Pregnancy doesn’t mean you have to give up all your usual routines. Your daily activities and diet may stay largely the same. Of course you want to continue following all the general rules for good health: nutrition, sleep and exercise. But there are some things you should avoid during pregnancy for your health and for the health of the baby.
It’s now a well-known fact: cigarettes are harmful to respiratory and cardiovascular health – and doubly so when you’re pregnant. It’s not just your health you’re affecting, it’s the baby’s. Smoking is a leading cause of heart attacks, cancer and strokes. It also depletes blood oxygen levels which can cause poor lung development and reduced oxygen to your baby. Smoking can even lead to your baby being born addicted and lead to them suffering from withdrawal!
Here’s a sobering fact: when a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, the alcohol travels through the umbilical cord and can affect the fetus. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to a variety of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. These disorders can cause physical abnormalities, behavioral problems, intellectual disabilities, seizures, developmental delays and/or poor growth. These effects may be irreversible. Pregnant women should avoid alcohol completely. Pregnancy also causes alcohol to be metabolized differently which may lead to faster intoxication and greater risk of falling and injury.
3. Energy Drinks
Sometimes you need a little boost to get through the day – and that’s why energy drinks are a popular choice. But, when you’re pregnant, they’re a choice better avoided. These drinks often contain stimulants like caffeine, ginseng, yerba mate, guarana and ginkgo biloba. Stimulants like these can over-activate the uterus and cause a greater risk of miscarriage or early labor.
We touched on caffeine with energy drinks, but let’s expand. Caffeine is a powerful, addictive stimulant which can be found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, candies and more. Some experts believe that quantities greater than this can be harmful to the fetus and may increase the risk of pregnancy loss and low birth weight. While you don’t need to avoid your morning cup of Joe all together while pregnant, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of caffeine you consume. One small cup of coffee, tea or cola a day is a good recommended amount.
5. Certain Foods
Here are some foods pregnant woman should avoid:
• Lunch meat and deli salads
• Some soft cheeses such as brie, feta and queso blanco
• Unpasteurized dairy and juice
• Raw meat and fish
• Raw eggs
• Fish high in mercury such as mackerel and swordfish
That covers a lot of the basics as far as what you should avoid while pregnant. A few other things we should mention: experts recommend avoiding hot tubs, hot yoga and saunas as they may lead to abnormally high body temperature and congenital abnormalities. You should also avoid contact sports, heavy lifting, amusement park rides and activities which put you at a risk for falling such as skiing and ice skating.
If you’re looking for an obstetrician in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine and more, contact WomanCare at NCH at (847) 221-4400