Pregnant women should be very careful with the cleaning agents they use at home, as the baby growing in the womb is vulnerable to toxic household products. Some chemicals can have adverse effects on the development of the fetus, especially when the baby’s organs are still in development.
Here are some cleaning products to consider if you are expecting a baby:
1. Bathroom cleaners. Cleaners used to whiten and disinfect toilet bowls and bathroom floors contain abrasives that can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs. Stay away from cleaners that contain bleach, sodium hydroxide or phosphoric acid. Pregnant women, especially those who may suffer from asthma, should strictly avoid these substances as they can trigger respiratory problems. Try natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar instead.
2. All-purpose cleaners. Housewives, unsurprisingly, love to use products that can handle multiple tasks – and why not? Every little convenience is welcome, especially for pregnant women, and who wants to carry around a box of housekeepers every time they try to tidy the house?
The bad news is that these all-purpose cleaners may contain ingredients like triethanolamine and diethanolamine, which are used to create these soapy suds. When these chemicals react with pollutants like nitrites, they often lead to the formation of cancer-causing agents – certainly not things you want to be around when you have a developing baby in your womb.
3. Glass cleaners. Keeping those windows squeaky clean can be tricky. These spots don’t stay away for long, do they?
Glass cleaners can make the tedious and repetitive job of cleaning glass less painful, but using them while pregnant can endanger your baby’s health. Some window cleaners contain butyl cellosolve, which has been found to damage nerves. The lungs and respiratory tract are also in serious danger with the continued use of ammonia-based glass cleaners because they tend to release toxic gases.
Worse, window cleaners also contain glycol ethers, which 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 scratch-free? Try a mixture of water, vinegar, and a dash of liquid soap to begin with. Liquid soap will remove the wax film that conventional cleaners leave on the glass surface. You can skip the liquid soap after using this mixture a few times; just vinegar and water should then work just fine.
4. Disinfectants. It is quite understandable that pregnant women need a clean environment. But the goal of a germ-free home isn’t always easy. Cleaning agents with anti-bacterial properties contain hormone disruptors such as alkylphenol ethoxylates, which have been found to impair embryo development in fish and frogs.
Products containing these chemicals also pose a threat to the environment, as they pollute rivers and endanger wildlife. If you want to keep everything germ-free, try products with tea tree oil or acapulco extract instead.
5. Air fresheners. First, air fresheners can worsen morning sickness symptoms. Next, they contain phthalates, which are often linked to adverse effects on boys and trigger asthma and allergy symptoms. Finally, the propellants of the spray are typically made from propane and butane, which are highly flammable and increase the risk of fire.