Being pregnant comes with a myriad of new and unforgettable experiences – the first time you feel your little one move, the first time you feel that connection, or the excitement of gathering all the adorable things you’ll need for your newborn. One thing that isn’t always easy, though, is getting and staying comfortable.
With some easy adjustments along the way, you can give yourself a leg up on staying comfy in your home – even on days when you can’t get your leg up. Bonus points for fun pregnancy-friendly DIY projects will keep your mind occupied while making your space more enjoyable.
Projects safe for pregnancy
There are plenty of things you can still do when you’re pregnant, don’t fall for the myth that you can’t safely do the things you want. With some sensible precautions, you can do all kinds of things during your pregnancy!
If you’re using water-based paint labeled VOC-free, it doesn’t contain any harmful volatile organic compounds. Throw on your favorite painting clothes and brush away – there’s nothing like a fresh wall color to start a new chapter.
It is a fun and low-impact activity that can keep your creative juices flowing while helping to ready your new nursery. Just be sure to avoid using resins or epoxies since these contain harmful chemicals to expectant mothers.
On the note of safety, make sure you’re wearing a mask while you’re sanding. Not only is breathing in sawdust terrible for your respiratory system but old varnishes and finishes can contain the chemicals you’re avoiding by using VOC-free paint. If you’re unsure, you can always find a handyperson near you who can help out, so you’re not taking on any risk you don’t need to.
Putting in new flooring
Exercise is typically healthy and safe for pregnant women, and unless your doctor has given you directions otherwise, you’ll be helping both you and your baby by staying active. Home renovations are an everyday activity when you’re preparing to welcome a new little one, and while some parts aren’t safe, laying flooring is a great way to stay active and be a part of the reno process.
However, sealing hardwood or concrete should be left to someone else because the chemicals used in these products aren’t good for you or your baby. The process of laying the underlay and flooring material is all yours!
Tending for houseplants is a great way to keep your hands busy and your mind happy while pregnant. If your cat doesn’t mistake your houseplants for a litter box, you should be safe from toxoplasmosis (more on that later). To be extra safe, throw on a pair of gardening gloves, and put that green thumb to work.
What to avoid
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you suddenly become a Faberge egg, but there are some things that you should avoid doing to keep yourself and your little one to be safe. Don’t worry though; it’s mainly the less-than-fun things that you might want to avoid, anyways! For these projects you can always hire a handyman to help out.
It’s always fun to swing a sledgehammer on demolition day, but it’s a good idea to avoid this particular activity when you’re pregnant. Even if your home is in great condition, it’s hard to be sure that no mold or mildew is lurking unseen in your walls.
Older homes are also frequent culprits for asbestos insulation or lead paint. These are things that everyone should avoid breathing in, but are definite no-gos when you’re pregnant.
Hanging window dressing
This might seem like an innocuous task, but using a ladder, or even a step stool when you’re pregnant is a risk that’s not worth taking. As soon as you’re even a step off the ground, the risk of injury from a fall goes up. Leave those new curtains or blinds to someone else to install, and enjoy watching the transformation happen safely from the ground.
Exterior paint is most often oil-based so it will repel water and help to preserve the finish of your home over the years. This is great for keeping your home looking tip-top, but not advised for expectant mothers since the paint used for exteriors often contains harsh chemicals that you shouldn’t breathe in when pregnant.
Add to that the fact that painting outdoors often means using a ladder, and we think you’ll agree that this is a task best left for someone else, or another time.
Putting in new garden beds
Gardening seems like the perfect task for a mom-to-be, but like the seemingly harmless sushi or unpasteurized cheeses, potential hazards are lurking in outdoor soil. Toxoplasma is a parasitic bacteria often present in outdoor soil, commonly deposited in the feces of neighborhood felines. The risk of contracting toxoplasmosis from contaminated soil is the same reason why pregnant women are advised to avoid cleaning out litter boxes.
Using a table saw
Using power tools while pregnant is something you’ll have to decide on based on your own skill and comfort level. On the other hand, a table saw is one power tool that carries more risk and should be avoided. The most common injuries from table saws aren’t from being cut by the saw blade but rather from kickback. Table saws can throw the material you’re cutting back towards you, and since they’re about the same level as your baby bump will be, it’s not worth the risk.
Materials to avoid
- Paints with VOCs – the safe ones are clearly labeled as VOC-free.
- Epoxies and resins
- Cleaning products with harsh chemicals
- Outdoor soil
- Table saws
- Demolition projects
A few suggestions to get started
Optimize your space
Babies require a lot of things, and to keep your home calm and clutter-free, you’ll require lots of storage space. Taking the time before your new baby makes its debut to take stock of your home and decide where the most functional storage spaces will be, what storage style will work best, and to purchase and install those items will save you tons of stress once your little one comes home.
One of those things that will need to optimize space is the changing table. If you are looking for changing table organization ideas and haven’t bought a changing table for your baby yet, look for one that besides providing safety for your baby is practical as well.
Make things easy to reach
Not only will you want plenty of storage space, but you’ll also want to plan out what things should be the most accessible to you. If you’re 5’3, but your partner is 6’1, chances are what’s accessible to you will look different.
Basic items like risers or floating shelves can help you to maximize your space and are easy to pick up and install.
The same goes for the later stages of your pregnancy – consider moving things on higher shelves in your kitchen lower down so that when you have a baby bump shortening your reach, you can still use your kitchen easily. Remember that even a small step stool isn’t the best idea when you’re pregnant, so take a cruise through your home to spy things like laundry soap and dryer sheets that are often kept on higher shelves so you can bring them to a spot where you can grab them without a big reach or a step ladder.
Babyproofing your home needs to happen in stages, matching your little one’s growth and abilities. There’s no need to go crazy all at once installing baby gates and doorknob latches since your newborn isn’t likely to be running for the stairs or trying to get into forbidden cupboards right off the bat.
That being said, getting ahead of the game with baby-proofing can help ease some of the hectic frenzies of having a newborn at home. Start with installing anti-tip brackets on larger furniture, TVs, etc. While your new kiddo isn’t likely to pull these things over on their own, they help to prevent accidental injuries if someone else should bump them and knock things off.
Focus your energy on places where you’ll spend the most time with your baby – the nursery, living room, etc. Corner guards are great for ensuring that spaces low to the ground are safe for your baby as they learn to belly, scoot, and crawl. While that probably won’t be something you’ll need to worry about right away, you’ll want to be prepared for those first moments when your new little one rolls over and starts to gain mobility.
Perfect temperature and comfy furniture
The best advice is normally something that you wouldn’t think about until you’ve experienced it yourself. This is where being able to create the perfect temperature in your baby’s nursery comes in. No matter the time of year, it’s important to be able to create just the right temperature and humidity levels in the spaces where your baby will spend the most time. There aren’t many things that are less fun.
While it’s not always possible to upgrade the HVAC system throughout your entire home, it’s very reasonable to pick up a small space heater, humidifier, or dehumidifier, or a portable air conditioner to help keep both you and your baby comfortable.
On that note, choosing some comfy furniture for your baby’s nursery will not only help you to stay cozy when your baby arrives, but can also be a great DIY project to tackle during your pregnancy.
Pillows, pillows and more pillows
One of the things that expectant mothers are the most enthusiastic about is maternity pillows. During pregnancy, our bodies change and shift on a daily basis, and that means that having a variety of pillows available to you will help keep you comfortable and happy, and as your body adapts to carrying your baby.
Below are some of the most popular options for pregnancy pillows.
Pregnancy wedge: This wedge shaped pillow, makes line on your side during your third trimester, especially, much more comfortable. It helps to provide support for your baby bump and eases tension on your back and leg joints.
Full body pillow: A full body pillow is great for the level of adaptability it provides. You could use it to support your lower back, between your legs to ease tension on your hips and knees, or as a wedge pillow when you’re laying on your side.
Tubular pillow: Tubular pillows are another wonderfully adaptable style of pillow for expectant mothers. These columnar pillows can be used to hug and provide support for your neck and back, propped against the head, rest of your bed or favorite spot on the couch, or used while breast-feeding to rest your baby on.
A Couple DIY Project Ideas,
The anticipation of a new baby can leave many parents-to-be feeling restless and looking for an action to take to burn off some of that excited energy. Enter the DIY project. Below are a few ideas to prepare your creative juices for your new baby.
Set up the nursery
Even if you’re generally not inspired when it comes to interior decorating, the prospect of having a new baby and setting up the nursery where you will welcome them home can be a fun and rewarding DIY project. A great way to get started is to clear out the room you’ll be using for your baby’s nursery so you can start with a clean slate.
Once you’ve removed all the old furniture and clutter, take a step back and go through a few different options for what the new layout could be. This is a crucial step because once we get furniture and storage items into a room, they often just stay where they’re placed instead of being rearranged to be more functional. If you’re feeling like learning a new skill, research a few free design programs that you can use to mock up different layouts, colors, and themes for the room.
Hit social media for some visual inspiration before you make your final choices on paint colors or other central elements of your new nursery. You never know when you might see a photo of something you otherwise never would have thought of that could change your whole vision for your nursery. If you’re stumped or not feeling the creative groove, search here for interior designers close to you that can help you create the perfect space.
Once you’ve decided on a style and color palette that you’ll be working with, take some time to go thrifting before ordering new furniture and decor pieces. You may purchase new items like a crib, mattress, or other products that need to meet current safety standards, but chances are that there will be a lot of different pieces that you can pick up second-hand, either to use, as is or two refinish.
Creating the perfect space for quality sleep
Once you’ve carefully planned out and decorated your baby’s nursery, make sure you take the time to think about yourself, too. New parents put a ton of time into focusing on the happiness and comfort of their newborn and often forget that their space is important as well. Taking the time to make sure your bedroom is extra comfy before your little one arrives will mean that those sleepless nights and fatigue will be rewarded with a beautiful and relaxing bedroom to retire, too.
All sleep isn’t quality sleep: Once the initial fatigue of pregnancy wears off, many women find it difficult to sleep comfortably. Various aches and pains in your third trimester can make it feel impossible to find a comfortable position long enough to get a quality night’s sleep. There isn’t a miracle cure-all for everyone, but investing in good quality sheets, pillows, and soft lighting can help relax you and ease you into dreamland. Take it a step further and stock up on deliciously scented candles or an aromatherapy diffuser to help soothe and relax your adapted body.
Don’t be afraid of the dark: having a dark room is one of the best ways to ensure a night of quality sleep. Our bodies naturally respond to light and darkness, which signals to us that it’s time to wake up or go to sleep. This is helpful from an evolutionary standpoint, but having a bright room isn’t ideal when you have disrupted sleep from pregnancy aches or pains or have a newborn in the house and need to sleep whenever you can. Investing in black-out curtains will mean that no matter what’s happening outside, your bedroom will be a wonderfully dark haven.
Keep on rocking: A rocking chair is near and dear to the hearts of most mothers of newborns, helping both them and the baby to relax during nighttime feedings. Getting a good rocking chair while you’re pregnant means that you can test them out and find one you love so that you’re ready for those snuggly feedings.
Most pregnant women wouldn’t argue that being comfortable is one of the benefits of being pregnant, but there are certain steps you can take to make your pregnancy as comfortable as possible. From easy DIY projects to burn restless energy to small investments you can make to increase your level of comfort during your pregnancy, there are many things you can do to help make your pregnancy more enjoyable and focused on the fantastic milestone to come.