Pregnancy is a big responsibility. Before you make any decisions about the activities you can participate in or the substances you come into contact with, you have to think about whether they are safe or harmful to your baby. There are some things that pregnant women should avoid, but these are usually not difficult to adjust to. Knowing what to avoid while pregnant will better prepare you for the months ahead.
Avoid engaging in unhealthy habits. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using illegal substances can all negatively affect your baby. Using these substances during pregnancy can lead to serious birth defects and even miscarriage.
These are not only harmful to your baby, but can also pose health risks for expecting mothers. Many of these habits can be difficult to stop, but the fact that your baby’s health is at stake should motivate you to put an end to these dangerous habits. If you think you’ll have an especially difficult time giving up these dangerous habits, you can speak to your healthcare provider who may be able to point you toward some resources or support groups.
Watch what you eat and drink. During pregnancy, babies get all of their nutrients from their mothers. This is why there are often so many restrictions on food and beverages during pregnancy–everything an expecting mother eats or drinks is broken down and used to support her developing baby.
For this reason, expecting mothers should take special care to avoid ingesting potentially harmful foods and drinks such as undercooked meat, unpasteurized dairy, soft cheeses, unwashed foods, and too much caffeine. Along with these off-limits foods, pregnant women should avoid eating too much junk food, which offers little to no nutritious value. It can seem like a lot to remember, but creating a pregnancy diet can help.
This post provides a more complete list of “What Foods to Avoid While Pregnant.”
Avoid dangerous activities. Exercise should be carefully considered. Generally, if a woman is active before becoming pregnant, she should be able to continue exercising so long as she takes it easy and listens to her body. It’s especially important to pay attention to signs that you’re overdoing it because it’s often easier to overstretch or strain yourself during pregnancy. This is because of the production of relaxin, a hormone the body produces to prepare for birth. It loosens the ligaments in your body, making you less stable and more prone to injury.
Activities that could put you at risk for falling or injuring your abdomen should also be avoided. These include things like skiing, horseback riding or hockey.
It can also be risky to travel far from home toward the end of your pregnancy. If there are any complications or you suddenly go into labor, you’ll want to be close to a proper care facility and your OBGYN.
Be aware of medications and chemicals. Just like with foods and drinks, everything a mother ingests or breaths is shared with her baby. For this reason, you need to be careful with the chemicals you handle and the medicine you take. You should consult with your caregiver before taking new medicines or stopping medicines you usually take. In general though, you should avoid common household cleaners, paint, lawn care chemicals and any other chemical that seems suspicious or is labeled as being “toxic.”
- Cleaning: Avoid oven cleaner, aerosol spray cleaners, dry cleaning fluids, and spot removers.
- Home renovation: Avoid latex or oil-based paints, varnish, shellac, turpentine, paint strippers. Avoid repairs that can stir up lead dust.
- Lawn or garden: Avoid pesticides, insecticides, weed killers, and fertilizers.
Keeping track of all the things to avoid while pregnant can be a lot, so don’t try to do it all on your own. This can lead to stress (which by the way, should also be avoided!). Instead, talk to your doctor about what to avoid while pregnant, what things you should limit and what things are completely safe. You may hear some things that surprise you, but ultimately, you’ll be reassured that you’re doing the safest thing possible for you and your baby.