During pregnancy, there are certain recommendations that you’re supposed to follow if you’re trying to protect the health of your unborn child. For example, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do a lot of heavy lifting…and that’s just for those without any complications!
It can be hard to keep track of all the “don’ts” related to pregnancy, especially when you still have to go about doing your daily tasks. Like cleaning, for example – are there any “don’ts” that you need to worry about here? Or is it safe to use all cleaning products while pregnant?
Let’s discuss this in further detail below.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Using Cleaning Products During Pregnancy?
Unfortunately, there may be a link between exposure to certain cleaning ingredients during pregnancy and birth defects. One study showed that women who worked as cleaning ladies or janitors were significantly more likely to have children with one or more birth defects than other groups.
Interestingly, the same was found for those working as scientists and electronic equipment operators. While the study couldn’t identify the exact reason for this similarity, one thing that all these occupations have in common is regular exposure to various chemicals and toxins.
What Cleaning Ingredients Should I Avoid While Pregnant?
Since you’re likely not going to be able to avoid every potentially dangerous cleaning product out there, the best thing you can do to protect the two of you is reduce your exposure. While most cleaning products are safe, try and avoid using ones containing the following ingredients:
- Glycol ethers, which are most commonly found in oven cleaners. According to research, these toxic substances have been associated with increased risk of spontaneous abortion and subfertility.
- Phthalates, which you can often find in cleaning products with fragrances, such as fabric softener. One study has shown that exposure to phthalates during pregnancy may be linked with genital development issues in males.
- Parabens, which can be found in lots of things, from shampoos to lotions to scrubs. Now, there is some debate as to whether parabens are truly harmful, but it’s a good idea to avoid them if you want to take all precautions, as animal studies have shown that they may negatively affect male fertility.
- Spray and aerosol cleaners, particularly those that include acrylic polymers, chlorine, terpenes, sodium hydroxide, ammonia, glycol and glycol-ethylene, and alcohol. Research has linked prenatal exposure to these types of cleaners to an increased risk of asthma.
Any Tips on Cleaning During Pregnancy?
Absolutely! There’s a good chance you’re going to have to do at least some cleaning while pregnant, so keep the following tips in mind to help keep your baby safe:
- Mix up your own homemade cleaner. Vinegar and water in a spray bottle is typically effective for windows and surfaces, and you can always use some baking soda and water in areas that need a little extra scrubbing power, like bathtubs and ovens.
- Check the Environmental Working Group website. Here, you can input a cleaning product and find out its ingredients and any associated health risks.