When pregnant, it can be unclear what activities you can and cannot partake in. It goes without saying, children are one of life’s greatest joys, so providing them a stable living when pregnant is essential for their future. Because of this, there’s always a misconception between pregnancy and gardening. But is gardening safe for pregnant women?
Gardening while you’re pregnant is entirely safe as long as you take it easy and follow some simple guidelines. It’s actually recommended to undergo an activity like gardening as it provides you with some easy exercise and a place to take your mind off the situation.
As you can see, gardening while you’re pregnant is entirely safe if you follow the correct guidance, but what is this exactly? To find out more about how to undergo gardening while pregnant in a safe manner, see below. Here we talk about what you need to consider when gardening to keep you and your soon-born baby safe.
Is it ok to do gardening while pregnant?
It is ok to partake in gardening activities while you’re pregnant, but there are some fundamentals you need to consider before you think about doing it. I understand when you’re pregnant, you can become lonely, bored, and unfit. Because of this, gardening can seem like the ideal solution to eliminate each of those issues. Although it is, before you dive into your ordinary gardening routine, you need to become knowledgeable on the below.
Wear the correct clothing
First things first, you need to think about what you’re wearing. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to be covered head to toe in clothing. For instance, you’ll want to wear a hat, gloves, trousers, a long-sleeved top, and also sunscreen if it’s hot.
It’s best to avoid the sun entirely while pregnant because it can cause them to overheat, which can result in sunburn, hives, heat rash, or chloasma. However, if you do catch a break in the sun, gardening outside isn’t an issue. But, it would help if you always took the precautions above to prevent any major issues.
NOTE – If you’re going to apply sunscreen, I recommend you get something like SPF-50 UVA-PF 28, as this can prevent many of the above heat-related problems.
Including the above measures, be sure to stay well hydrated if you undergo gardening on a hot day. Remember, if you can, you should try to avoid gardening in extreme heat. So, it may be best to garden even in the morning or during the evening when it’s cooler.
Even if it’s cold, you will still want to be covered head to toe with clothing. This is because it’ll protect you from any harmful toxins or infections. Doing this is excellent, as it stops diseases like toxoplasmosis from occurring. Toxoplasmosis is rare, but gardeners can catch this from not disposing cat feces correctly.
Be aware of toxins and infections
As we just brought up toxoplasmosis, it’s probably a good time to talk about dangerous toxins and infections. Although this may deter some pregnant women from participating in gardening, it’ll only cause harmful effects if you don’t protect yourself correctly (mentioned above).
The prominent and most dangerous infection you can encounter when gardening is toxoplasmosis. It is from a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, and it commonly comes from cat feces. However, in some events, if you don’t dispose of the waste correctly and efficiently, it decomposes its way into the soil. If this does occur, it means that you could catch toxoplasmosis from the ground in your garden.
Although the disease itself isn’t harmful to healthy adults, as they’ll probably receive mild flu-like symptoms. On the other side of the spectrum, people with a weaker immune system, like an unborn child, could receive some severe complications.
If you’ve had this disease before, there’s a good chance you’ve developed some immunity to the infection. You’ll be free to garden in the event you have, knowing that this infection isn’t to affect your newborn. But, if you haven’t, you need to avoid this at all costs.
If you’re wondering how you can prevent this infection from causing any issues, you need to consider the following:
- Completely cover your entire skin, including your hands.
- If you’ve directly touched the soil with your bare hands, wash them immediately and thoroughly with hot soapy water.
- When you’ve handled soil with gloves on, avoid touching your face or bare skin.
- If you’re a vegetable grower, be sure to wash your veg carefully before serving them.
- We know that cats are the source of this sickness. Therefore, keep them out of your garden as much as possible. As you can see, to prevent this infection from occurring is pretty self-explanatory. You need to be safe in handling soil, especially if you or your neighbors have cats.
Note – If you want to deter cats away from your vegetable patch naturally, I suggest you try the following methods
- Cats like to walk softly. Because of this, you can recycle prickly materials like thorns around your garden to deter them away.
- A less harmful way of deterring cats will be to strategically plant rue, pennyroyal, lavender, or lemon thyme around your garden.
- Lastly, you could also add a large fence around the perimeter of your house.
Take it easy
While pregnant, you need to take everything easy. This is because you’re more prone to overuse syndromes like carpal tunnel or tennis elbow, so workload and posture is significant.
To keep a correct posture and minimize the chances of this becoming an issue, you need to think about your tools. Instead of performing maintenance with short secateurs, spades, or forks, consider investing in long-handled gardening tools. This way, you’re reducing the amount of time you’ll need to bend down, as well as being able to get more leverage on the tools from the long handles.
However, never over-strain yourself. If you come across a job that requires any heavy lifting or digging, etc., you should leave it for someone else. Although recommendations are that pregnant women get at least four days of cardiovascular exercise per week, it doesn’t mean they have to partake in heavy activities.
Expert’s also suggest that you should perform activities frequently for a short period of time. This way, you’re able to build up some healthy exercise yet not become too tired or overworked. If you’re someone like me, who loves full-day gardening marathons, I hate to say this, but you shouldn’t do it while you’re pregnant. If you have a big task ahead of you, maybe space it out throughout the week. This way, the project gets down, just over a prolonged period.
Another essential tip to consider is how you perform maintenance on your vegetation. For pregnant people, it’s much safer to kneel onto a soft mat rather than bending over continuously.
Not sure of what gardening activities you should freely go ahead and do? Consider the below:
- Planting bedding plants
- Growing salad crops
- Taking cuttings
- Growing seeds
- Watering the garden
Above are just a few examples of work you’re able to undergo when pregnant. Within these activities, you may need to alter it slightly to ensure you’re safe.
As you can see, you’re able to make some slight alterations with how you perform gardening to continue doing it well into your pregnancy. But, if there’s one thing I insist you do, it is never to overwork yourself. Gardening work hardly ever needs to be finished immediately. If it does, you’ll also have an abundance of people to ask, including your spouse, neighbor, friends, and family, who’d all be happy to undergo the work instead.
The risks of gardening pregnant
After reading the above, you should be aware of what you should be mindful of when gardening. However, to recap, I thought we would discuss the risks of gardening while pregnant. This way, you’re able to justify whether or not you’ll partake in this activity while pregnant.
- As mentioned above, the main risk involved with gardening is an infection called toxoplasmosis. Above, we’ve spoken about how to prevent this from happening and where it originates. Now you’re aware of this, it will be straightforward to avoid.
- Something else you should be careful of is dangerous chemicals like herbicides and insecticides. Both of these prevention chemicals can be extremely dangerous if exposed to the unborn baby or newborn. It is because they can have a dramatic effect on the baby’s brain and nervous system. By all means, we want to avoid this, as your newborn could encounter life-long problems.
- As a pregnant woman, you’ll need to stay hydrated while performing activities like gardening. Failing to do so can result in some rather dire consequences, such as maternal overheating, dizziness, headaches, and decreased amniotic fluid, which aids the baby’s growth.
As you can see from the above, gardening is safe to undergo as a pregnant woman. However, the only real difference is that you’ll need to think twice about what you’re doing. For example, you’ll need to schedule your gardening routine throughout different times of the day (typically the cooler times). Also, you’ll need to make sure you’re wearing adequate protection if you’re performing work with soil.
Nonetheless, all of the above is pretty self-explanatory and something most people follow as a standard practice. But, if you don’t, you’ll need to implement the above safety precautions to ensure your newborn has a healthy development.
Why you should do gardening when pregnant
Let’s exclude some negativity here and bring back some positive energy into the post. As we’re now aware, gardening while you’re pregnant is safe if you follow some basic guidelines. However, if you’re unpleased with the problems it may cause, let’s discuss the main reasons why you should perform an activity like gardening when you’re pregnant.
As we’re aware, when gardening we can become tired, and that’s because it’s a form of exercise. Many people consider gardening a “light” exercise, but it depends on how tuff the work is. Nevertheless, according to Saga Health Insurance, performing the following activities can burn off these calories.
- Digging and shoveling: 250 calories
- Lawn mowing: 195 calories
- Weeding: 105 calories
- Raking: 100 calories
Note – the above calories are an estimate of an hour’s worth of the activity.
Although you should probably skip digging and lawn mowing, you’re able to understand the idea that gardening could be a great form of exercise for when you’re pregnant. Considering doctors recommend that you get in at least four cardiovascular activity sessions per week when you’re pregnant, this could be a great way to reach that requirement.
Benefits you can receive from gardening when pregnant
- By performing a regular exercise like gardening, you massively reduce the risk of many common pregnancy ailments. Something that commonly happens is exhaustion during the first trimester, but you’d reduce or eliminate this from occurring if you continued gardening.
- Including the above, you’ll also radically reduce the amount of restless nights sleep you’ll encounter. Again, this is a common issue throughout all trimester stages and will be rather beneficial to gain.
- According to this study, the more you exercise while pregnant, the less weight you’ll gain. The graph shows that people who exercised once a week gained significantly more weight than those who didn’t. Because of this, it’s even more of a reason to still partake in gardening.
Benefits your baby can receive from gardening when pregnant
- Because you’re keeping fit and healthy from performing gardening, your baby will have a lower chance of developing many chronic illnesses during their childhood and later life.
- According to ABC News, a mere 20 minutes of exercise three times a week while pregnant will make your baby smarter. It tested on 60 different women, 30 that exercised and 30 that didn’t. They then went to record the levels of brain activity with the babies when they were born. After compiling the findings, it shows that babies that were in the “exercise” group had much more brain activity.
As you can see, it’s more than worth performing exercise when your pregnant as both you and your newborn can gain some immense benefits. However, apart from exercise, why else should you perform gardening while pregnant?
It helps you stay busy
Whether you’re in your first, second, or third trimester, you’ll want to keep yourself busy. Sometimes, while your pregnant, it can become dull and lonely. To reduce or eliminate these feelings, you can opt-in to do a pastime activity. In this event, the pass time activity is gardening.
By undergoing this, you’ll be able to keep busy and still feel like you’re in touch with the environment. As we’re aware, women worldwide get around 12 weeks of fraternity leave when they tell their employment they’re pregnant.
However, their spouses only get around two weeks. Because of this, many pregnant women become lonely, as other family members also have to work their day jobs. So, to minimize loneliness from occurring, performing an activity like gardening can undoubtedly take your mind off it.
Provides Vitamin D
As gardening usually is outside, there’s one essential vitamin you’re able to obtain. Yep, you guessed it, that’s vitamin D. According to Healthline, to maintain healthy blood levels, you need to be aiming for at least 10 to 30 minutes of midday sunlight every single day.
Apart from it providing you good blood levels, it can benefit a pregnant woman much further. The sun makes us produce vitamin D, and this will help pregnant women enhance cell growth and immune and neuromuscular function. Included with this, vitamin D helps you absorb more nutrients from iron, magnesium, phosphate, calcium, and even zinc.
So, apart from enhancing the amount of vitamin D you have circulating in your body, it can also help boost the production of many other valuable nutrients.
Including you, your baby also reeks some immense benefits from you doing this. It is because it helps their bones develop. Experts estimate that about 25-30 g of calcium transports from the women’s body to the infant before birth occurs. Due to this, you’ll need to have enough vitamin D to enhance the development of this vital nutrient.
From the above, you can quickly start to develop a better understanding of how performing an exercise-related task like gardening can provide significant benefits to you and your baby. Without a doubt, while being pregnant, you’ll need to partake in some exercise. Failing to do so could provide you and your newborn some issues.
Is bending harmful during pregnancy?
Something that is commonly discussed online and in-person is if pregnant people are allowed to bend over. It is completely understood, as it can cause some severe discomfort to the pregnant person, so will it be the same for the baby? Below we discuss this in further detail:
While your pregnant, bending over is considered safe if your baby is safely ensconced in the womb. This is because the amniotic fluid that is found within the womb cushions your baby and lets them move their entire body while you bend over. Although it’s improbable that you’ll hurt your baby, it may result in the pregnant woman feeling extremely uncomfortable. Apart from that, it could also cause some pain in your lower back if you’re not used to supporting that kind of weight.
However, although it’s safe to bend over during pregnancy, it doesn’t mean you should do it. In the ideal world, you should only bend over if you need to. If there’s someone around you that can help, this is a much better option. To help you better understand why you shouldn’t do it, read below.
Reasons to avoid bending while pregnant
As mentioned above, it’s entirely safe for your baby if you were to bend over while pregnant. However, it could have some adverse effects on you, of which you need to be aware of. If you’re in the first-trimester stage, this isn’t so bad. But, if you’re in the second or third, then these issues can occur much more effortlessly. Here’s why you should try to avoid bending over while pregnant.
- Falling – The first reason you shouldn’t bend over while pregnant is that you may fall over. It happens pretty regularly because mothers are unaware of how heavy their belly is. So, while they bend over, their stomach can throw them off balance resulting in them falling over. If this does occur, some serious problems can arise, including placental abruption, bleeding, and even miscarriages.
- Dizziness – While you’re pregnant, your body is working some serious overtime to ensure your soon-to-be child is provided enough nutrients. Because of this, bending over can result in you becoming dizzy and throw you off balance
- Heartburn – When bending over, pressure is exerted from your stomach, leading to acid reflux and even heartburn.
- Back strain – A prevalent issue with pregnant women is that they’re unaware of how heavy their bump is. Because of this, they can encounter some severe lower back pain from the unexpected added weight. From bending over, you may cause even more damage to your back.
How to bend during pregnancy while gardening
If you need to bend over during your pregnancy, there’s a right and a wrong way to achieve this. If you want to bend over, you should consider doing it in the following ways:
- Instead of bending your upper body forward to pick something up from the ground, you should spread your knees apart and squat down. Before committing, slowly get lower to ensure your legs can support your body weight.
- When standing up from a low bent position, you should use more body parts other than your back and legs. Instead, make use of your arms as well.
- If you decide to lift something heavy, be sure to place the item underneath your belly. This is the best place to stay aligned with the center of gravity.
As you can see from the above, gardening while you are pregnant is more than doable. Yes, there are some cautions you need to consider, but this is the same with any activity you undergo while you’re pregnant.
However, now you understand the sheer benefits doing this type of activity can provide you, and your newborn, I’m sure you’ll consider doing this while pregnant.