Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, especially for new moms. You get to experience your firsts, like your first doctor's appointment, ultrasound, morning sickness, a baby bump, first fetal movement, and so much more. Some expectant moms have a delicate pregnancy, while others experience the typical one. Being new to this, it is essential to know what things moms should avoid during pregnancy.
1. What not to eat
Food is essential for everyone, especially pregnant women, who requires more nutrition to supply a developing fetus. Moms will surely have cravings; however, they should be cautious on what to eat. It is best to avoid eating raw eggs, or meats, like sushi, etc. to protect yourself from getting salmonella or other gastro-intestinal diseases. Avoid deli meats, smoked seafoods, unpasteurized dairy or soft cheeses that can be contaminated with listeria, a bacteria that can cross the placenta and may cause blood poisoning. Also steer clear from fish with high levels of mercury like king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, and shark.
Caffeine can increase your blood pressure, heart rate and can make you go to the bathroom many times as it is a stimulant and a diuretic. There is no need to cut off the caffeine entirely, but you need to take it in moderation as it can cross the placenta. Do remember that caffeine are not only present in coffees as chocolates, sodas and other medicines also has it. The recommended intake per day should be 150 to 300 milligrams (mg) only for pregnant women.
Now that you are pregnant, you have to be cautious on taking medications. Check the label if it is safe for pregnant women or best to speak with your doctor before taking in any capsules. Some medicines can be harmful to your growing fetus and may cause birth defects.
2. Say no to stilletos or high heels
We understand that you still want to look your best while being pregnant. You can definitely do, minus the stilettos and high heels. As your belly grows, the center of your body may shift from time to time and those stilletos are best not to be worn for your safety. You may opt for wedges, kitten heels, or platforms or best to wear flats or flip flops.
Drinking alcohol while pregnant is a big no no especially in the first three months. The first trimester is the critical stage of pregnancy. This is when the vital organs of your baby starts to form. Drinking alcohol can be transmitted to the placenta and may cause birth defects. Avoid beer, wine, liquor during pregnancy. For you to be aware, the potential risks of alcohol intake during pregnancy would be: premature birth, birth defects, brain damage, miscarriage, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and stillbirth.
4. Avoid hot tubs or saunas
Hot tubs and saunas can increase your body temperature which can cause brain and spinal cord defects in your bay during the first trimester. Your body temperature shouldn’t increase above 102.2°F (39°C). Also, hot tub germs are present if other people have used the hot tub. Avoid saunas and the likes as much as possible in the early months. If you want to dip in a hot tub after the first trimester, you can ask your doctor for approval and take precautions.
5. Do not clean the cat litter
This reminder is for expectant moms who have cats at home. Cleaning the cat litter can increase the risk of contacting a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii which can cause toxoplasmosis. The said parasite can be present on cat's feces or soil, or in a contaminated cat litter. Although, the chance of getting the disease is low, it is best to still take precautions and avoid it. Toxoplasmosis may increase the risk of having a miscarriage and can cause brain damage or blindness to your developing baby.
6. Do not sit and stand for too long
Our jobs sometimes require us to sit or stand for too long and this can be a problem for pregnant women. This may cause vein problems or swollen ankles. It is best to move around frequently if you are sitting for too long or put your feet up after standing for hours. CDC recommends to avoid standing for 3 hours or more, lifting heavy objects and reaching too high overhead.
7. Avoid smoking or secondhand smoke
According to World Health Organization (WHO), pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke is linked to 13% increased in congenital defect and 23% of stillbirth cases. It also cause pre-term birth and low-weight babies. While secondhand smoke can cause the said bad effects, smoking alone can do much worse. Smoking while pregnant can cause slower growth and development of a fetus, impaired function of the placenta. After one hour of smoking, baby's movements can be weaker. At birth, it can also increase the risk of birth defects like cleft lip and palate.
8. Careful on cleaning products
Check the labels when using cleaning products. Some cleaning products like moth balls or toilet deodorant cakes contains naphthalene; when exposed to large amounts may cause haemolytic anaemia and this can be a risk for the unborn baby. Make sure to use clearing products, household chemicals, paint with caution and make the room well-ventilated when using the said products.
9. Hair dyes and hair treatment
Most research shows that coloring your hair while pregnant is safe especially when using semi-permanent, organic, pure vegetable dyes. Some studies show that hair dyes are harmful if they have massive amounts of chemicals in them. Contrary to what we believe in, coloring hair while pregnant will not reach that kind of amount to be harmful to the baby. Some moms wait after the first trimester to color their hair. If you are to do it, it is advisable to wear gloves during the process, work on a ventilated room, and leave the dye for a short period of time. You can also do a strand test to check if your hair will respond properly or just color the strands instead of the roots for it not to be absorbed in the scalp and the bloodstream.
10. Spray tans
Pregnancy changes your hormones and at times can make your skin sensitive. Fake tan's main ingredient is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is non toxic and only reacts at the outer layer of the skin, produces a brown pigment (colour) called melanoidin to make it tan. These substance is safe and does not enter the body, as long as it is not inhaled as the causes are not yet known. Since a pregnant mom's skin can be sensitive, it is best to avoid it during your pregnancy journey.
There are times Xrays are needed to better asses our health condition. It is best to inform your doctor that you are pregnant so they can order a safer laboratory exam for you. Most doctors would wait until you give birth for you to undergo xray. Repeated exposure to radiation may cause damage to your body's cells and if it reached your baby, it may cause physical and mental development problems. Also, if the unborn baby is exposed to high amounts of radiation it may increase the risk of having cancer during their childhood. Remember to inform your health care provider before undergoing this test.
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