Exercise caution when using common household cleaners if pregnant

Posted on 11 June 2012

If you and your partner are expecting a baby, you've probably been bombarded with information on how to take care of your body during this special time. But, what's equally important is how you keep your home environment safe from chemicals that may harm you and your little one.

The March of Dimes, a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the health of babies and moms around the world, has an article on its website that explains how you can exercise safety when using any of the many household cleaning and disinfecting products that contain chemicals.

Every now and then, you may need to use store-bought cleaning products, like solvents to thin some paint or other thick substances, but to learn how to use them, consider following the tips below. 

Solvents can be dangerous

The first piece of advice, according to the organization, is that you should try to avoid using solvents. Solvents are chemicals that get rid of other matter. These include degreasers, paint thinners and alcohols. Inhaling these substances can stunt your baby's growth, cause a miscarriage and increase the likelihood of birth defects.

If you absolutely need to use solvents, remember to wear gloves and a face mask. Keeping the window open or using a fan can also keep the area well ventilated. Finally, don't eat or drink in the area you are working as the toxins in the solvents can get into your food or beverage.

Read cleaning labels

Everyone knows that you have to give your house a good wipe-down from time to time, even if you are expecting. However, before picking up any old store-bought cleaner, be sure to read the labels. Stay clear of products like oven cleaners and rug cleaners (many of these items will say they are toxic on the label). When using chemical disinfectants, remember to wear gloves and work in a room with good ventilation, and don't mix cleaners like ammonia and chlorine.

Exercise caution when using pesticides

Finally, try to avoid using or coming into contact with large amounts of pesticides. Failure to do so can result in low birthweight, learning disabilities, preterm birth and miscarriage. If you need to kill pesky insects in your home, the March of Dimes recommends using traps instead of pesticides. But, when doing so, make sure your other children can't come in contact with them. Another option is to have someone else spray the pesticides in your home for you.

Exercising caution when using household cleaners and disinfectants will ensure that you and your growing little bundle of joy are safe. Of course, if you have any questions, it's always a good idea to talk to your doctor.

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