Things Not to Do While Pregnant
There aren’t many hard and fast rules about what not to do during your pregnancy, beyond abstaining from alcohol and drugs, of course. For the most part, you can continue with most of your prepregnancy life.
But because the health and safety of your growing baby is essential, here’s a list of 11 things not to do while pregnant.
1.Don’t eat these foods
The biggest list of don’ts for pregnant women involves food.
During your pregnancy, you should avoid:
Raw meat and shellfish: Uncooked seafood (we’re looking at you, sushi), including oysters, mussels, and clams. Also avoid rare or undercooked beef and poultry. These can be contaminated with toxoplasmosis or salmonella.
Deli meat: Deli meats can be contaminated with listeria, bacteria that can cross the placenta and infect your developing baby. An infection in utero could lead to blood poisoning and could be life-threatening for your baby.
Fish with high levels of mercury: That includes fish such as shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish. Wondering about tuna? In general, canned, chunk light tuna has lower levels of mercury, but it’s still smart to eat it sparingly.
Smoked seafood: Avoid lox, kippered fish, jerky, or nova style salmon. There’s a risk that this refrigerated, smoked seafood could be contaminated with listeria. Smoked seafood that’s shelf-safe or canned, however, is probably fine.
Raw eggs: This includes foods that contain raw eggs, so be wary of homemade Caesar dressings, Hollandaise sauces, mayonnaise, and certain custards. Raw eggs can pose a risk of salmonella.
Soft cheeses: Some imported soft cheeses can have listeria, so steer clear of soft cheeses like Roquefort, feta, Gorgonzola, Camembert, and Brie. Mexican cheeses such as queso blanco and queso fresco should also be avoided, unless they’re made from pasteurized milk.
Unpasteurized dairy: These products could contain listeria.
It seems extensive, but there are still plenty of great nutrition choices during your pregnancy. While it’s always important to eat a balanced diet, pregnancy is an especially critical time. In your daily mail plan, try to incorporate:
- lean proteins
- healthy fats
- lots of fresh vegetables and fruits
2.Don’t use any form of retinoids.
Retinoids are great to use as treatments for wrinkles, acne, and stretch marks — but not when you’re pregnant. Retinoids come in oral forms (like isotretinoin, which is used for severe cases of acne) and topical forms (like Retin-A, which is used to treat minor breakouts), and can either be prescribed or purchased over-the-counter, depending on their potency. But if you’re pregnant, it’s best to avoid them altogether because although only the oral form (isotretinoin) has been guaranteed to cause birth defects, both Dr. Schultz and Dr. Ashton say moms-to-be shouldn’t risk it by using topical forms during pregnancy either.
3.Limit your use of salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid (a beta-hydroxy acid) is one of the most common ingredients for treating acne, since it helps to exfoliate dead layers of skin that can clog pores. But if it’s taken orally during pregnancy, it can cause complications and even birth defects.
4.Skip applying self-tanner while you’re pregnant.
Everything you put on your skin, which is your largest organ, is potentially absorbed into your blood stream, so be cautious with any skin product that you’re putting on in large quantities. If you’re a fan of spray tans or use self-tanner on your whole body, you’re allowing a greater opportunity for absorption of the products into your system. Some ingredients in self-tanner might be harmless but not all formulas contain the same ingredients.
5.Be careful when getting waxed.
Waxing, though otherwise safe to receive during pregnancy, can cause ingrown hairs or infections if not done properly. Dr. Schultz and Dr. Ashton say to make sure the salon you’re visiting is sanitary and doesn’t double-dip in the wax.
6.Skip injectables like Botox or lip fillers when pregnant.
Dr. Schultz says most dermatologists would shy away from administering any injectable fillers when you’re pregnant. Although fillers are fine when done by a trained professional, no studies have proven they’re safe for use during pregnancy, so it’s smart to wait until after baby is born.
7.Wear 4-inch heels.
Sure, celebrity moms-to-be do it, but teetering around on stilts is just plain dangerous when you’re sporting a baby bump! Opt for a more sensible shoe, especially during your last trimester.
8.Don’t overdo it on the caffeine
It’s a stimulant and a diuretic, which means drinking your usual few cups of coffee every day will increase your blood pressure, heart rate, and the number of trips you make to the restroom. Plus, caffeine crosses the placenta.
While you may function just fine caffeinated, your growing baby doesn’t. That’s because your baby’s metabolism is still developing. You don’t have to forgo caffeine entirely: Moderate levels of caffeine, defined as 150 to 300 milligrams (mg) a day, should be fine.
Just remember that caffeine isn’t just in tea and coffee. You’ll find it in chocolate, sodas, and even certain over-the-counter medicines.
9.Don’t hang out in the hot tub or sauna
If you’re feeling aches and pains during your pregnancy, relaxing in a hot tub may seem ideal. But an elevated body temperature during the first trimester can lead to certain birth defects.
Skip the hot tub, which usually maintains a water temperature around 104°F, and try a warm bath instead.
10.Don’t breathe secondhand smoke
Smoking is terrible for you and your baby, but secondhand smoke can be nearly as bad. There are roughly 4,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke, and some of them have been linked to cancer.
Exposure to secondhand smoke during your pregnancy can lead to:
- premature delivery
- low birth weight
- learning or behavioral issues as your baby grows
- sudden infant death syndrome
Avoid wine, beer, and liquor during your pregnancy. Alcohol passes quickly from your bloodstream through the placenta and umbilical cord to your baby, and this can harm your developing baby’s brain and organs.
Other potential risks include:
- premature birth
- fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
- brain damage
- birth defects
12.Don’t sit or stand for too long
During pregnancy, staying in same position for too long, seated or standing, can be problematic. It can cause all types of problems including swollen ankles and vein problems.
Try taking short breaks frequently to move around if you’ve been seated, or to put your legs up if you’ve been on your feet.
13.Don’t believe everything you read
You can find all sorts of contradictory information online, in books, and in magazines. Be reasonable, trust your instincts, and remember that erring on the side of caution is never a bad idea. If in doubt, speak to your doctor.
Remember, you won’t be pregnant forever. Hang in there, as all of these off-limits foods and activities will soon be available to you again.
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