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12 Things to Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnant women can carry on with their regular routine for as long as they take preventative measures. The health and safety of a mother and a growing baby are vital. It is important to eat well and abstain from alcohol and drugs. Some pregnant women can be at a higher risk for preterm labor and complications, so it is important to check with a doctor to know the limits of your pregnancy.

Here we list 12 things to avoid while pregnant.

1. Don’t eat certain foods

According to the American Pregnancy Association there are foods one must refrain from consuming while pregnant as it might harm your baby. The best foods to eat are well balanced freshly prepared meals incorporated with lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and water.  

Avoid the following:

  •     Fish with high levels of mercury such as tuna, mackerel, and swordfish, etc. including smoked fish like salmon which could be contaminated with listeria.
  •    Raw meat and shellfish such as sushi, oysters, clams, and mussels.
  •    Raw eggs, which includes homemade dressings. Eating raw eggs puts one at risk of becoming infected with salmonella.
  •    Delicatessen cold cuts or meats may be contaminated with listeria, a bacterium that can lead to an infection and blood-poisoning that could be fatal for your unborn child. This also includes soft cheeses like Brie, camembert, and gorgonzola. Make sure all dairy products consumed during the pregnancy are pasteurized.
2. Don’t drink

Refrain from consuming wine, beer or any other liquor while pregnant. Alcohol travels quickly through a person’s bloodstream that can directly harm your child’s developing organs. The risks include premature birth, birth defects, brain damage, physical abnormalities, behavioral problems, miscarriage and stillborn.  Whether you are planning to get pregnant, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, not drinking alcoholic beverages is the best option.

3. Don’t do drugs

Addiction is a chronic disease identified by obsessive behaviour, deadly health side effects and relapse. Like other diseases, addiction poses a serious risk for pregnant women and their unborn children. Mental health disorders commonly appear with addiction, together with eating disorders, and depression that can agitate the development of a prenatal baby.

Every substance a woman takes while pregnant can be transferred directly to her baby through the placenta. The placenta provides the baby oxygen and nutrients for proper development.

The use of illegal drugs, including the misuse of prescription medicine while pregnant can cause a newborn baby to go through substance withdrawal. The continued use of drugs while pregnant can elevate the risk of a miscarriage, stillborn and other developmental abnormalities. Rehab for pregnant women is an option, get help before it is too late.  

4. Don’t smoke

Smoking cigarettes are both harmful to mother and child. It increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease and can lead to premature birth, sudden infant death syndrome and congenital abnormalities. Women should quit smoking as soon as they know they are with child. It is important to also avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.

5. Don’t take certain medicines

Pregnant women should not take over the counter prescription drugs as it may harm the unborn fetus.  Doctors advise avoiding the intake of ibuprofen, herbal remedies, cold and flu medications, and other anti-inflammatory drugs. It is best to consult your physician and pharmacist on alternative medicines to use during your pregnancy.

6. Don’t consume too much caffeine

The National Health Society in the United Kingdom states that it is best to limit one’s intake of caffeine while pregnant. Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic, it increases one’s blood pressure and heart rate.  While pregnant it is good to limit the consumption of caffeine to 200mg per day. Higher quantities can be harmful to the fetus and increase the risk of a miscarriage and low birth weight. Be reminded that caffeine is not just found in tea and coffee but also in a selection of over the counter medicines, chocolate, and sodas.

7. Don’t use a hot tub or sauna

It is best to avoid situations that can cause your body temperature to increase especially during the first trimester. Jacuzzi’s, hot yoga and saunas are not advisable. Opt for a warm shower instead, to heal the aches and pains felt during pregnancy.

8. Strenuous exercise and heavy lifting

Always consult with a doctor before choosing an activity to keep fit during pregnancy. Low impact exercises like swimming and walking are good ways to maintain a healthy weight while pregnant. Contact sports such as football and boxing should be avoided. The American Pregnancy Association insists pregnant women should refrain from heavy lifting that can induce preterm labor, hernia, and pulled muscles.

9. Don’t expose yourself to paint fumes and other chemicals

The risk of being exposed to modern household paints and cleaning chemicals during your first trimester could cause a risk to your baby’s development. It’s best to stay away from paint fumes and find someone else to paint the nursery. Hair dye, fake tanning kits should also be avoided. Changes in hormones while pregnant could induce an allergic reaction for both mother and baby.

10. Don’t change the litter box

Cat feces can carry a rare parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis. If contracted during the early stages of pregnancy it can cause blindness and brain damage in an unborn baby. Ask someone else to clear the litter box. If you must, make sure to wear gloves and wash your hands well with an antibacterial soap.

11. Don’t stand or sit for too long

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes during your pregnancy and put the stilettos away.  As your belly gets larger over the next nine months, your center of balance changes and don’t be surprised to find yourself unsteady on your feet.  Staying in the same position for a long duration of time, be it standing or sitting can cause discomfort for pregnant women. Take short breaks and keep active. Elevate the feet to prevent your ankles from swelling if you have been sitting for too long.

12. Don’t use an X-ray

It’s best to avoid any X-ray tests while pregnant. Always inform your doctor that you are pregnant so they can assess whether it is best to wait until you have given birth to proceed with any other medical tests.