Baby's First Year · Pregnancy

Cleaning and pregnancy: Safety tips

Pregnant person cleaning window with cloth and window spray

Let’s face it!  Every day we are exposed to all kinds of things that affects our health – and baby’s health. During pregnancy, you may be hearing about the risks of certain environmental hazards and the effects it may have on your unborn baby.

During pregnancy, your body is baby’s first environment. Many cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that may be harmful to your growing baby. Cleaning products include tile cleaners, disinfectants, detergents, polishes and other substances that we use to clean our homes.

Certain prenatal exposures may have lifelong effects including birth defects, learning, developmental, behavioural problems and cancers.

Do your best to learn about the risks, lower the exposure, and choose safer cleaning product alternatives to help protect yourself and your baby.

When using cleaning products:

  • always check and follow the labels
  • wear rubber gloves and ventilate the space well
  • use creams and liquids instead of aerosols, sprays and powders to avoid inhaling tiny particles
  • limit the use of products that have ammonia, bleach, or turpentine
  • never mix different chemicals, such as ammonia and bleach; doing this can be very dangerous for anyone to inhale

Safer cleaning product alternatives:

  • use products that have been labelled eco, non-toxic or safe
  • use vinegar and water or baking soda (this can do wonders for cleaning just about anything in your home)

You may not be able to change your entire environment but by being aware of possible dangers, you can make the necessary changes. This helps to reduce the impact of hidden exposures on you, your baby and your family.

For more information on how to limit your exposure to harmful chemicals speak to your health care provider. You can also call Toronto Public Health to talk to a Public Health Nurse at (416) 338-7600 or via eChat.

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