Are you a person who loves gardening and loves being around plants, flowers and nature in general? Are you pregnant and wish to continue tending to your garden but not sure about its safety? Keep on reading to know if gardening is safe during pregnancy and what you can do to keep your love for gardening alive during those nine months.
Is Gardening Safe During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy it helps to relax and pursue a hobby to keep the mind calm and gardening is the best exercise that takes care of both the needs. It not only allows you to get fresh air but also ensures that you get a little exercise while your spirits get lifted up with the beauty around. But you must be careful not to go overboard in your enthusiasm. Remember to avoid strenuous activities like pruning, raking and weeding.
To those who have always found time to garden no matter how hectic your schedule is need not put away your gardening tools during those 9 months. However, you must be cautious and avoid coming in contact with harmful chemicals or any other infection that may spread due to exposure to contaminated soil. Gardening has its benefits, you just need to stay safe and enjoy it.
The biggest risk that comes from gardening is toxoplasmosis and exposure to chemicals.
What Is Toxoplasmosis?
It is an infection that is caused by Toxoplasma Gondii. One of the ways it enters your body is through contaminated soil while gardening. It affects the fetus and could also cause miscarriage and stillbirth. Sometimes, your baby may not develop symptoms in the early years but could develop problems as he grows. The parasite that causes the infection may contaminate the soil through cat feces. You may unknowingly touch your face or mouth after touching the contaminated soil and before you know, you may have injected the infection. Even if you don’t have cats of your own, other cats from the neighborhood may wander in your garden and contaminate the soil. So be extra careful to keep cats away during pregnancy, always wear gloves and never touch any part of your body while gardening.
Exposure To Chemicals
You must be very careful in the first trimester to keep away when pesticides are used in the garden. Exposure to large quantities sprayed is known to cause heart and limb defects and even oral clefts in your baby. However, there is nothing to panic if the quantity used is minimal. But always remember to use gloves while gardening and stay away when the pesticides are being sprayed.
Tips For Gardening During Pregnancy
If your doctor has given you a green signal for gardening while you are pregnancy, then here are some tips to follow to stay safe while gardening during pregnancy.
- Make sure when chemicals are sprayed in your garden, you stay indoors while someone else in your family takes charge
- It helps to opt for integrated pest management system to take care of your garden while you are pregnant. That way you have the choice to opt for treatment methods which do not use chemicals or use only those chemicals that are least harmful
- Avoid gardening during the afternoon. Use a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the heat. Always remember to wear a hat and loose clothing when you are gardening. That makes gardening comfortable
- Don’t do too much of work in a day. Space it out over a few days, if possible to avoid backache. Also remember to use proper gardening tools rather than using the hands too much. During pregnancy you are more prone to carpel tunnel and tennis elbow. So, avoid too much pressure on the wrists
- Stand up in between instead of sitting down for too long and walk around the plants to avoid exhaustion. While pulling out weeds, remember to sit on a stool or a bench or if nothing is available invert and sit on the gardening bucket rather than doing it without support
- Avoid bending for long hours; instead try kneeling. That way you don’t put too much pressure on your back and spine. If required you can get yourself a kneepad
- Avoid lifting heavy objects. The most common mistake women commit is lifting objects inappropriately while gardening during pregnancy
- Make sure you don’t allow cats to linger around in your garden
- Always wear gloves to avoid coming in contact with the soil directly. Don’t touch your face and eyes unless you have washed up and are done with gardening for the day. Try wearing full-sleeved shirts/tops and track pants that cover your leg completely
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated at all times
If these tips are kept in mind and followed, there is no need to inactivate your green thumb until the arrival of your baby. Gardening is certainly not an activity that you should stay away from when you are pregnant. So go out make the use of good weather and enjoy your time nurturing your garden.
Did you indulge in gardening when you were pregnant? How did it benefit you? Do Share your experiences in the comments section below.