No matter which way you look at it, growing a brand-new human is a pretty incredible talent. And to help that tiny foetus develop into a healthy newborn, there are a few things to avoid during your pregnancy. From skipping sashimi to avoiding lead-based paint, forewarned is definitely forearmed. And that glass of vino will still be waiting for you when the time is right.
Here are nine things to avoid when pregnant to stay healthy.
Pickles might be on the menu when you’re expecting, but there are a few foods that should be given a wide berth. We’re talking about the ones that may harbour harmful bacteria, like listeria or salmonella, which are dangerous to unborn babies and mums-to-be.
To stay on the safe side, it’s best to put an avoid when pregnant stamp on soft and semi-soft cheeses, processed meats, cold cooked chicken, pre-made salads and veggies, pre-cut fruit, paté, recipes with raw eggs, raw seafood and soft-serve ice-cream. Drats.
Oh, and remember to wash fresh fruit and vegetables carefully before preparing them yourself.
Ideally, you should stop smoking when pregnant. This unhealthy habit increases the chance of things like miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, lung problems for bub and SIDS.
Smoking can be a tough thing to stop, but if you are trying to give up and reduce the risks associated with smoking and pregnancy, then Quit offers lots of support to expectant mums.
When it comes to pregnancy and alcohol, experts say that the safest option is abstinence. That means it’s best to stop drinking booze before getting pregnant and not drink at all with a bub on board. Even though small amounts of alcohol have a low risk of harming your unborn child, it’s worth remembering that what you drink does go into their bloodstream too.
Experts say there are ‘no known dangers of using tanning lotions’, but pregnancy hormones make your skin sensitive so fake tan might cause an allergic reaction. If you really want that sunny glow, then test some fake tan on a small area of skin. And as an FYI, tanning pills and injections are other things you should avoid when pregnant.
If you’re a keen downhill skier, scuba diver or boxer (hey, different strokes for different folks), then it might be time to take a break while pregnant. Contact sports and those that come with a risk of falling aren’t recommended for expectant mums.
The risk of paint fumes harming your baby is very low, but just to be safe, avoid painting and decorating until at least week 14 of your pregnancy. This is because your bub’s organs start developing in the first trimester, so any small risk may be amplified. On the plus side, waiting gives you more time to plan the nursery.
And if you’re renovating a house built before 1971, there’s a chance that lead-based paint was used. When this stuff is stirred up as paint dust, it isn’t healthy for mums-to-be and children, so keep your distance.
Some complementary therapies
Certain acupuncture points aren’t good for mums-to-be, and some aromatic plant oils can also be dangerous, and a tummy massage in the first trimester isn’t advised either. The best thing is to talk to your doctor and therapist before launching into any complementary therapies, just to make sure they’re good for your pregnancy health.
Saunas and jacuzzis
The main reason to avoid saunas and jacuzzis when pregnant is because they bring a risk of overheating, fainting and dehydration. Pregnancy hormones make women feel hotter than normal, so poaching yourself in a steam room may not be such a great idea.
You need to tell your doctor or dentist if you’re pregnant because you should generally avoid X-ray radiation with a baby in the picture. The risk to your unborn child depends on the stage of pregnancy, so leave it with your practitioner to decide on the best course of action if you’ve skated over a toy car and cracked your big toe.
So there you have it, our list of things to avoid when pregnant. While we’re talking about baby-making, make sure to check our list of really weird pregnancy facts.