Everyone has their own opinion on what women are allowed and not allowed to do during pregnancy. Some choose to follow old wives’ tales, while others follow only those practices backed by science.
To simplify your search on what you should and should not do, we have compiled a list of 12 things to avoid during pregnancy.
1. Avoid smoking or inhaling secondhand smoke during pregnancy
Cigarette smoke can be very harmful for your baby as it can block the delivery of vital oxygen and nutrients to the fetus.
2. Avoid consuming raw food
Raw food — be it meat or vegetables — can bring unwanted bacteria into the body. Examples include eggs, which could carry salmonella bacteria, or raw meat which can carry toxoplasmic parasites.
Harmful bacteria which enter the body can infect a pregnant woman’s intestines. In the worst cases, the infection can result in birth defects or miscarriages. So if you’re currently pregnant, it’s best to stay away from salad or sushi!
3. Avoid excessive caffeine intake during pregnancy
Excessive intake of caffeine can cause dehydration during pregnancy. This may result in malnutrition in babies. Other than coffee, caffeine can also be found in tea, soda, chocolate and energy drinks, so it is better to skip these during pregnancy.
4. Avoid taking medication without a doctor’s prescription
Should you fall sick while pregnant, ensure to check with your physician before taking any kind of medication. Medication may bring some adverse side effects to your pregnancy and your baby, therefore, it is best to ensure the medication you take is safe.
Furthermore, overdosing on medications could cause pregnancy complications. Ensure that the dosage with which you take your medication is appropriate and prescribed by your doctor.
5. Avoid consuming seafood with high mercury content
Some seafood such as shellfish, shrimp, salmon and tuna may contain mercury. Mercury content in seafood is caused by industrial pollution dumped into the sea. Although not all seafood will contain dangerous levels of mercury, pregnant women are still advised to to limit, if not avoid, the consumption of mercury-prone seafood during pregnancy.
Pregnant women should consume no more than 7 ounces of seafood per week. Consumption of seafood is fine, as long as it’s within the advised portion.
6. Avoid consuming food that can trigger allergies
Do you have any history of food allergies? During pregnancy, avoid consumption of food to which you are allergic to avoid disruption to your baby’s fetal growth. To ensure that you are avoiding food that can trigger your allergy, take an allergy test in your early stage of pregnancy.
7. Avoid consuming unpasteurized milk
Pasteurization is an important process where food is heated to kill off bacteria. Unpasteurized milk can carry disease-causing microbes and cause toxoplasmosis in pregnant women.
This could easily result in pregnancy complications, such as vision or hearing loss in infants. When taking dairy products during pregnancy, ensure that they are pasteurized.
8. Avoid a weight-loss diet during pregnancy
Consult a doctor first if you need to maintain your weight for health purposes during pregnancy. Nutrition during pregnancy must be optimal, therefore going on a weight-loss diet may not be ideal at this time. Should you need to maintain your current weight to ensure a healthy pregnancy, consult with your doctor first.
During pregnancy, it is important for women to ensure and maintain a healthy, and well-balanced diet. Eat healthily – not too much or too little!
9. Avoid consuming alcoholic drinks
Alcohol enters the blood and can penetrate the placenta, harming the fetus. Alcohol damages the fetal nervous system and brain during the development stage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that alcohol can cause disorders in children at birth, such as low IQ and slow growth.
10. Avoid using a sauna
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that saunas can inhibit fetal growth. When using the sauna, blood pressure decreases, slowing the distribution of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. This can trigger low weight at birth, miscarriage, and even birth defects.
11. Avoid using chemical facial treatments during pregnancy
During pregnancy, it is best to avoid chemical and laser facial treatments. Radiation waves from a laser can inhibit the growth of the spinal cord and fetal nervous system. Some chemicals can also be harmful to pregnant women.
Alternatively, women should use natural treatments or beauty products recommended by obstetricians. Make sure the ingredients are safe and natural!
12. Avoid using products with hazardous chemicals
Hazardous chemicals can be found in many daily products. Examples include fluoride in toothpaste, SLS in soap, and parabens and retinol in skincare products.
When you are pregnant, you need to be more careful about which chemicals you come into contact with. Long-term use of chemicals that are not recommended can endanger the health of the mother or the fetus in the womb.