Woodworking and Art
The early stages of a woodworking project, such as cutting, carving, and sanding, can be safe, active, and potentially stress-relieving. Exercise and stress reduction are both important for a healthy pregnancy. However, avoid using any solvents, such as thinners, varnishes, or lacquer — they may contain harmful VOCs. Sprayers in general should be avoided because it is easier to inhale the airborne particles.
Small amounts of carbon monoxide may cause infant brain development problems. Aside from cigarette smoke, the most common household source of CO is a malfunctioning furnace or other HVAC unit. Leave it to a professional instead of working on an HVAC system during pregnancy.
Fresh air and activity is always a good combination, but gardening poses one serious concern. Chemical pesticides and herbicides are always worrisome, but particularly for pregnant women early in the first trimester. Bug killers attack the insects’ nervous systems, and can cause some of the same effects on a developing fetus, particularly in the earliest stages. If chemical pesticides are absolutely necessary, have someone else apply them, and leave the area for as long as possible. Wear gloves, long sleeves, and long pants whenever doing yard work around pesticide-treated plants.
Mold can be quite dangerous to fetal development. If you detect or suspect mold, leave the area and have someone else treat the area. Also avoid carpeted basements or other areas that are likely to be moldy.
Finally, expecting mothers might be disappointed to learn most household cleaners, including bleach, are safe to use. However, take sensible precautions:
- Ensure proper ventilation
- Wear protective clothing
- Never mix chemicals. They can form dangerous compounds
- Switch to natural cleaning products, such as simple baking soda and vinegar if concerned.
With some common sense and thoughtful precaution, many household projects are safe for pregnant women. However, be particularly careful of solvents or other chemical compounds.