Unfortunately, ladies, most products are safe to use for cleaning during pregnancy. Yes, even bleach. So you don’t have to call a maid to do the household cleaning unless you want to.

Cleaning and Pregnancy: Recommendations

However, try to avoid exposure to cleaning products containing:

Glycol ethers. These are toxic substances found in household cleaning products like oven cleaners and have been associated with miscarriage, decreased male fertility, and birth defects. They may be listed as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME). .

Phthalates. Prenatal exposure to phthalates may increase the risk of congenital reproductive anomalies in male children. It’s uncommon for phthalates to be listed on cleaning products, but if “fragrance” is listed, there’s a high probability that the fragrance contains phthalates. It is possible that the smells associated with some cleaning products might affect your nausea.

Avoid spray and aerosol cleaners when possible. Many studies have found that prenatal exposure to spray cleaners may increase the risk of asthma.  Ingredients that were found to be especially problematic included alcohol, ammonia, chlorine, glycol and glycol-ethylene, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), acrylic polymers, and terpenes. The increased risk of asthma was not found when cleaners weren’t sprayed.

Avoid air fresheners. As with spray cleaners, prenatal exposure to air fresheners was also associated with an increased risk of asthma and respiratory problems.  Another problem with air fresheners is they almost always contain that vague “fragrance” ingredient on their label. This means they may contain phthalates, which you should try to avoid when you’re pregnant. Avoid unpleasant odors from developing in the first place by opening your windows and “airing out” your house whenever possible. Use your oven vent when cooking, if you have one. Take the trash out often, and keep your house tidy.

If you are going to do the dirty work yourself

There are steps that you can take while cleaning during pregnancy to keep you and your baby safe from harm.

Step 1: Make sure that you have good ventilation where you are cleaning
Step 2: Wear protective gloves and clothing to protect your skin
Step 3: Always read the warning and instruction labels
Step 4: Never mix different chemicals, such as ammonia and bleach; doing this can be very dangerous for anyone to inhale
Step 5: Avoid cleaning the oven since it is such a tight space and the ventilation is not good
Step 6: If your partner is around, have him do the cleaning!!!!

Look up cleaning products on the EWG (Environmental Working Group) website. You can look up any cleaning product on the EWG database and learn what ingredients it may contain and the potential health risks. You’re unlikely to find anything with zero risks because of how the database works. However, if you have a choice between a cleaner with an A or B rating, compared to a cleaner with a C, D, or F rating, you could choose the A or B.

If you feel uncomfortable using chemical cleaning products, go natural.  Using baking soda and vinegar can do wonders for cleaning just about anything in your home, from the kitchen to the bathroom.

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Compiled using information from the following source:

March of Dimes, www.marchofdimes.com