Gardening in pregnancy is a fun way of getting the exercise you need to stay healthy without presenting the severe risks that other forms of exercise can. Although some activities are on the no-no list for pregnant people, gardening doesn’t have to be one of them. Getting out in the garden while pregnant will bring you plenty of benefits as long as you know the risks and how to avoid them. Here are our tips on gardening when pregnant and how to protect yourself while you nurture your flower beds.
Fortunately, gardening in pregnancy is more than possible. In fact, it’s highly recommended to do so if you enjoy the hobby. However, naturally, you will have to be much more careful than you would if you weren’t pregnant. So, although you definitely can enjoy working in the garden while pregnant, it’s vital that you take the appropriate measures to protect yourself and your baby throughout your pregnancy.
Unfortunately, gardening when pregnant can pose some risks. The most critical danger you should be aware of is a condition called toxoplasmosis. This disease causes flu-like symptoms in mothers and can have detrimental effects on unborn babies, including mental disabilities and blindness. Toxoplasmosis is spread through cat faeces, and pregnant people can catch it through garden soil that cats have deposited their infected faeces into.
Additionally, pregnant people should avoid chemical treatments like herbicides and insecticides. Exposure to these substances can impact the development of unborn children and affect their brains and nervous system.
Gardening when pregnant is beneficial for your mental and physical health, helping you have a healthier pregnancy overall. So, don’t lose out on these benefits! Now we’ve discussed the principal risks of gardening when pregnant; we can explore the ways to avoid them. Here are five ways to keep yourself safe when gardening in pregnancy:
Exposure to the sun and the potential resulting sunburn can cause severe dehydration, adversely affecting yourself and your baby. So, make sure you take the proper measures to protect your skin. Ideally, you should wear long sleeves and trousers, a sun hat and plenty of sun cream to protect your skin. And make sure to stay well-hydrated while working in the sun.
Preferably, all of us should apply sun cream every time we go outside (yes, even in winter), so don’t forget the sun cream when you’re heading out a bit further than your garden too.
As we touched on before, gardening in pregnancy can put you at risk of developing toxoplasmosis. If you have already had toxoplasmosis (your doctor should be able to test for this), you will already have the antibodies and don’t have to worry. However, you don’t want to get it for the first time while pregnant.
Since cat faeces deposited in the soil can spread this severe disease, you should take precautions when handling soil, sand or other substances that passing cats may mistake for a lavatory. So, make sure that you wear gloves at all times while gardening. Additionally, keep your skin covered with long sleeves and pants to avoid any exposure to contaminated soil or chemicals. Then, once you’ve finished your garden activities, make sure you wash your hands and any exposed skin thoroughly with soap and water. Finally, if you are growing edible produce, wash and scrub these well before eating.
Read More: How To Keep Cats & Other Pests Out Of Your Garden
When you are pregnant, you are more at risk of syndromes that are brought on by overuse, like tennis elbow or carpal tunnel. So, make sure to take it easy! Before you even start gardening, take the time to do some light stretches and a bit of walking to warm your body up. Then, while gardening, maintain the correct, healthy posture and invest in tools that will make some garden tasks more manageable, such as long-handled shears or clippers. Plus, it would be best if you switched up your jobs regularly so as not to cause you any repetitive strain.
As well as taking care of yourself while gardening, you should also be sure to take plenty of regular breaks. Set yourself up a comfortable garden chair and scatter it with plush bench cushions for the perfect break spot when gardening in pregnancy.
Chemical sprays that gardeners commonly use, including herbicides and pesticides, can have a bad impact on the environment as well as the development of unborn babies, so avoid them at all costs. Where possible, try integrated pest management solutions, which control garden insects and diseases through non-chemical methods. If you must use chemical treatments, always use the least toxic option and get someone else to apply it to your garden. You should stay out of your garden until the chemicals have completely dried, and make sure to use gloves and wash your hands properly after gardening.
Although gardening in pregnancy is undoubtedly beneficial, you are still pregnant and should avoid certain activities. For example, you are best leaving heavy lifting and spraying garden chores to someone else. Plus, if it’s a sweltering afternoon, you should leave the gardening for another day.
However, over-exertion is more than doing tasks that are physically beyond you. Gardening in pregnancy is not the time for non-stop gardening days. Remember to give yourself breaks between gardening sessions and take care of yourself for an even more successful round in the garden next time.
Do you have any tips on gardening in pregnancy? Please give us your advice.
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.
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