When you’re pregnant, you have to be much more cautious about certain products, foods and environments that can potentially pose risks for you and your little one. In general, cooking is a perfectly safe task, except in some specific situations. As long as you stay away from these dangerous scenarios and cook your food to the appropriate temperature, you can enjoy the pleasant aromas of your homemade meals without any issues.
Cooking with wood, charcoal and gas without proper ventilation can lead to a smoky cooking environment. When this happens, harmful gases and tiny particles fill the smoky air. According to Hesperian Health Guides, pregnant women who are frequently exposed to harmful cooking smoke can potentially have babies that are very small, have difficulty growing and may have learning problems later on. In extreme cases, the baby may be stillborn. This is in addition to the headaches, dizziness, fatigue and breathing problems that people may experience from smoke exposure. This is why you should never cook indoors with a camping stove or grill.
Carbon Monoxide Risk
If you have a stove or appliances that use natural gas, liquid petroleum, oil, kerosene, charcoal, coal or wood, be aware of the carbon monoxide risk. This is a poisonous, deadly gas that has no color, taste or smell. If you are in the kitchen or another room that uses one of these appliances and has poor ventilation, you could potentially get carbon monoxide poisoning. If you're cooking with one of these stoves or ovens and start experiencing flu-like symptoms without a fever -- like fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, vomiting or confusion -- go outside immediately and seek help after you leave your home. Having a carbon monoxide detector in your home is essential and can help indicate when this gas is present in the air.
Oven and Stove Cleaner Fumes
If your oven or stove top has been cleaned lately, you should be mindful of the fumes that result from using harsh household chemicals, as well as the cleaner residue being heated when the stove or oven is turned on. Although it depends on the product, KidsHealth.org points out that oven cleaner and degreaser fumes can be toxic. Opt for natural cleaning products, like baking soda, borax or vinegar, instead of harsh chemical cleaners.
Tips During Cooking
You can help reduce your exposure if you make your cooking area as safe as possible. Ensure that there is plenty of ventilation in your kitchen, including a hood fan and vent above your stove. Open a window if the kitchen becomes smoky. Before you cook, always make sure the stove and oven are wiped completely of any cleaner. If you can get someone to do the cooking for you, even if it’s only part of the time, it can reduce your exposure risks.