Knowing the do’s and don’ts when pregnant can help you have a safer pregnancy. Expecting mothers should be careful when engaging in activities they previously considered safe since their bodies are undergoing several physiological and psychological changes.
Although it may be overwhelming to receive a lot of new information, knowing the right and safe choices could help you avoid worries later. Further, doctors may give personalized recommendations during your prenatal visits in each trimester. Note that the dos and don’ts are specific to the trimester.
Read on to know more about the dos and don’ts when pregnant and why it is important to follow them.
Things To Avoid During Pregnancy
There are many things you can’t do while pregnant, for your baby’s safety and good health.
Do not eat raw meat, unpasteurized dairy, raw foods, fried foods, etc. They may contain harmful microbes that can adversely affect you and your baby’s health. Such foods also contribute to excessive weight gain. When you are eating raw fruits and vegetables, make sure that you are washing them thoroughly before consumption.
Do not paint the nursery as the chemicals and solvents in the paints can be toxic and harmful. If you want to paint the nursery, then you can use natural or organic colors, and ensure the room is well-ventilated.
Do not go overboard on caffeine. It can increase blood pressure, heart rate, and you have to go frequently to the loo. Also, caffeine passes through the placenta to the fetus. It is also associated with an increased risk of low birth weight and birth defects.
Do not take medications without consulting your health practitioner. Certain medications may have specific dosage and should not be taken over-the-counter.
Do not wear stilettos and prefer heels that are three-inch or less, such as wedges, platforms, and kitten heels. Heels may make you uncomfortable as the body’s center of gravity changes and could therefore result in muscle damage, backache, pelvic pain and loss of balance. If you have swollen ankles, you might feel better in flip-flops.
Do not change the kitten litter as the feces can carry a rare parasitic disease, toxoplasmosis. Even if you do, wear gloves while changing and wash your hands after that.
Do not breathe secondhand smoke. It is linked to many complications including cancers, premature delivery, miscarriage, low birth weight babies, sudden infant death syndrome, and learning or behavioral issues as the baby grows.
Do not take alcohol including wine, liquor, and beer. It can pass through the placenta and umbilical cord and affect the baby’s developing brain and organs. Regular consumption of alcohol might lead to premature birth, brain damage, miscarriage, stillbirth, and a life-long debilitation condition know as fetal alcohol syndrome
Do not sit or stand for extended periods in the same position. It can hurt the ankles and veins. Take frequent breaks and move around to keep your legs elevated if you have been on your feet for some time.
Do not get carried away by contradictory information given in books, magazines, and online media. Trust your instincts and when in doubt, talk to your practitioner.
Do not take illegal drugs. Drugs are associated with increased chances of low birth weight babies, impaired neurobehavioral development in babies, birth defects, and withdrawal effects.
Do not eat foods made of unpasteurized dairy products or uncooked/ semi-cooked meat as they possibly carry harmful bacteria listeria that makes you and your baby vulnerable to many diseases
Do not get in contact with reptiles such as lizards, turtles, iguanas, and snakes. Their feces pass salmonella virus into your system and can be dangerous.
Ensure there are no ticks as their bites can cause Lyme disease. The effects include permanent tooth discoloration in pregnant women and deformation of bones in the fetus
Avoid vitamin A supplements unless advised by your healthcare practitioner. Having excessive vitamin A can lead to birth defects in the baby.
Stay away from video display terminals (VDTs), radios, high voltage power lines, telegraph transmissions, and various other common appliances and communication equipment. These emit harmful, non-ionizing radiations that may lead to abortions, birth defects, and genetic damages in babies. If your work requires you to deal with such equipment, you might use devices that help reduce radiation or seek a change in the nature of work.
Exposure to X-rays, especially abdominal X-rays, increases the risk of birth defects and cancers such as leukemia in babies later in life.
Do not stay near microwaves, They emit non-ionizing radiation, and exposure to higher levels of these radiations might cause internal body heating. This could, therefore, affect the developing fetus. A damaged microwave oven may also increase the risk of higher energy leaks that could be dangerous
Do not use an electric blanket. They emit low-level electromagnetic fields, which can be dangerous for the growing fetus. Also avoid overheating as this might result in increased core temperature.
Do not use a waterbed as the heaters used in them emit the same electric fields as electric blankets.
Do not drink tap water in early pregnancy stages if the water in your region is prone to contaminants. Have treated water.
Avoid stress especially at work. It can affect your immune system and increase the chance of infections leading to preterm labor.
Do not expose yourself to pesticides, including herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. They can have a variety of effects on your fetus, including miscarriage and preterm birth. If you cannot avoid exposure, wear a face mask.
Avoid fumes from household cleaning products, paints, thinners, etc. They contain solvents, which on inhalation increase the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. If you cannot avoid exposure, wear a face mask.
Ensure that your body temperature is not above 101°F as it can be potentially dangerous for your developing fetus. The body temperature rises during flu, strenuous exercises, and fever.
Ensure good personal hygiene to stay away from contracting diseases such as herpes as it could lead to severe health complications in babies during delivery. In rare cases, it can also cause a miscarriage during the first trimester.
Seat belt safety. Driving is still considered a fairly safe activity during pregnancy. If you’re going to get behind the wheel, however, you need to protect yourself: You should always wear your seat belt, including when you’re pregnant.
If you wear your seatbelt correctly, there’s little chance of injury to your baby during normal driving and even during road accidents. What little chance there is pales in comparison to the risks of not wearing a seat belt at all.
As far as getting comfortable using a typical three-point seat belt during your pregnancy (and doing it safely), here are a few tips:
- Position the lap portion of the belt as far under your belly as possible, not straight across.
- Keep the driver’s seat as far back from the steering wheel as you can while still maintaining easy access to important stuff like the brakes, gear shift, and headlights.
- Consider adjusting the angle of the steering wheel upward, so the bottom edge of the wheel isn’t directly parallel with your stomach.
- Make sure the shoulder portion of the belt is positioned correctly (over your shoulder and down the center of your chest).
If it makes you more comfortable, you might be able to utilize a seat belt positioner when you’re pregnant.
This allows your lap belt to be secured in between your legs — rather than at one side — so it rests on top of your thighs, not under your belly. We recommend checking with your OB-GYN or midwife first, though, to see if this is safe for you.
Now that you know how to drive more safely while pregnant, when should you choose not to drive at all? Here are six scenarios.