Safety issues during pregnancy are a big concern, but it's not always clear which dangers are real and which ones are myth. The following guidelines are offered to help you determine which activities are truly risky for a pregnant woman, and which ones are likely to pose low risk, or no risk, to your safety during pregnancy.
Dying Your Hair
For many years, pregnant women have been advised not to color their hair during pregnancy to avoid harming the unborn fetus. Yet, evidence suggests there has been no ill effect on babies as a result of hair dye. It's most likely safe to dye your hair while pregnant, since very few chemicals in hair dye are absorbed into your system.
If you have any concerns at all, you should opt for hair coloring techniques that would not involve absorption of hair dye through your scalp at the roots of your hair. Highlighting and streaking should not pose a problem. For added safety, don't color your hair until your second trimester, when your baby is more developed and less vulnerable.
Getting Your Nails Done
Application of acrylic nails do not harm you or your unborn baby. The only known danger from acrylic nail products is the exposure to solvent fumes. If you'd prefer to avoid exposure to solvents and fumes during pregnancy, you might opt for shorter, buffed nails during pregnancy.
Lifting Heavy Objects
Generally, it's agreed that pregnant women can lift items that weigh up to 25 pounds, as long as they practice good lifting technique. If your job requires you to lift upwards of 25 percent or more of your current capacity, especially if it's over 50 pounds, consider asking for a reassignment or taking leave.
If you were accustomed to lifting weights as part of your fitness routine before getting pregnant, you will have to modify your routine a bit for optimum safety. The key during pregnancy is to reduce your weight training to a maximum of 20 to 25 percent of what you were able to lift before pregnancy.
Painting the Nursery
Exposure to lead-based paint during pregnancy increases the risks of physical birth defects, and learning and behavioral disabilities. Although lead-based paint was banned in 1978, houses built before the 1970's generally have some walls, doors and moldings that were done with with lead-based paint. Avoid scraping or sanding old paint because of the lead dust, and plan to use one of the new low- to zero-VOC and low-odor paints for updating the baby's room.
Installing New Carpet and Refinishing Floors
Most new carpet can emit harmful toxins from carpet fibers, backing material, dyes and adhesives. Hardwood floor refinishing solvents can also contain a number of harmful chemicals. Your best solution is to leave the house for 48 hours to 72 hours until the air clears. When buying new carpet, try to select zero-emission carpets, and ask the installer to air out the rolls for 24 hours before installation. Always open all the windows for ventilation to rid your home of emissions after new carpeting or flooring has been laid.