Pregnant women should pay great attention to the cleaning agents they use at home because the baby growing inside their womb is vulnerable to toxic household products. Certain chemicals may have adverse effects on the development of the fetus, especially at a time when the baby’s organs are still in the development stage.
Here are some cleaning products that you should watch out for if you’re expecting a baby:
1. Bathroom cleaners. Cleaners used to whiten and disinfect toilet bowls and bathroom floors contain corrosive ingredients that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs. Stay away from cleaners with bleach, sodium hydroxide, or phosphoric acid. Pregnant women, especially those who may be suffering from asthma, should definitely avoid these substances because they can trigger breathing problems. Instead, try natural scrubbers such as baking soda and vinegar.
2. All-purpose cleaners. Homemakers are, unsurprisingly, fond of using products that can perform a multitude of tasks – and why not? For pregnant women most especially, every little convenience is welcome, and who wants to lug around a box of cleaners every time one endeavours to tidy up the house?
The bad news is, these all-purpose cleaners may contain agents such as triethanolamine and diethanolamine, which are used to create those soapy suds. When these chemicals react with contaminants like nitrites, it often leads to the formation of cancer-causing agents – definitely not things you want to be around you when you’ve got a baby still developing in your tummy.
3. Glass cleaners. Keeping those windows squeaky clean can be a challenge. Those smudges just don’t stay away for long, do they?
Glass cleaners may make the tedious and repetitive task of glass cleaning less of a pain, but using them while pregnant may compromise your baby’s health. Some glass cleaners have butyl cellosolve, which has been found to damage the nerves. Lungs and airways are in grave danger as well, with the continued use of ammonia-based window cleaners, as these tend to release toxic gases.
Even worse, glass cleaners also often contain glycol ethers that have been found to cause low birth weight in experiments with mice.
So what do you do if you’re pregnant and still want to keep your glass panes and mirrors shiny and streak-free? Try a mixture of water, vinegar, and a dash of liquid soap, initially. The liquid soap will remove the film of wax left by conventional cleaners on the surface of your glass. After using this mixture a few times, you can skip the liquid soap; just vinegar and water should then work just fine.
4. Disinfectants. It’s quite understandable for pregnant women to have a need for clean surroundings. The goal of a germ-free home, however, is not always easy. Cleaning agents with anti-bacterial properties contain hormone disruptors such as alkylphenol ethoxylates, which has been found to disrupt embryo development in fish and frogs.
Products with these chemicals also pose a threat to the environment as they contaminate rivers and endanger wildlife. If you want to keep things germ-free, try products with tea tree oil or acapulco extract instead.
5. Air fresheners. First, air fresheners can worsen the symptoms of morning sickness. Then, they often contain phthalates, which are linked to adverse effects on male children and trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. Finally, the spray’s propellants are typically made from propane and butane, which are highly flammable and increase the risk of fire.