10 Lesser-Known Things You Should Avoid During Pregnancy
While the joys of pregnancy are plentiful, so is the daunting list of do’s and don’ts that come with growing another human inside you. Thankfully, the large majority of concerns can be avoided by using your intuition and simple common sense alone, but there are still certain odd threats your instincts may miss. Don’t miss this quick and interesting guide to lesser-known things you should avoid during pregnancy:
1. Don’t Eat Soft Cheese
Brie? Camembert? Blue-veined cheeses? All of these are off the menu as they may contain listeriosis-causing bacteria, which has been linked to miscarriages and stillbirths. These food concerns apply to many other meals with bacteria risks, including the salmonella from raw eggs and raw seafood (yes, that means sushi), the toxoplasmosis from raw meat, the listeria in deli meats, and the mercury in certain fish such as king mackerel or swordfish.
2. Don’t Clean the Kitty Litter
Due to your cat’s curious habit of biting into rodents and birds, there is a chance that their feces contains the parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis. It’s not a common concern, but it is an extremely serious one, linked to potential brain damage and blindness in your child. If you have to clean the kitty litter, use gloves and wash your hand thoroughly, but it’s still best you don’t do it at all.
3. Don’t Paint
Thankfully, you can still express yourself with a set of acrylics, but when it comes to certain oil-based products, there are poisonous fumes involved which may potentially harm your child. Look out for the non-toxic paint alternatives available and always read the label, avoiding such words as turpentine and polyurethane. Basically, trust your nose, and get someone else to paint the nursery.
4. Don’t Drink Coffee
No need to panic, coffee in moderation is safe enough. However, keep in mind that coffee not only raises your heart rate, blood pressure, and urination frequency but will also reach your baby. Reportedly, one to two cups a day should be ok, but anything over 300 mg is considered hazardous. Switch to herbal tea instead and don’t forget that chocolate contains caffeine too (sorry!).
5. Don’t Lift Anything
If the act of bending down causes a loss of breath or a light head, stop what you are doing immediately. Get someone else to pick up those items and purchase products such as a grabber reacher or a shoe horn which are recommended for those suffering from back pain. When it comes to lifting heavier objects, the risks are even more terrifying, such as the uterus slipping down into your vagina, or even a chance of miscarriage within the first 12 weeks. Use this as a good reason to take it easy all day.
6. Don’t Get Any X-rays
While never proven, most doctors and dentists are aware of the potential link between radiation exposure and birth defects (such as childhood cancers). Whenever necessary, inform your doctor or dentist about your pregnancy status, and more often than not they won’t perform the X-ray, or at very least they’ll protect your baby with a lead apron.
7. Don’t Take Hot Baths
Sad but true: an excessive rise in body temperature can cause quite a few complications for your baby, including birth defects and a miscarriage. The same applies to the sauna, so avoid these heated conditions and rather settle for a nice warm bath instead.
8. Don’t Sunbathe
The aforementioned concern with raised temperatures is also a factor when baking in the sun. What’s more, your skin can become more sensitive and vulnerable thanks to all of those pregnancy hormones, so stay in the shade, lather on the sunscreen, and stay hydrated.
9. Don’t Overdo Exercise
Certainly, some physical activity is recommended during pregnancy, and you can still get your fitness fix from low-impact movements such as walking, swimming, and certain yoga positions. However, weight lifting routines must be outlawed immediately along with any sports which risk a fall. Finally, be very wary of your heart rate, as anything above 160 bpm means less oxygen for your baby, potentially causing brain damage.
10. Don’t Hang out with Your Smoker Friends
Just because you’ve managed to kick the habit does not mean you are immune to the perils of cigarettes, as second-hand smoke is still a very real danger. There are so many toxic chemicals pouring out cigarettes that the potential side effects are well-documented and endlessly horrifying. Your friends will understand, but if not, you may want to look for better friends.