10 Things You Should Avoid While Pregnant
1. Alcohol-There is no known safe level of alcohol for a developing fetus. The more alcohol a fetus is exposed to the greater the danger of problems. The most serious of which is fetal alcohol syndrome. This is the number one preventable cause of mental retardation. It can also cause malformed skeletal systems and nervous system malfunctions among a host of other potential issues. Don’t chance it. Is that glass of wine really worth risking your baby’s health and wellbeing?
2. Smoke-This includes personally smoking cigarettes, inhaling second hand smoke, or other situation where the expectant mother might be exposed to any kind of smoke. Smoking has been known to cause spontaneous miscarriage, pre-term labor and low birth weight. It also causes the baby’s blood vessels to constrict which inhibits oxygen from getting to the brain. This can cause any number of developmental delays.
3. Cats-In particular, kitty litter. A cat’s feces is a carrier of a parasite which causes toxoplasmosis. This can cause still birth, ectopic pregnancy, and birth defects. If you have had a cat for a long time before getting pregnant you may already have built up an immunity to toxoplasmosis, but be cautious. Your veterinarian can perform a test to see if your cat is a carrier of the disease.
4. Fish (with mercury)-Mercury is poison for the developing fetus. For this reason you should avoid fish that are known to have high concentrations of mercury such as shark, swordfish, and some tuna.
5. Raw Meats (and seafood)-uncooked or undercooked meat carries a risk of coliform bacteria, salmonella, and toxoplasmosis. These can cause miscarriage, still birth or brain damage.
6. Soft Cheeses-Any soft cheese such as brie, feta, blue cheese or queso blanco may be a carrier for a bacteria called listeria. This can cause blood poisoning for your baby which is a VERY serious situation for both mother and child. In addition it can cause miscarriage.
7. Pesticides-Make sure you thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables before you consume them. Also avoid weed killer and lawn treatments. These can cause developmental delays, especially if exposed to them during the first trimester.
8. Hot Tubs-or anything that could potentially raise your body temperature over 102’F. When your internal temperature gets too high, the baby has no way to cool down. If you go to a cooler area, you may feel immediate relief, but it takes a long time for your internal temperature to go down. Your baby doesn’t get relief until much later than you do. You may be able to handle rising temps, but the fetus has not yet developed the mechanisms to combat it.
9. Electric Blankets-Studies have shown even low level exposure to electro-magnetic fields can cause cell damage. In the early stages of development the cells are going through a lot of change and growth and anything that can potentially cause cell damage should be avoided. For this same reason you should probably not stand directly in front of a microwave while it is in use or stand too close to your television. Also electric blankets could possibly cause your internal temperature to rise to an unsafe level (see #8).
10. Sports (some)-While exercise is good for the expectant mother, some physical activities should wait until after the baby is born. This includes any sport that carries a high risk of injury such as downhill skiing, basketball, or hockey. If there is any risk of impact (like a hockey puck hitting the pregnant woman in the stomach), it should be avoided. This kind of injury has been known to cause miscarriage, internal bleeding, or the baby to be born with broken bones. If you sustain any kind of fall or other blunt force trauma to your abdomen during pregnancy, please seek medical advice immediately.