Things You Should Not Do In Your First Trimester

Congratulations on your pregnancy mama! So exciting! First I want to give you a list of things you should not do during your first trimester of pregnancy. To ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy journey.

The baby grows fastest during the first trimester. By the end of the first trimester, the fetus can weigh about 0.5 to 1 ounce and measure an average of 3 to 4 inches in length.

The first trimester is also when pregnancy loss (miscarriage) can happen. This occurs in about 10% of pregnancies. 

Because of the rapidly developing baby as well as the risk of miscarriage, during the first trimester women are advised to avoid a number of activities and foods. 

  • Avoid smoking and e-cigarettes
    • A woman shouldn’t smoke at any time during her pregnancy so once a woman finds out she is pregnant she should talk to her doctor about ways to quit the habit
    • Babies born to mothers who smoke are at increased risk for birth defects 
    • E-cigarettes are also not safe during pregnancy because the nicotine can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs
  • Avoid alcohol
    • There is no amount of alcohol that is considered safe to drink during pregnancy
    • Drinking during the first trimester can cause birth defects, lead to miscarriage and stillbirth, and cause behavioral and intellectual disabilities known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)
  • Avoid raw or undercooked meat and eggs
    • Raw or undercooked meat and eggs carry the risk of contracting listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which can lead to serious and life-threatening illnesses, severe birth defects, and miscarriage
  • Avoid raw sprouts 
    • These can contain E. coli and Salmonella
  • Avoid certain seafood
    • Mackerel and tilefish have a high mercury content
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products and unpasteurized juices
    • This includes soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, and goat cheese 
    • These may contain bacteria such as listeria
  • Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs and deli meats
    • These can also contain listeria 
    • They also contain nitrates and nitrites
  • Avoid too much caffeine
    • Some caffeine is ok: about 200 mg (2 cups of coffee)
    • Caffeine can cross the placenta and affect a baby’s heart rate
  • Avoid gaining too much weight
    • Pregnant women do not have to “eat for two” during the first trimester (women usually need more calories during the second and third trimesters, but not necessarily during the first)
    • Women who gain too much weight during pregnancy put their child at greater risk for obesity later in life 
  • Avoid saunas, hot tubs, whirlpools, and steam rooms
    • These places put a pregnant woman at risk of overheating, dehydration, and fainting 
    • A significant rise in the mother’s core temperature could affect her baby’s development, especially during the first trimester 
    • Some research has found that the risk of miscarriage may double if a pregnant woman uses one of these during the first trimester
  • Avoid massage and acupuncture 
    • These therapies are generally safe during pregnancy but a pregnant woman’s abdomen should not be massaged during the first trimester
    • Acupuncture as well is generally safe during pregnancy, but certain acupuncture points should be avoided 
    • Women seeking acupuncture should make sure the acupuncturist is trained in treating pregnant women
  • Avoid cleaning the cat’s litter box
    • A parasite found in feline waste called Toxoplasma gondii can cause miscarriage or stillbirth, or serious problems in babies born with the parasite
  • Avoid certain cleaning products
    • Check the labels of cleaning products to make sure there are no warnings for pregnant women
    • Some mothballs and toilet fresheners have a chemical called naphthalene that can damage blood cells
  • Avoid fake tans
    • These are generally safe for use during pregnancy, but they can cause an allergic reaction
    • Hormone levels during pregnancy make the skin more sensitive and can make a woman more prone to allergic reactions
    • Do not use tanning pills or tanning injections

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