4 Chores You Should Avoid When You’re Pregnant

Pregnancy is a great time to enlist help from friends, family and anyone willing to lend you their assistance. These chores are examples of which to hand off.

By Reader's Digest Editors

While your nesting instincts may kick into high gear during pregnancy, some household chores are not safe for expecting mothers. Luckily, there is no better time to enlist help from others. Here are four chores expecting moms should get someone else to do for them:

Moving furniture: After the first trimester, moving furniture or other heavy objects can put added strain on a mother-to-be’s back, and thus lead to injury. But if you simply cannot wait to move that chest from one side of the room to the other, make sure to bend from the knees and keep your back straight when lifting. A maternity belt can add extra support.

Changing the cat litter: Toxoplasmosis is a common parasitic infection carried by cats (especially cats that go outside). It has very little effect on felines, but it can be transmitted to people through exposure to cat feces. If you become infected while pregnant, you could pass the illness on to your baby. This can cause serious birth defects such as eye and brain damage. Wear gloves and a mask if you must change the litter yourself.

Using bug spray: A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that prenatal exposure to piperonyl butoxide, a chemical used in many household insecticides, may harm fetal mental development. To be safe, look for products that aren’t sprayed into the air, such as roach motels or garden stakes.

To learn more about pesticide toxicity, call the National Pesticide Clearinghouse at 800-858-7378.  For information related to exposures during pregnancy, visit www.otispregnancy.org.

Refinishing furniture: Some studies have found a possible association between products that contain chemical solvents—such as furniture-strippers, paint removers, and varnish—and miscarriage and birth defects. To be safe, it’s best not to refinish furniture while pregnant. If you must do so:

  • Use products that don’t contain solvents.
  • Work outside or in a well-ventilated area.
  • Wear gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, and pants.
  • Don’t eat or drink while working with the products.

If you start to feel light-headed or ill, stop right away and get some fresh air.

Sources: Babycenter.com, Everydayhealth.com, About.com

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