At some point during the third trimester of pregnancy, many expecting women find that their nesting instinct kicks in with a bang. In the latter part of your pregnancy, as the impending birth day gets closer, your excitement and nervousness combine to create an explosion of uncontrollable energy and desire to get stuff done. Nesting can manifest in different ways. You might start by making lots of “to do” lists and then suddenly find yourself shopping for important items, cleaning the entire house, rearranging furniture, and designing the baby’s nursery, all within a short period of time.
As productive and efficient as this burst of accomplishments may seem, unbridled exertion and cleaning during pregnancy are not necessarily risk-free. Heed the following precautions so you can accomplish your nesting goals while keeping yourself and baby safe – a win-win-win!
Take the Load Off
Heavy lifting is not recommended during pregnancy. Non-stop work, without periods of rest, may begin to take its toll and shortness of breath, a common side effect of pregnancy, can become exacerbated if you strain yourself. Leave the heavy lifting to family and friends, rest periodically, and be sure to stay well hydrated while you buzz around in nesting mode.
Household cleaners can also pose a risk. Read labels carefully and avoid products that contain the word “toxic” or “poison” in their description, including many oven, carpet and toilet bowl cleaners. Some products, such as bleach, are not harmful to your baby but may give off potent fumes that cause nausea. When cleaning, wear rubber gloves, don’t mix chemicals, and open several windows to protect yourself and your baby. Whenever possible, use more natural, “greener” products, such as baking soda to scrub your bath and toilet and vinegar to wash your kitchen floors.
The fumes associated with household painting are thought to carry very little risk in pregnancy; nevertheless, taking the following precautions is wise: wear protective clothing, use a mask, make sure the area is well-ventilated, and do not eat or drink in the paint area. Better yet, ask a family member or a friend to paint for you. Stick with latex paint and steer clear of oil-based paints, solvents and thinners.
Nesting can be extremely fun and rewarding—allowing a great deal of satisfaction in knowing you’ve checked off your “to dos” one by one! If you have concerns or questions about the safety of certain products, ask your provider or contact the Pregnancy Exposure InfoLine at (800) 322-5014 or visit www.thepeil.org for more information. You’ll feel more confident if you have answers and just think…that will be one less item on your “to do” list!