores during this period requires special care and attention to ensure both the mother’s well-being and the baby’s health. The following tips offer guidance on how to manage household tasks while pregnant.
1. Prioritize and Plan
Make a to-do list and prioritize tasks, focusing on the most essential chores, and tackle them at your own pace.
2. Delegate Responsibilities
Enlist the help of family members, friends, or hire professional cleaners for tasks that you should avoid during pregnancy.
3. Take Frequent Breaks
Avoid overexertion by taking regular breaks to rest and hydrate during chores to prevent fatigue.
4. Use Proper Body Mechanics
When you do engage in chores, use proper body mechanics such as bending at the knees, not the waist, to reduce strain.
5. Invest in Time-Saving Tools
Consider purchasing labor-saving gadgets like a dishwasher, robotic vacuum cleaner, or a laundry machine to minimize manual labor.
6. Avoid Heavy Lifting
Steer clear of lifting heavy objects or moving furniture to reduce the risk of complications like preterm labor.
7. Opt for Eco-Friendly Cleaners
When cleaning, choose eco-friendly or non-toxic cleaning products to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals.
8. Stay Mindful of Body Temperature
Be cautious about overheating during chores, as elevated body temperature can be harmful to the baby. Avoid strenuous tasks in hot weather.
9. Maintain Good Posture
Keep your posture in check when doing household tasks to minimize the strain on your back and body. Use supportive furniture or cushions.
1. How Much Household Work Should You Do During Pregnancy?
The amount of household work you should do during pregnancy varies from person to person. It’s essential to prioritize your health and comfort and avoid tasks that are physically strenuous or potentially risky. Delegate when possible and listen to your body’s signals.
2. How Many Hours Should a Pregnant Woman Work on Her Feet?
There isn’t a set number of hours a pregnant woman should work on her feet, as it depends on individual circumstances. However, it’s advisable to limit prolonged standing or physically demanding tasks. Taking breaks, sitting when needed, and staying hydrated can help prevent fatigue and discomfort. Consult with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance.
Doing household chores during pregnancy is 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.
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