11 Things To Avoid During Pregnancy
Getting pregnant at the same time can be very exciting and confusing, and especially when you are going to be a mother for the first time. During pregnancy, your body is going through many psychological and physical changes. In this period you should be alert and careful about everything that you do. Your diet and your routine day-to-day activities affect your baby’s growth and development.
Most women can carry on their daily activities during pregnancy and only a few minor lifestyle changes are needed. There are many myths related to pregnancy and what pregnant women should and shouldn’t do is often unclear. But during pregnancy, the health and well-being of both the woman and the developing fetus are of main concern.
The health and nutrition of a pregnant woman should be a top priority for a good start for a newborn. Therefore, the following things should be avoided during pregnancy.
1 Some Common Food Items
It is important to pay special attention to the food you eat while pregnant. Avoid any raw and undercooked food as it may contain Escherichia coli and Salmonella bacteria. There are some foods that every pregnant woman should avoid from eating.
- Fishes containing high mercury like swordfish, shark, and mackerel because mercury can cause brain damage or hearing and vision problems to the fetus. Apart from these avoid refrigerated and smoked sea fish and other seafood as they infected with harmful bacteria called listeria, and can cause miscarriage or serious infection to both (mother and baby).
- Dairy products like raw milk, unpasteurized milk should be completely avoided because these also contain harmful bacteria listeria that can cause food poisoning.
- Raw meat and fish contain both salmonella and toxoplasmosis which may lead to foodborne infection like dehydration, fever and intrauterine sepsis (a blood infection that can be fatal to the fetus). Salmonella is also found in raw eggs
- Some soft cheeses, such as brie, feta, and queso blanco (imported soft cheese) contains unpasteurized dairy.
- Avoid unpasteurized, fresh and raw juices because these also contain listeria and even toxoplasma.
- Eating more fatty foods during pregnancy can lead to excessive weight gain which can increase the risk of high blood pressure and even diabetes, affecting both mother and baby. Although some fat is also necessary for brain growth and maintains baby energy.
- With all these, also avoid unwashed fruits and vegetables, restaurant’s long refrigerated vegetables and salads, raw vegetables and sprouts because they may also contain harmful bacteria.
It will be good if alcohol is not consumed during pregnancy. Several studies and observations have concluded that excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause “fetal alcohol syndrome” which can lead to congenital defects such as poor development, mental disabilities and learning disabilities.
Every time we read the warning about smoking, "Smoking is harmful to your health". This warning applies to every human being because it is at risk of cancer. Smoking can create a health risk for both mother and baby. This can lead to premature labour and rupture of membranes. The baby will get insufficient oxygen which will inhibit fetal development.
Use of any drug like cocaine, marijuana, etc. can be fatal for an unborn baby. This can occur as a result of low birth weight and many other severe complications before and after delivery.
Do not take any medicine even without consulting your doctors. For example, taking too much vitamin A can damage your child's heart, face and brain and make it mentally challenged. Similarly, some pain-relieving drugs can cause heart defects in infants and some antibiotics may also not safe for a pregnant woman.
5 Steam Bath / Excessive Heat
It is preferable not to use a sauna, steam and hot pool during pregnancy as it can cause abnormally high body temperatures, which can lead to congenital abnormalities. Excessive use of hot water bags in the torso area can also cause the uterus to heat up and in extreme cases cause fetal death.
Stress is a part of our everyday life and is a cause for a number of problems. Extreme stress is harmful to both mother and baby. If the mother is upset and irritable due to stress, then the child also feels the same. Researches have shown that babies actually experience mother's feelings.
7 Too Much Exercise
Exercising moderately during pregnancy is good for you and your baby. Regular exercise can help relieve fatigue. Exercising heavily can cause your heart rate to go above 160 bpm resulting in less oxygen to the baby leading to fetal hypoxia, meaning oxygen is restricted in the fetus's brain and can result in brain damage.
Some exercises to avoid in pregnancy which involves
- Weight lifting
- Running and jogging
- Jerky movements
- A quick change in direction
- Any abdominal exercises on the back
*Note: Consult a doctor for whether the exercise plan you have chosen is appropriate or not or do as per doctor's advice.
8 Standing Or Seating For Long Hours
During pregnancy, sitting or standing in the same position for too long can cause many problems, including swollen ankles and nerve problems. Try to take short breaks often. If you have been sitting for a long time, then take a walk and if you are standing for a long time, then sit or lie down.
X-rays should be avoided in pregnancy as they can harm your baby's health. This may cause radiation exposure to the fetus which again is known to a cause of birth defects.
10 Too Much Coffee (Caffeine)
Don’t drink too much coffee during pregnancy. Like alcohol, caffeine can also pass through the placenta and hurt the fetus. Its recommended prescribed amount in pregnancy is 150 to 300 mg a day. But remember, caffeine is not only found in tea and coffee, but also in chocolate, soda and even some over-the-counter medicines.
11 Toxic Products
Toxic products are also harmful to you and your baby. If possible avoid them like
- Pest control sprays
- Paint fumes
- Harmful household cleaning products
- Passive smoking
Under normal circumstances, pregnant women can perform most of their normal activities by taking some necessary precautions. But if there any doubt, check with the doctor about the activity limits during pregnancy. Some women are at risk of complications in pregnancy such as preterm labour or others. In such a situation, in addition to the precautions given above, they may need to restrict extra activities as per doctor's advice.
You won’t be pregnant always; sacrificing a few things for a short period of time will be very beneficial for you and your baby.