When you are pregnant there is a natural instinct to protect yourself and your baby from anything harmful, including dangerous chemicals. This may make you question your cleaning product’s safety!
When it comes to household cleaning products, it’s very unlikely any of them can cause serious harm, but it is important to know the few that could increase a risk of health problems if used in high levels over a long time period.
There are some chemicals you want to avoid when carrying a child. Chemicals which can cause birth defects are known as teratogens. Teratogens are mainly known through the use of drugs, alcohol, smoking, and even some prescription drugs. However, what you may not know is that common products around the house can be equally as harmful to your baby. Continue reading to learn about any harmful products to watch out for when you are pregnant.
What are toxic household products?
Although we are surrounded by chemicals and toxins in our everyday life, most of these won’t harm your baby during your pregnancy. But it is important to note that, if you’re exposed to chemicals and toxins for a long time, you could be putting your baby at risk for future health problems.
There is a risk of chemicals entering your bloodstream through breathing in or swallowing any toxins, this can then reach your baby through your placenta.
All-purpose cleaners and items such as dishwasher and laundry detergents, window cleaners, and chemical free cleaners are usually safe to use during your pregnancy. However, heavy-duty cleaners such as bleach, oven cleaners, and high chemical substances should be avoided. These can emit toxic substances into the air, and inhaling these chemicals can be harmful to your baby.
How to limit any toxic chemical exposure while cleaning
It is near enough impossible to avoid every chemical in day-to-day life. Still, there are precautions you can take to help reduce any toxin exposure.
Ventilation - When cleaning while you are pregnant, ensure as much ventilation as possible. Opening windows and doors to guarantee a constant air flow will prevent a build-up of chemical fumes in the air and reduce the amount of chemicals you breathe in.
Protection - Breathing in chemicals isn’t the only way the harmful toxins can enter your body; they can also be absorbed through the skin. This is why it is vital to wear correct protection when cleaning, especially when using any heavier duty cleaners. Wearing long sleeves and rubber gloves is a great way to protect your skin and prevent any chemicals absorbing through your skin.
Natural Methods - When cleaning, you would be surprised how many of your harsh cleaning products have a much safer natural solution! Many items sitting in your kitchen cupboards act as great natural cleaning solutions, for example: White distilled vinegar is a great cleaning alternative. Pro tip- Add a splash of lemon for a fresh scent. Similarly, baking soda is another great substitute for tougher cleans, like your oven. Research into natural methods and make cleaning your home safer.
Research - Properly researching your cleaning products is key to help prevent any exposure to unsafe chemicals. Using websites such as EWG (Environmental Working Group), will give you an understanding of what products are safe - not only for you and your baby, but also the environment.
No mixing - Never combine cleaning products! Mixing products containing different substances can cause a poisonous chemical reaction. Always correctly follow instructions on the label to ensure you are using your cleaning products safely.
Ask for help - Cleaning while pregnant can cause dizziness and even trigger sickness. If there are tasks you are struggling with, it is okay to call for help! Whether it be a family, friend or neighbour, getting assistance will help take the stress away from you.
Professional cleaners - Although there are natural methods and safety precautions that can be taken, hiring a professional team can sometimes be the easiest and safest way of cleaning if you are concerned about chemical exposure when pregnant. Professional cleaning companies will have the correct knowledge and eco-friendly products to safely clean your home. Voila! Less worries and a clean, fresh home.
What to avoid
Although it is important to ensure you are cautious with any cleaning products when pregnant, there are a few that need extra care! Ensure to reduce your exposure to:
Oven cleaners - Oven cleaners often contain strong chemicals and emit toxic fumes.
Aerosol products/ Air fresheners - Aerosol products create a fine mist into the air that is easily inhaled, making these more toxic for pregnant women. They can create an increased risk of asthma and respiratory issues in your child.
It is also important to know the chemicals to look out for in your cleaning products. Avoid solutions containing any of the following.
As far as household cleaning products go, glycol ethers are possibly the most toxic substances that can be found. This chemical has been associated with birth defects and - in rare cases - miscarriage. Glycol Ethers may be listed as butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME).
Phthalates are another chemical to keep an eye out for! It is uncommon for these substances to be listed on cleaning products, however, if anything contains “fragrance” it is likely that phthalates are present. This means your fabric softener or new pomegranate kitchen cleaner may be harmful to your baby. Try to stick to fragrance free products for the time being.
Although parabens are not 100% confirmed to be a problem when pregnant, there are still question marks as to the effects it can have on your unborn child. Parabens can act like estrogen in the body, and you may prefer to avoid them if you want to be extra cautious. They may be listed as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, or isopropylparaben.
It is important to note that, if your job involves handling dangerous or harmful chemicals, liaise with your boss to ensure you have a safe plan for while you are pregnant. For any questions regarding safe cleaning during your pregnancy, contact your health care provider for advice.
The ACS way
Here at ACS, we want the best for our clients and understand the concerns of cleaning during pregnancy. This is why we ensure all of our products are natural and as environmentally friendly as possible. Our cleaning professionals are also trained to know how to correctly ventilate and successfully clean your home safely! From carpets to ovens, contact us today to speak to an expert about all your cleaning needs.