Gardening During Pregnancy

If you are young, female, and want both a garden and a family, there is a good chance that you will, at some point, be gardening while pregnant. If this is the case, here are some things to think about before and during your pregnancy.

Always wear gloves: This is good advice for anybody, but it is especially important during pregnancy. Free-roaming cats often deposit faeces in gardens that can infect anyone who comes in contact with them with a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. Although many people are infected with this disease, and the symptoms are usually very mild, they can be severe for pregnant women infected for the first time, as well as causing harm to the developing foetus.

Get up to date on vaccines: Although good garden gloves can prevent some exposure to the bacteria that cause tetanus, there is always a risk from puncture wounds. Getting your shot before you become pregnant is a good idea, but if there is any possibility of exposure, the tetanus shot is considered safe to receive during pregnancy. Some combination shots, however, are not, so be sure the doctor administering the vaccine knows you are expecting.

Plan a spring baby: I know, babies don't always come when it's convenient, but there are several advantages to having a baby in the spring. You won't have to work in the garden while heavily pregnant, and when the baby does come, some peaceful work in the garden can be just the break you need after rocking a crying baby for hours. Other advantages to having a spring baby include not being pregnant during the hottest part of the year (torture!), avoiding cold and flu season while your baby is still very young, and being able to let older, preschool-aged sibling entertain themselves outside during good weather when you most need them to.

Don't be ambitious: If you are having a summer baby, don't spend all winter reading seed catalogues and planning to redo your yard. I guarantee that you'll regret it when you discover that stooping over and digging are much harder than usual, and that your husband's promises to help don't include every item that you imagined. If that new bed really can't wait, try to get the hard work out of the way as early in the year as possible. Use tools like mulch, automated watering timers and soaker hoses to reduce chores like weeding and watering for the rest of the summer. And, of course, don't worry about perfection; there's not much chance for that once you have kids anyway.

Consider planting a tree: Some families plant a tree for every child that is born. This seems like a very nice idea that you might like to try. However, it might not be a good idea if you are planning on moving, you have a small yard and are planning a large family, or you don't think you can keep it alive (the tree). Another option might be to plant a long-lived perennial, such as a peony, or a shrub. I've never done this, because as bad as it is to kill a tree, shrub or plant, I imagine it's much worse to kill somebody's special tree, shrub or plant.

And if your pregnancy seems to be never-ending, I've heard that digging new garden beds is a great way to induce labour. I'm not recommending that, of course, but I hear it can be very effective!

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