Can I still clean the house while pregnant?

Q: Is it safe for me to clean the house while I'm pregnant?

A: You may be hoping that your doctor would pen a prescription for nine months of housekeeping services, but the truth is that it's fine for you to do everyday chores like dusting, vacuuming, or wiping down kitchen counters and bathrooms as long as you take a few precautions. Most products with ammonia or chlorine (common ingredients in kitchen and bathroom cleaners) won't harm your baby, but they can make you nauseated, especially in the first trimester.

- Read labels carefully. Certain products, like solvents (used in oven cleaners, paint thinners, and varnish removes, for example) are known to be harmful for developing babies and should have warning labels for pregnant women. To be safe, stay away from anything labeled "toxic." - Don't use aerosol sprays, which are more easily inhaled. - Don't mix ammonia and bleach (this combination can produce toxic fumes). - Wear a mask and rubber gloves to keep cleaning products off your hands. - Keep the room where you're working well ventilated. If there's not a window in the room (like in some bathrooms) turn on a fan and leave the door open. - If you need to spray for pests, hire a professional and stay away from the house for a few hours after the job's done. - Buy "green" cleaning products, which tend to have more natural ingredients, or try scrubbing with a DIY solution of vinegar and water or baking soda.

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