Is Gardening Safe During Pregnancy?
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When you know you are pregnant, you are filled with an ocean of emotions, which include anxiety, excitement, and fear. You have tons of questions about what’s good and what’s unsafe during your pregnancy. In such a time, if you have a strong love for gardening, you are sure to wonder if you can continue showering your love and care to mother nature. The good news is that yes, you can follow your hobby of gardening even during your pregnancy. Besides, it helps you to relax and keep your mind calm. Play safe and remember to avoid contact with harmful chemicals in the soil.
Can You Do Gardening When Pregnant?
Hobbies can help you keep the mind calm and even lift your spirit, which will certainly benefit you during pregnancy. Gardening is one of them, and is also a form of exercise to keep you healthy. You should be aware that it does involve certain risks, like exposure to deadly chemicals. While you indulge in gardening, you must take appropriate measures to safeguard yourself and your baby during pregnancy.
Risks of Gardening While Pregnant
Before you pull up your sleeves and get busy with your gardening, it is essential that you learn what risks it may involve. The soil used for planting might often have parasites and some potent chemical pesticides. Consider these hazards and take the necessary precautions while gardening:
- The major thing you should be aware of is a condition called toxoplasmosis, which occurs due to the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. You are at high risk of contracting it when you touch the soil, contaminated by the faeces of an infected cat. It can cause flu-like symptoms in mothers and contributes to blindness or mental disabilities in the unborn baby.
- Chemicals like herbicides and insecticides are also considered unsafe for pregnant women. Exposure to these may impact the baby’s development about the brain and nervous system.
Things to Keep in Mind While Gardening During Pregnancy
You need to take utmost care of your routine activities and hobbies, during your pregnancy, and take precautionary measures if it involves anything that may be harmful to you and your baby. There are possibilities of Toxoplasma parasite entering your body through contaminated soil. It is unsafe for you and your foetus, and is known to cause stillbirth and miscarriage. You are vulnerable to injecting the infection unknowingly when you touch your face or mouth after handling the contaminated soil. To avoid such instances and ensure a safe pregnancy, remember these tips while gardening:
1. Stay Away From Chemicals
Let your family or friends help you in chemical treatment of your garden. Stay indoors for when the chemicals are being sprayed as well as a minimum of 48 hours after the spray or longer. Sprays often stay afloat in the breeze for a while, so to avoid inhaling them, and wait for the chemicals to dry, before you return to the garden.
2. Integrated Pest Management
It is best to opt for an integrated pest management system with organic chemicals during your pregnancy. It encourages the use of harmless chemicals and treatment methods to protect your garden from insects and pests.
3. Dress Appropriately
Refrain from gardening at noon, and if you cannot avoid, apply good sunscreen and wear a hat to be protected from the heat. Wear loose clothing to optimise your comfort. Plus, opt for long sleeves and long pants to avoid contact with the contaminated soil and chemicals.
4. Be Hydrated
When you are working under the direct sun, it often causes dehydration. Hence, it’s important that you keep yourself hydrated throughout the day by drinking water at frequent intervals.
5. Use Gardening Tools
Avoid exerting pressure on your wrists as you are more prone to tennis elbow or carpal tunnel during your pregnancy. You should use appropriate gardening tools for specific tasks.
6. Maintain Proper Posture
Always work in kneeling position instead of bending for long hours. This will prevent you from putting a lot of pressure on your back and spine. You should keep off from lifting or moving heavy objects during pregnancy and leave it to someone else.
7. Frequent Breaks
Instead of sitting for long periods, you must stand up once a while or walk around the plants to prevent exhaustion. Also, while you pull out weeds, take some support of a bench or short stool to be seated.
8. Keep Cats Away
The parasite that causes infection contaminates the soil through the faeces of the cat. If you don’t own one, it is possible that cats from the neighbourhood who may be infected use your area for littering. See to it that you do not allow cats to linger around in your garden.
9. Use Gloves
Wear gloves so that you don’t come in direct contact with the soil. Besides, you shouldn’t touch your eyes, mouth or face with the soiled hands or gloves unless you have washed your hands and finished with your gardening for the day.
10. Wash Before Eating
Don’t be tempted to pick the fruit or vegetable from your garden and eat it raw. Ensure that it is thoroughly washed before you eat it.
You can keep your love for gardening alive during your pregnancy, but with extra care and precautions. Ensure that you steer clear of any toxins or soil-borne infections in gardening. These, if ingested by you, can prove hazardous and impact the development of your growing baby. So, be responsible, and make use of appropriate gloves and gardening tools while out in the garden. Also, maintain proper posture as you work to avoid undue physical strain on your body.