The list of things to avoid and do when you’re pregnant – can feel very long indeed, not least because the advice seems to change so often. Common sense is the best yardstick. And in the grand scheme of things, nine months isn’t that long to give up a few things (though it may feel like forever at times). Though we want you to set a trend while being pregnant but there are certain things you must keep in mind for your health. Here are the things you should try to avoid when pregnant and a few things it’s worth remembering to do, as well.
Foods to avoid if you’re pregnant
There is a small chance that some foods could be harmful to you or your baby – so get acquainted with the full list of foods to avoid in pregnancy. Basically, you’re trying to avoid foods containing bacteria that can cause infections.
Like: Any milk product or cheese that is unpasteurized, raw or rare shellfish and meats as well as cured meats such as salami, Liver and products containing it need to be avoided as they contain high levels of Vitamin A, which can cause birth defects, swordfish and marlin contain high levels of mercury so they’re on the “no” list, too.
Alcohol is not very safe
Current guidance is to avoid all alcohol, and that it’s particularly important in the first three months – but if it took you a while to discover you were pregnant and give up the booze, don’t panic. You are by no means alone, and many believe the occasional glass probably does no harm. Many women avoid all alcohol in the first trimester, but feel happy enjoying the occasional glass after that.
Reason: Drinking during pregnancy is potentially dangerous because the alcohol crosses the placenta and your baby’s developing liver can’t process it as fast as your body can.
Smoking during pregnancy
This is one area where there’s no disagreement, and the advice doesn’t tend to change: smoking is not good for your baby or you. Cigarettes increase the risk of babies having a low birth weight, being born prematurely and/or with respiratory problems, and maternal smoking is linked to miscarriage and also sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) after birth.
Avoid dental x-rays
Make sure you tell your dentist you’re pregnant. Although x-rays are thought to be safe, your dentist will probably suggest waiting until after your baby is born if one is required. X-rays cause no increase in the risk of miscarriage, birth defects or developmental problems, but there’s a very small increased risk of childhood cancers. For this reason, if you do have to have an x-ray which can’t be delayed, the dentist may cover your abdomen with a lead apron.
Not safe to clean cat litters when pregnant
Cat faeces can carry a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, an infection that isn’t serious for you but can be for your baby. Cleaning the cat litter can’t figure high on many women’s ‘chores I enjoy’ list, so pregnancy is a good excuse to get out of it. But to be on the safe side, if your moggy is not allowed outside, get someone else to clean the cat litter. If you have to do it, wear rubber gloves and wash both your hands and the gloves thoroughly afterwards.
No sunbathing in pregnancy
Your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, so if you’re venturing out into the sun, be sure to slap on the factor 50, and don’t be lying out on a beach frying yourself (not that that’s ever a good idea anyway). Overheating is very dangerous for your baby, especially in the first few months. Saunas, hot baths, sun beds and the like are best avoided for your whole pregnancy – and it’s important to stay hydrated, since dehydration can cause premature labor.
Lots of women are concerned about environmental chemicals in everyday items such as food and drink packaging, cleaning products, pesticides and paint. Try not to worry too much – you’d never leave the house if you avoided all risks, and the truth is that you’re likely to come into contact with at least some environmental chemicals throughout your pregnancy, just like millions of other women who’ve gone on to give birth to perfectly healthy babies.
The effect of many chemicals on fetal development isn’t yet known, though – and even though the risks are likely to turn out to be negligible, it’s probably a good idea to avoid them if you can. If something has a strong chemical pong, it can’t do you harm not to linger – good news for anyone who’s dreading painting the hall ceiling or cleaning the mold off the grout in the bathroom. Anything in an aerosol spray can is probably best given a body swerve, too.
t’s not something to become obsessed with, but it’s a good plan to be aware of the risks of bugs such as listeria when you’re pregnant. You should also observe tip-top kitchen hygiene.
Wash fruit and veg thoroughly, be careful with bagged salads – they’re best eaten on the day of purchase, store meat, fish and dairy separately and at the correct temperature, and wash your hands after handling raw food, particularly meat.
Exercise in pregnancy
Absolutely. In fact, exercise during pregnancy is recommended by midwives to keep you healthy, happier and fit for birth. It’s thought to help ward of postnatal depression but will also keep you flexible, keep bodily functions (yes those) regular and will help keep weight gain at a safe level. An all-round winner! It’s never too early to start practicing pelvic floor exercises. They’ll help guard against “leakage” both during pregnancy and after the birth, too. Your future self will thank you.
Get your care & support in place
Do make sure you book in with the midwives by visiting your GP or midwife team. It’s amazing how many women (particularly with a second or subsequent baby) overlook this small detail – your antenatal team are not psychic (though it will sometimes feel like they are). Pay a visit to the dentist. Your teeth and gums need extra care in pregnancy. You’re entitled to free dental care throughout pregnancy and up to your child’s first birthday. Go on tours of the local maternity units and hospitals early on, so you can have a think about where you’d like to give birth.
So the list of things to avoid and do when you’re pregnant is pretty much what we’ve covered above and meanwhile you we wish you have a happy pregnancy!
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