30 Things You Must Avoid During Pregnancy

Written by Sheetal • 

Pregnancy brings not only physiological but also several psychological changes in a woman. Anxiety is a common trait, as you keep thinking about several things that could happen or not happen to you during this period. Being prepared for certain unforeseen circumstances is required, but the trick is to know how to keep yourself free from some unwanted worries.

If you are pregnant and are eager to know about things that you need to avoid during the nine months, here is a guide for you.

Momjunction helps you understand the top risky things to avoid during pregnancy.

30 Things To Avoid During Pregnancy:

Foods To Avoid In Pregnancy:

There are certain foods which are not suitable for pregnant women and fetus as well.

1. Feta Cheese:

Avoid taking feta cheese in any form. Unpasteurized cheese can cause foodborne ailments such as Listeriosis that increase the chances of miscarriage. In fact, eating any unpasteurized dairy food could harm both the pregnant mom and the baby inside. Avoid consumption of any form of cheese to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

2. Liver:

The liver is an important source of vitamin A, which is clinically unsafe for both the pregnant mother and baby. It can cause birth defects in the baby. It is better if you rely on vegetable sources of vitamin A.

3. Fish Containing Mercury:

Seafish is a real good source of Omega 3 fatty acids and several nutrients essential for you and your baby. But again, you should not have more than 12 ounces of fish or any seafood a week as some seafish contain mercury, which is harmful to the baby. Fish like king mackerel and swordfish contain high amounts of mercury, which affects the baby’s nervous system leading to permanent damage. Instead, choose fish like salmon and tuna as they have low levels of mercury and are safe to eat. You should also avoid raw or semi-cooked fish.

[ Read: Seafood During Pregnancy ]

4. Raw Vegetables And Sprouts:

Vegetables contain a good amount of nutrients that benefit your baby. But raw veggies can increase the risk of foodborne ailments. Ensure that vegetables are properly washed before making any salads. If you eat sprouts, steam them in a low flame to destroy any bacteria.

5. Raw Eggs:

Eggs contain a good amount of proteins and nutrients. But during pregnancy, you should avoid consuming raw or half cooked eggs as they can increase the risk of salmonella infection.

6. Under-Cooked Meat:

Undercooked meat and deli meat can harbor bacteria like Toxoplasma and Listeria, which are harmful and affect your baby’s growth. Ensure that you eat fully cooked meat.

Beverages To Avoid During Pregnancy:

Just like foods, certain beverages can be harmful both to the mother and the baby. You should either stop consuming them completely or limit the intake.

7. Alcohol:

Alcoholic beverages of any type should not be consumed during pregnancy, as the liquid passes through the bloodstream into the placenta and your baby receives that. As the fetus is still growing, there are high chances of your baby developing fetal alcohol syndrome and can have mental or physical abnormalities. You can stand the risk of premature birth or even a miscarriage.

[ Read: Alcohol During Pregnancy ]

8. Caffeine:

Lethargy and mood swings are quite common when you are carrying. Most women take a hot cup of coffee to quick-fix the problem. Though it can do wonders to treat lethargy, it can also be harmful to you and your baby. Caffeine reduces blood flow to the unborn baby and alters iron absorption in your body, thus affecting its growth. Caffeine could become an addiction with drug-like qualities.

9. Diet Soda:

Diet soda based drinks contain caffeine and high amounts of artificial sweetening agents. They contain saccharine that can cause birth defects. The sweetening agents induce glucose intolerance by altering the bacteria in the gut. Therefore, you should avoid all forms of soda drinks during pregnancy.

Lifestyle Issues To Avoid During Pregnancy:

You cannot ensure your and your baby’s safety by simply avoiding certain foods and beverages. You should also alter some lifestyle habits for a safe and healthy pregnancy.

10. Smoking:

Smoking has serious effects on both you and your baby. While smoking, you inhale nicotine, carbon monoxide and various other chemicals that can cross the placenta and get into your baby. They can, thus, alter the oxygen and nutrient needs of your growing fetus.

Smoking will increase the risk of premature birth, miscarriage, placental abruption and sudden infant death syndrome after delivery. Smokers give birth to babies of low weight, and these babies have more chances of getting health problems compared to those of non-smokers.

Passive smoking is also unhealthy for pregnant women. Babies exposed to smoke are at risk of developing respiratory and ear infections. If you or your partner has a habit of smoking, you should discontinue that as soon as possible. You can also ask your healthcare provider about quit-smoking programs. The Great Start Program is once such initiative.

The Great Start campaign has been launched by the American Legacy Foundation as a part of a national initiative to quit smoking while pregnant. It is formed in partnership with the American Cancer Society, where the legacy sponsors one year toll-free smoking cessation counseling for pregnant women who smoke. The toll-free number is 1-800-784-8669. Callers will have the opportunity to get free counseling sessions from a counselor who will help them to quit. You can also check the website for more info – www.americanlegacy.org.

[ Read: Smoking During Pregnancy ]

11. Illegal Drugs:

If you have a habit of consuming illegal drugs, you should completely stop them as they can harm your baby. Drugs like cocaine and crack cause serious complications in the baby.

Illegal drugs can increase the risk of premature birth, miscarriage or stillbirth. Chances of your baby getting affected with mental retardation and behavioral and learning problems are high. Some babies are born with symptoms of sweating, seizures and irritability. Also, the needles which you use for drug injection can pose a high risk of getting infected with AIDS and hepatitis.

Some drugs that cause serious health issues include:

  • Amphetamines (speed, uppers, meth, crystal, crank)
  •  Barbiturates (barbs, blues, downers, reds, ludes)
  • Cocaine (crack, crank, coke, rock)
  • Ecstasy (Adam, MDMA, X)
  • GHB (Georgia home boy, G, Liquid ecstasy)
  • Narcotics (codeine, heroin, opium, methadone, morphine)
  • Ketamine (K, Special K)
  • Marijuana (pot, grass, weed)

Talk to your healthcare provider about counseling centers, support groups and more where you can get help.

12. Stress:

It is obvious that you may feel low and irritable during pregnancy. Hormonal changes are often the reasons for these. Stress can lead to insomnia and constipation, making pregnancy a difficult phase. Therefore, you should avoid being stressed out during pregnancy.

13. Skincare And Haircare:

You should be careful about skin care and grooming products during pregnancy. You should avoid using chemical based products as they can cause allergies, rashes, and many such complications. These chemicals can even pass into the fetus and harm its growth. Choose natural products to add glow to your face.

Hair treatments like hair coloring, perming, bleaching and straightening contain chemicals. The amount of exposure to these chemicals and their frequency can have an effect on pregnant women. You should strictly avoid any hair treatments during the first trimester of pregnancy.

If you work in a hair salon, you should limit exposure to chemical hair treatments. Also, you should ensure that you work in a well-ventilated area, take frequent breaks and wear gloves.

[ Read: Facials During Pregnancy ]

General Risks To Avoid During Pregnancy:

During pregnancy, you have to be careful about your daily chores as well. It is good if you avoid certain activities in the last two trimesters of pregnancy.

14. OTC Medications:

You will experience many symptoms like headaches, nausea and back pain throughout your pregnancy. But do not try to take any common OTC medications without doctor’s consultation. Some of these medications will contain compounds that are harmful to you and your baby. OTC medications are strictly prohibited during the first eight weeks of pregnancy since it is the time where your baby’s brain, heart, and lungs are formed.

15. Chemicals:

You may come in contact with chemicals, whether at home or work. Anything you breathe or touch can pass into the bloodstream and reach the fetus, thus affecting the baby’s growth. You should avoid the following chemical products.

  • Cleaning – spot removers, dry-cleaning agents, oven cleaners and aerosol spray cleaners are harmful
  • Painting – paint strippers, oil based paints, turpentine, varnish and shellac
  • Garden – insecticides, fertilizers, and weed killers
  • Home renovation – avoid renovation, repairs where lead paint has been used.

Avoid using any of these above chemicals or at least keep the area open when they are used. Always check with your healthcare provider before you handle these chemicals.

[ Read: Painting During Pregnancy ]

16. Pets:

The thought that pets are a threat to pregnant women is not always right, but it is safe to take some precautionary measures.

Let’s begin with dogs, they do not cause any risks for both you and your baby. The major concern is that they are likely to jump over your abdomen while you sit or lie down. It may affect your womb and the baby inside. The best way is to train your dog not to do that.

When it comes to cats, the major concern is toxoplasmosis. It is an infection that transmits through cat feces. If you are immune to toxoplasmosis before conception, your baby will be safe. Though pet cats are less likely to carry the infection, it is better to stay away from them.

Reptiles and amphibians carry the risk of salmonella bacteria. Exposure to their feces can result in the bacterial transmission that can affect your pregnancy. The baby can carry the risk even after pregnancy since their immune systems will still be developing. The safest way is to keep your house away from any reptilian or amphibian pets until your child crosses five years of age.

Pet birds can transmit infections like Campylobacter, chlamydiosis, protozoan and salmonella. Make sure you run the filter at your house to stay away from the dust and dander circulating in the air. You should regularly change the bird cage and always wash your hands after handling the birds.

17. Dental X-ray:

If you need to have any dental treatment, make sure to inform your dentist that you are pregnant. They will probably suggest you to wait until delivery.

18. Hot Tub Baths And Tanning Beds:

During pregnancy, you are more likely to get overheated because of hormonal changes. Studies reveal that women who had been to saunas, Jacuzzis and tanning beds during their pregnancy had babies with neural birth defects.

[ Read: Sauna During Pregnancy ]

19. Sun Exposure:

Avoid exposure to the sun because your skin is sensitive during pregnancy. You should use at least SPF 15 sunscreen lotion to prevent UV rays on the skin. The concern here is DHA (dihydroxyacetone) which may be present in cosmetics. Though studies did not reveal its effect, some healthcare providers still ask pregnant women not to use them in their first trimester. Always ensure you do a patch test on the skin because the lotion could be irritable during pregnancy.

20. Household Cleaning:

You should avoid doing any household activities especially in the last two trimesters of pregnancy. In addition to the risk of tripping, you may also expose yourself to harmful toxins that can affect your unborn baby. Strong chemicals can cause nausea and morning sickness.

[ Read: Nesting During Pregnancy ]

21. Bug Spray:

Most mosquito repellents contain an active ingredient, DEET that is effective against Lyme disease, dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever and West Nile virus. Though the repellents are protective, they have side effects on the central nervous system. You should, therefore, minimize exposure to bug sprays and repellents during your pregnancy as it can affect both you and your fetus.

Activities To Avoid During Pregnancy:

As you progress into your pregnancy, you should avoid activities that increase the risk of falls or injury to the abdomen. Exercises and activities raise your body’s core temperature that can cause problems during pregnancy.

22. Lifting Weights:

Avoid lifting weights since they can cause miscarriage in the first trimester and can induce premature labor in the last trimester.

23. Contact Sports:

It will be really difficult for women to stay idle in pregnancy, especially if they are active in sports or athletics. Any form of stretching and exertion is not advisable during pregnancy, especially in the last two trimesters.

24. Amusement Park Rides:

It can be the riskiest outing when you are pregnant. Forceful landing and unexpected falls can harm your baby, and also result in premature birth. You should resist your temptation to go for any such ride.

25. Bicycling:

You should avoid cycling during pregnancy. But if you are an expert rider, you can continue until the second trimester. You should not take it up after that as your balance will be affected since there is a shift in the center of gravity.

[ Read: Cycling During Pregnancy ]

26. Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding:

You should avoid downhill skiing as it poses a risk of severe falls and injuries. Also, the expanding tummy can create problems in balancing. If you still want to ski, you can choose gentle slopes. Snowboarding will also increase the risk of injury and falling.

27. Running:

You should avoid running during pregnancy. If you have been running before, you can continue but in moderation only till the first trimester. You should not indulge in any running after the second trimester since it can increase the risk of falling.

28. Scuba Diving, Surfing, and Water-skiing:

When you surface over waters, there are chances that air bubbles form in your bloodstream putting you and your baby at risk. Also, surfing and water-skiing can increase the risk of falls and injury.

[ Read: Scuba Dive While Pregnant ]

29. Tennis:

If you are a regular tennis player, you should play the game in moderation only until the first trimester. You should avoid playing in the last two trimesters since it becomes difficult with your growing belly.

30. Horseback Riding:

It is a highly dangerous activity during pregnancy. There is the risk of falls, and also, you can never predict when you may be kicked by a wild horse. You should turn away from that fancy when you are pregnant.

Make your pregnancy a lifetime memory by staying safe and healthy. The above things can keep you safe a long way through all the nine months of pregnancy. Wish you a happy and safe pregnancy.

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