Gardening While Pregnant And How To Do It Safely

A pregnant woman's tummy visible from her blue dress showing a colourful child like illustration of safari animals on a walk through the landscape.

"No reason to stop if you are healthy and doing good. Keep it up. It's good for you. Just stop before you get tired.”

Alyce Schutte

Is it okay to Garden Whilst Pregnant?

From the moment you know you are going to have a baby, your life takes on a new dimension. You can still enjoy gardening when pregnant, although you might have to make some mini changes.

Our body is a great indicator of what it likes and what it doesn’t want to do! It’s all about being sensible, listen to your doctors advice.

“I was in labour and waiting for midwife to arrive for a home birth. In addition I had the lawn mower out racing up and down the garden at 11.30 pm my daughter was born at 12 but managed to finish lawn before. We had no near neighbours to this I add, and my daughter likes gardening 54 years later.”

Pauline Edwards

Your safety gardening when pregnant.

One of the top priorities is to be safe and reduce your risks in the garden. The soil contains many organisms and bacteria, some are good and some not so good when pregnant. Something to be aware of is Toxoplasmosis.

The article Toxoplasmosis during pregnancy NHS(UK), details all you need to know. It is a great resource for the pregnant gardener.

"Just make sure to wear gloves if digging in case of animal droppings in the soil."

Tracy Ferdosian
A photo of a woman just about to plant a flower with her trowel in her left hand and the plant in her right hand
Plan your activities and do what is comfortable

How can I avoid or reduce my risk of injuring me or my baby?

First of all, let’s take a look the physical effort in gardening when pregnant, and what might some challenges be?

Digging can be a strenuous activity, you might consider delegating any digging to someone else. Or even ask yourself do you really need to do this digging?

With the jobs that you would normally find tiring and physical you will need to ease up on those activities. If it doesn’t feel right, then stop!

  1. Plan your time and your tasks.
  2. It makes good sense to mix your activities and to include a variety of movements. Gardening in bite size chunks, little and often may be preferable. For example, if you would normally spend four hours each week gardening in one day. Then split that time down over four days of the week.
  3. Take an hour each day, break it down into fifteen-minute bursts. Have pitstop rests between each activity if you need to and then move onto the next task. It’s not about the results, it’s more about staying active.

“I was gardening the day my waters broke. I didn't do much towards the end though, just kept my plants tidy and a little weeding. I left the heavier stuff to my husband.”

Zoe Turrell
raised beds with nasturtiums growing in them and linked by a metal grid frame which has tomatoes growing over it.
Raised beds make gardening easier on the back.

"I was pottering the day before I gave birth. (August baby, not so much with a March baby) Raised beds luckily. Just watch your back don't stay in one position too long and wear gloves"

Rachel Whittaker

Protect, cover up and stay hydrated!

I’m a big fan of looking after our body when gardening.

The one thing we need to protect against  is the sunlight. Whilst we make vitamin D from being outdoors, spending hours being exposed to the sun can be harmful too.

Personally, I always wear a hat with a brim to protect my face. I do this, not only from the sun, but it helps prevent getting poked in the eye from a twig or a branch!

As a fair-haired person it is important that I wear a sun hat, long sleeves and apply sunscreen for the best protection.

It makes sense not only to do this while pregnant but to make it a habit for life.

You can order sunscreen here(full disclosure; I do receive a small commission if you use this link).

In the hot summer months wearing long sleeves can make you feel too hot. The best materials to wear for coolness are cotton or linen. The air can easily flow over your body keeping you cool and relaxed.

We think we are nurturing our gardens but it's our gardens that are nurturing us!

Jenny Uglow

Do we drink enough water in a day?

One of my own challenges is to drink enough. When I am totally absorbed my focus is off hydrating my body and that’s not good. I never knew feeling hungry was a sign of dehydration until I found out some years ago. Do you sometimes find you are hungry? If so how much have you had to drink today?

Drinking enough during the day and especially during hot weather makes total sense. However, on cold days some gardening tasks maybe strenuous, to keep ourselves warmer. We still need to replenish our water intake, although we might not realise this.

I enjoyed reading this article What you should know about drinking water (and you probably dont). 

Consider new tools for gardening when pregnant.

Along with protecting our body, it wouldn’t be very difficult to look at your gardening tools at the same time. Bending over or down could become challenging, why not make it easier and consider using longer handled tools to save bending too much,

When I discovered a tool system that enabled me to work with more ease I fell in love with the idea.

With up to 50 tool attachments on your pole, gardening can be made simple. I wouldn’t be without them.

Discover why I love this range so much in my future article ‘Save your back, reduce bending when gardening’.

The photo shows a range of small garden tools that can be attached to a long handle for ease of gardening
Gardening tool systems that can be mixed and matched for the job in hand.

Using fertilisers, weed and bug killers!

Another important consideration is the use of fertilisers, weed and bug killers. Looking for alternative treatments like soapy water solutions for aphids, vinegar solutions for weeds and nettle liquid feed for your plants can be open up a new way of gardening to you.

If you feel it is necessary to use a chemical based product, then where possible get someone else to do it for you. for best practice and safety, the best guide is to read the label and follow the instructions.  

My final thoughts for gardening when pregnant

I discovered when it comes to the garden whatever doesn’t get done will wait until it can be done. In other words, if you have no one to help you then consider restarting that task after your pregnancy. Most of all enjoy the time you spend in your garden, after all every year in the garden has it’s own joys, pleasures and challenges!

Happy gardening,

Kristian

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