If you have certain pregnancy complications or limitations (or if you just want to play the pregnancy card!), you might need to cross these household tasks off your to-do list and either delegate them to someone else or hire some help.
MOPPING AND VACUUMING:
These can aggravate sciatica, a painful inflammation of the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back down the entire leg. It's common during pregnancy because of weight gain and/or pressure of the uterus on the nerve, and chores that require you to lean forward at an angle can worsen it. "Sometimes women feel fine while performing the task but experience pain later," says Hope Ricciotti, M.D., an associate professor of OB-GYN at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
This traditionally involves using chemicals that expectant moms shouldn't inhale. Leslie Reichert, author of The Joy of Green Cleaning (CI Publishing), has a general rule: "If something smells harsh, stay away from it." You can make your own green cleaners with inexpensive ingredients like white vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda; or purchase safe products at shopgreencleaning.com.
CHANGING THE LITTER BOX:
This can expose you to toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection transmitted via cat feces that can be very dangerous to the fetus. If you must do this chore, wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
HANGING CURTAINS, CLEANING CEILING FANS:
These and other similar tasks that require climbing become risky as your belly grows. "Pregnant women experience a change in their center of gravity that leaves them vulnerable to falls," Ricciotti explains.
This is a no-no if your doctor has advised you against heavy lifting. (A full hamper weighs about 20 pounds.) This may happen if you experience preterm labor symptoms, placenta previa, high blood pressure or certain other conditions.