10 Things To Avoid During Pregnancy That You Must Be Aware Of!

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

While you are pregnant, you may become excited and nervous. During these nine months of pregnancy, you might need to take care of the health of your baby and yourself.

Taking care also requires you to avoid certain important pleasures or things of your life. Avoiding these things is important for the health of the little one.

Sacrificing some of the things could be of great benefit for your baby in the long term. Generally, pregnancy may require you to continue your everyday activities and make some minor lifestyle changes.

These minor changes could facilitate a healthy pregnancy for your baby. Let us have a look at the 10 different things that you need to evade during your pregnancy.

  1. Consuming Liquor

    If you drink alcohol during your pregnancy, then the liquor may pass through the placenta and may affect the growing baby.

    When the baby gets exposed to the alcohol present in your blood, it might develop alcohol spectrum disorders. This could even lead to foetal alcohol syndrome.

    Some of the disorders which the foetus might get due to the consumption of liquor by the pregnant mother are as follows-

    • It could result in developmental delays.
    • Liquor exposure to the foetus might even lead to intellectual and physical disabilities.
    • The developing baby may face seizures and a reduction in the development of fine motor and coordination skills.

    So you may stop the consumption of alcohol if you do not want your baby to get any of the above-mentioned diseases.

    However, no research or study till now has been able to find the perfect quantity of alcohol that might not result in the above-mentioned disorders. So the doctors generally recommend their patients avoid alcohol completely.

    More on this here.

  1. Acupuncture And Massage

    Though complementary theories and massages like acupuncture may be considered safe during pregnancy, you should avoid them in some of the phases of your pregnancy.

    One such phase may be considered during the first three months of the pregnancy. In this period, you should not get a massage anywhere near your abdomen.

    On the other hand, it may be safe to have acupuncture during pregnancy. However, you should always lookout for an expert acupuncturist who has experience in dealing with pregnant women.

    You may even tell your acupuncturist about your pregnancy so that he or she should use the correct acupuncture points to ensure safety.

    In the end, it is important to get a massage or acupuncture only after you consult with your doctor.

    This governmental paper talks more about acupuncture.

  1. Cleaning Products

    You may always check the labels of the cleaning product for any signs of warning for pregnant ladies. Different products like paint, glues or other chemicals should only be used after following the different directions on the label.

    But whenever you use the cleaning products, you should make sure that you open up the windows and doors. Some of the cleaning products, like toilet deodorant, or even mothballs may contain naphthalene.

    If the pregnant ladies expose themselves to huge amounts of naphthalene, then it could damage their blood cells. This may even lead to haemolytic anaemia.

    Not only this, but even newborn babies are at risk if they might be exposed to huge quantities of naphthalene Some of the symptoms that may be shown when pregnant ladies are exposed to naphthalene are vomiting, fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea and loss of appetite.

    You also might want to refer to this article.

  1. Overheating And Hot Tubs

    Relaxing in saltwater might help to ease the discomfort related to pregnancy. However, the experts recommended that pregnant ladies might not overheat their bodies.

    According to research conducted by the American Pregnancy Association, using hot tubs during pregnancy might lead to an abnormally high body temperature.

    This could result in hyperthermia or several other congenital abnormalities. So you may not sit in saunas or hot tubs for more than 10 minutes because this could raise your body temperature to higher levels.

    Some other activities that might even lead to a rise in your body temperature may include Hot yoga, dehydration, exposing yourself to extreme sunbathing for a longer duration and rigorous exercise for a longer duration.

    This paper also maintains that you should avoid using the same.

  1. Smoking

    Smoking during pregnancy can cause harmful effects for both the pregnant mother and the baby. There are a plethora of abnormalities that might be caused due to smoking by the pregnant mother.

    It could increase the risk of lung cancer and even heart diseases.

    You might even face sudden infant Death syndrome, premature birth, or other congenital abnormalities like cleft palate or cleft lip due to smoking during your pregnancy.

    So you must stop smoking during your pregnancy. If you may face difficulty quitting smoking, then you can even have a word with your doctor.

    This CDC paper talks more about the same.

  1. Certain Medications

    You may avoid some of the over-the-counter (OTC) medications that might cause any harmful effects to your unborn child while you are pregnant. Generally, the doctors may recommend avoiding certain medications during pregnancy like-

    • Certain acne medications and pills.
    • Most of the herbal remedies.
    • Certain cold medications and pills during the first trimester.
    • Some of the cold medications that have specific ingredients in them.
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and ibuprofen.
    • ACE inhibitors

    So you may always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications yourself.

    Here, Woman’s health portal talks indepth about medication and pregnancy.

  1. Fake Tan

    The primary active ingredient of fake tan is dihydroxyacetone. Dihydroxyacetone or DHA Is a non-toxic substance that might react with the cells of the outermost layer of the skin. This reaction can result in the production of melanoidin, which is a brown pigment. Since the DHA does not go under the outer layer of the skin, it is not absorbed by the body. So it may be fine to use fake tan creams to some extent during your pregnancy.

    But it might be harmful to use spray tan during your pregnancy. The reason behind this is primarily because there might be chances that the spray could lead to complications for your baby. Since your skin is more than sensitive during pregnancy due to the release of several hormones, the fake tans might also result in an allergic reaction.

    You should even not use injections and tan pills. This is because these pills might contain Canthaxanthin and betacarotene that might lead to dangerous side effects. Some of these side effects may be linked to damages to the liver and eyes.

    NCBI has an article which sheds light on safety of skin care products.

  1. Certain Types Of Food Items

    You may avoid eating certain types of food during your pregnancy. Let us have a look at these food items.

    • Fish with a high level of mercury in it. Some of the fishes like mackerel, sharks and even swordfish have high levels of mercury in them. According to a report conducted by the March of Dimes, high levels of mercury may be fatal for your foetus. It might even result in hearing problems, vision problems, and brain damage to the unborn child.
    • Unpasteurised Dairy and Unpasteurised dairy and juice might contain a bacteria called Listeria. Once the listeria reaches the foetus by crossing the placenta, it may cause deadly effects for the growing baby. Some of the other bacteria present in unpasteurised juice and dairy might even lead to food poisoning.
    • Raw eggs. Pregnant ladies should avoid eating any food that might contain raw eggs. These food items may include homemade Caesar salad dressing or unbaked cookie dough. The reason behind not eating raw eggs is because they contain salmonella.
    • Soft cheese. You may avoid eating soft cheese, like feta, queso Blanco, brie, etc. Some of the soft cheese might consist of unpasteurised dairy.
    • Deli salads and meat. Deli meats and pre-made salads like chicken salads might even be fatal for your foetus. This is because such food items might contain listeria in them. Listeria is a bacteria that may prove to be harmful to the baby if it passes through the placenta.

    Here is an indepth article by food safety on pregnant women.

  1. Contact Sports

    According to research conducted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, pregnant women may avoid playing any contact sports like boxing or football.

    When you play contact sports, there can be a risk of placental abruption. Placental abruption is a severe condition of premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall and might lead to stillbirth, preterm birth or even pregnancy loss.

    You may also be more prone to injury during your pregnancy while practising contact sports. The reason behind this is that due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy, the ligaments of the pregnant women might become loose.

    Here are some guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy.

  1. Too Much Caffeine

    Just like alcohol, the caffeine might even cross the placenta and reach the foetus. Consuming too much caffeine might be harmful to the foetus. It might result in lower birth weight of the baby and the risk of pregnancy loss. So you may limit the consumption of caffeine to 200 milligrams per day. This means that you might drink approx. 1.5  cups of coffee in a single day.

    Here is a casestudy about caffeine intake during pregnancy.

Other Things To Avoid During Pregnancy

It is crucial that you should avoid eating foods that contain heavy metals during your pregnancy. Due to this, you should prevent yourself from eating more fish.

You could limit the quantity of fish to only two servings per week. Specifically, you need to avoid eating large fish like mahi-mahi, shark, and even tilefish.

On the other hand, you could eat smaller fishes like salmon that may provide you with the required levels of DHA.
At the same time, if you are considering eating deli meats and lunch meat, then you may eat them.

However, there could be a risk associated with the deli meats related to the bacteria. If the deli meats consist of bacteria, then they might get transferred from your body to your baby through the placenta.

This is because you never know how many times the delis may be sanitizing their establishments. So to evade any possibility of risk, you may microwave your lunch meat for at least 30 seconds to kill any bacteria before eating.

But in the end, it is always beneficial to consult your doctor or physician before re-eating up different types of food items.

Besides this, you might become quite cautious regarding the food items to eat or avoid during your first trimester. The first trimester includes the initial 13 weeks of pregnancy and is one of the riskiest phases of pregnancy.

There are huge risks of miscarriage during this phase.

Not to miss, another major reason behind this could be that it is in the first trimester that the important organs of the baby are formed.

Due to this, any wrong lifestyle changes, unsupervised medications, or wrong food items might affect the health and development of your baby.

Hence, you may visit the doctor in the first semester as frequently as possible. The doctor could help to retrace the history of your pregnancy and provide you with the doses of different nutrients and vitamins according to your specific needs.

Final Words On Things To Avoid During Pregnancy

So the women carry up their regular activities during pregnancy, but only with the necessary precautions.

If you have any doubt regarding the different activities, then you may consult your doctor. However, some of the women who have a high risk for preterm labour might also need to avoid certain additional activities.

Also, when you have delivered a healthy baby, be sure that you take these precautions and after delivery care.

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