When you got a bun in the oven there are some things that you just shouldn’t do. As they could be dangerous to you and baby. Click here to find out what not to do when you’re pregnant so you can keep having a safe and healthy pregnancy!
Smoking is a major modifiable risk factor (something you can change) for all sorts of health problems for your baby. It’s never too late to stop. Think about getting support, as this has been shown to make staying off cigarettes more likely.
Don’t drink alcohol
Don’t drink alcohol, especially in the first trimester when the baby’s brain is going through a period of intense development.
Don’t take drugs
Cocaine, meta-amphetamines, cannabis, psychoactive substances (so called ‘legal highs’) are all likely to increase risks of health problems.
If you are taking illegal drugs it is really important to talk to your midwife or doctor. They will not judge you and can give you the right care and support during your pregnancy. The more they know, the more they can help you and your baby to get the right treatment.
You can also get confidential (they will not speak to anyone else about your drug-use) extra support from Talk to Frank. There is a live chat on the website. You can text 82111 or call 0300 123 6600
Don’t go diving or playing rugby
Most exercise is safe and healthy, but a handful of activities could cause injury to the baby.
Don’t drink (or eat) too much caffeine
More than 60% of women who checked their caffeine intake on our caffeine calculator were surprised to find that they were over the limit. High levels of caffeine during pregnancy can result in low birth weight babies, which can increase the risk of health problems in later life. Too much caffeine has also been linked to miscarriage.
Don’t diet in pregnancy
Cutting out food groups may deprive your baby against nutrients they need for growth. Instead of dieting, it is best to
Do take folic acid and vitamin D
Folic acid reduces your baby’s risk of neural tube defects to almost nil. It is ideal to start taking it three months before conception but if it’s too late for that, don’t worry but start taking the recommended daily amount now and continue taking it until the end of the first trimester (week 12 of your pregnancy).
Vitamin D helps your baby develop healthy bones, teeth and muscles. It helps to regulate the levels of calcium and phosphate in your body. You need these to keep your bones and teeth healthy.
Taking a daily vitamin D supplement is even more important if you are at risk of vitamin D deficiency:
- if you have darker skin
- if you get less sunlight, for example you stay inside a lot, or if you usually cover your skin for cultural reasons.
These two supplements are the only ones you need in pregnancy unless your doctor or midwife diagnoses a deficiency, such as iron deficiency.
You can buy them cheaply in high street chemists or supermarkets (if you buy own brand supplements individually they can be cheaper than the branded packs of pregnancy vitamins).
Do stay active
Being sedentary (sitting down a lot) is not healthy for you or your baby.
It puts you at higher risk of too much weight gain, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia and varicose veins and you are more likely to have shortness of breath and lower back pain.
If you did exercise before you became pregnant, you can continue at the same level but listen to your body and slow down when you feel uncomfortable.
If you didn’t exercise before you became pregnant, you don’t have to take up organised exercise classes, the important thing is to be active. There are tips here to help you build exercise into your day.
Do think about what you eat
Some foods carry a small risk of infections, such as toxoplasmosis or listeriosis. Others can give you food poisoning, such as salmonella. Others have too much vitamin A or mercury, which can harm your developing
Listeria infection is rare but if you get it can severely damage your unborn baby. Foods that are more likely to carry listeria:
- mould‑ripened soft cheese, such as Camembert or Brie, and soft blue‑veined cheese (there is no risk with hard cheese such as cheddar, parmesan or stilton, or with cottage cheese or processed cheese)
- pâté (even vegetable pâté)
- unpasteurised milk
Salmonella food poisoning is unlikely to harm your baby, but it can give you a severe bout of diarrhoea and vomiting. Foods that are more likely to carry salmonella:
- unpasteurised milk
- avoid eating raw or partially cooked eggs or food that may contain them (such as mayonnaise) unless they are produced under a food safety standard called the British Lion Code of Practice
Toxoplasmosis infection is rare but if you get it can severely damage your unborn baby. Foods that are more likely to carry the toxoplasma parasite:
- uncooked or undercooked ready‑prepared meals
- raw or partially cooked meat, especially poultry
- unwashed vegetables and salad
- cured or fermented meat (these can made safe by freezing or cooking before eating)
Too much vitamin A can affect your developing baby.
Foods that have high doses of vitamin A are:
- liver and liver products
- high-dose multivitamin supplements, fish liver oil supplements, or any supplements containing vitamin A.
Too much mercury and other pollutants, such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
If you eat the following you are at risk of eating too much mercury and other substances that may harm your growing baby:
- shark, swordfish or marlin
- more than two tuna steaks a week (about 140g cooked or 170g raw each)
- more than four medium-sized cans of tuna a week
- more than two portions of oily fish a week, such as salmon, trout, mackerel and herring.