When you’re pregnant, you are often bombarded with advice from family, friends, parent magazines, and social media gurus on how to care for yourself and your little one during the next 40 weeks. What you might find missing is what not to do during pregnancy.
It’s important to abstain from alcohol completely during pregnancy.
It wasn’t until 1978 that fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) was first recognized as a serious issue. Now, everyone knows how dangerous it can be to the growing baby, and that even a drink or two during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects.
These serious birth defects include:
- Physical and intellectual disabilities
- Behavioral problems
- Developmental delays and poor growth
- Reduced coordination and fine motor skills
If you are a smoker, you should stop as soon as you know you are pregnant. Smoking can cause premature birth, congenital abnormalities like cleft palate and cleft lip, sudden infant death syndrome, and issues with the placenta. It is also best to avoid secondhand smoke.
If you are a heavy smoker, talk with Virginia Women’s Health Associates about some remedies to help you quit.
Say No To Drugs
Illegal drugs and even some prescription drugs can harm your baby. It can cause your newborn to go through neonatal abstinence syndrome, or withdrawal from drugs as an infant.
It can also lead to stillbirth, loss of pregnancy, and congenital abnormalities.
Certain OTC drugs can be harmful as well. Talk with your physician or pharmacist about what to avoid. Some doctors recommend avoiding ibuprofen and non steroidal anti-inflammatories, herbal remedies, some cold meds, some acne medications, and ACE inhibitors.
Do Not Eat Certain Foods
We don’t mean pickles and ice cream. Those are still safe for cravings.
Lunch meats and deli salads should be avoided to prevent infection from listeria bacteria, including unpasteurized dairy products and juices. Fish high in mercury should be avoided like shark, swordfish, and mackerel due to possible brain damage. Light tuna in a can is better than white tuna.
Raw meat and fish like sushi and raw oysters can have salmonella. Raw eggs from unbaked cookie dough and homemade Caesar salad should be avoided also.
In addition, either avoid completely the following or talk to Virginia Women’s Health Associates:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Changing a litter box (avoid completely)
- Activities with a falling risk, especially some sports
- Caffeine should be reduced to 1.5 cups per day or 200 mg of caffeine per day
- Hot tubs and saunas
- Wet paint
- High heels
The bottom line is to use common sense. Enjoy your pregnancy and when in doubt, consult with your physician or pharmacist.