Cleaning Chemicals and Pregnancy

image001 Many of us are increasingly trying to ensure that we do not expose ourselves to environmental hazards. For expectant mothers, the worry is higher when cleaning chemicals and pregnancy are linked together, as they want to protect themselves and the unborn child. Most pregnant women worry about whether or not the cleaning products they use are safe and the good news is that most products sold in the U.S market are safe to use by expectant mothers. However, you need to be extra careful by avoiding direct contact with these cleaning agents and ensuring that use them in a well ventilated room.

Is It Safe to Use Cleaning Chemicals During Pregnancy?

For those who are wondering about the safety issues linked with cleaning chemicals and pregnancy. It is safe to use cleaning products but as mentioned above, you must take precautions. There have many reports linking cleaning chemicals to respiratory problems in newborns and this is because the body absorbs these chemicals. You can be safe while cleaning your home by ensuring that you have proper ventilation in the room as this will increase the circulation of clean air. It is also important to reduce contact with chemicals and it’s advisable to wear a long sleeved shirt or a coat and gloves to prevent contact with your skin.

Even with all these precautions, there are cleaning duties that require extra caution and some of these include:

  • Oven cleaning. Most oven cleaners produce fumes and these are hard to escape since there is not much ventilation in the oven area. Always make sure that you carefully read the warning labels that come with such cleaning agents and follow the instructions to the letter.
  • Using aerosol agents. Aerosol cleaning agents easily spread chemicals through the mist they produce and these can be hard to avoid. If you feel as though these fumes are irritating you, you might want to avoid these cleaners or ask someone to clean for you. Most preferably, use environmentally friendly products such as baking soda and vinegar.

Warning:

  • Do not mix cleaning products. Organic/natural cleaning agents always make better cleaning alternatives to chemicals. Reducing your usage of harmful chemicals at home reduces the baby’s exposure of these chemicals. We all need to take care when using chemicals and as a general rule of thumb, do not mix chemicals, pregnant or not. Good examples of chemicals you must never mix are bleach and ammonia as the fumes can be harmful to whoever is inhaling them.
  • Know when to call the doctor. If you notice that you are getting nauseated, dizzy or developing a headache when using cleaning agents, get some fresh air. You don’t have to do the cleaning and it is important to ask for help when you experience any negative effects from the cleaning chemicals. Expectant mothers should always wear gloves since their skin becomes more sensitive when expectant.

Most importantly, talk to a physician to find out which chemicals are safe to use while pregnant.

More Dos and Don’ts of Using Cleaning Chemicals During Pregnancy

When you encounter safety issues linked with cleaning chemicals and pregnancy, keep in mind these dos and don't:

1. Read the Labels

The key words to look out for in the label are: danger, toxic, corrosive and poison. These indicate that the cleaning product may be harmful so avoid cleaning agents with these warnings especially when looking for toilet bowl cleaners, oven cleaners, rug and drainage cleaners. Even if you have been using these agents long before you became pregnant, they are still not safe. The fumes emanating from these chemicals could irritate your lungs, eyes, throat and nose. Some cleaning products have low toxicity levels and they may not necessarily irritate you, but experts recommend that you avoid toxic cleaning agents if possible since it is still unknown how the chemicals could react to your baby. It helps to go green by using products with labels such as organic, all-natural or nontoxic.

2. Open the Windows

Even when using all-natural cleaning products, make sure that you clean in a well ventilated room. Opening the windows improves the indoor air quality immensely, as it helps eliminate the amount of toxic vapors in the room. When cleaning the bathroom, run your exhaust fan. This should be done when cleaning the room and after. Let the fan run for about 15 minutes after you’re done.

3. Wear Gloves

Your skin becomes more sensitive when pregnant and as such, you need to protect it. Products that did not affect you before you became pregnant could affect you now and these could develop dermatitis making your skin itchy and inflamed. Some products that could bring about this problem include: dyes, chlorine, bleach, detergents and fragrances, all of which are found in everyday cleaning products. You therefore cannot compromise on latex gloves. Protect your skin at all times.

4. Avoid Cleaning Mold by Yourself

Although there are no conclusive studies that indicate cleaning mold is dangerous to pregnant women, it is advisable that still avoid doing this chore. Mold as you may already know produces substances that are toxic and these substances have been linked to animal birth defects. If you have mold in any room of the house, you obviously must get rid of it. Remember: you don’t have to personally take on the cleaning task. Get some help from your spouse. An easy solution to eliminate mold is mixing bleach with water.

5. Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Did you know that you can make your on cleaning products? It’s not only safe, but inexpensive and effective too.

  • Some great substitutes include white vinegar. Mix white vinegar and water in equal ratios to have a great cleaning solution for your tiles and countertops.
  • Baking soda is yet another substitute and it can be used to remove hard water stains in the shower and bath tabs. You can use it with vinegar by first cleaning with the white vinegar solution.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is also quite effective when cleaning and you can substitute it for bleach. Mix one part with eight parts water.
  • Borax can also be used as a natural bleaching agent, disinfectant, deodorizer and dirt remover. You can combine 1 teaspoon of borax and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar, mixed with non-toxic liquid soap, to clean almost any surface at home.
  • If you are looking for a stain remover for your carpet, club soda makes for a great stain remover and polisher as well.

Learn more about this topic: video that lists 8 chemicals in cleaning products that can be dangerous before pregnancy and during pregnancy