15 Ordinary Things That Might Put The Fetus At Risk

When a woman finds out that she is pregnant she is usually ecstatic and filled with so much joy. After the initial excitement, she may start to worry about the things that could affect her unborn baby. It is essential that a mom-to-be learns about the things that may possibly put her pregnancy at risk.

According to Very Well Family, 70-75 percent of conceptions end in miscarriages. There is a lot of information out there about what is safe or unsafe when it comes to a developing fetus. It really can put a lot of pressure on a new mom to try to figure out what is true and what isn’t. Women just want to be able to protect the life growing inside of them.

There are a lot of things that a majority of soon-to-be moms are already aware of that could complicate a pregnancy such as adult beverages, smoking, and use of substances. But did you know that there are plenty more every day items and activities that could further put the fetus at risk? Some of these ordinary items that some women may not even be aware of are things like cleaning a beloved felines litter box, consuming deli meats, and even eating raw cookie dough.

Even if you think you are already aware of everything there is to possibly know about things that could put a fetus at risk, there is no harm in comparing information and getting a bit more insight. For those of you expecting a child or even those of you who are just considering the next stage of your life, please continue reading. You may be able to gain more knowledge either for yourself, or someone you know.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 Eating Raw Cookie Dough

Eating raw cookie dough was like a tradition in my family growing up. I continued to eat it myself until I found this out. What’s a main ingredient in cookie dough? Eggs! According to WebMd.com, even a small taste could pose a risk to a pregnant women. This is because 1 in every 20,000 eggs are contaminated with salmonella. That may seem like a far fetch, or even impossible for you to become infected with salmonella but it really isn’t.

Think about how many eggs come in a pack, then think about how many eggs you have eaten throughout your life. There is already a good possibility that you have had at least one contaminated egg in your life. Salmonella can lead to some serious consequences for a pregnant woman, which can cause a potentially fatal outcome for her baby. Think long and hard before you pop that tiny bit of cookie dough in your mouth!

14 Taking A Relaxing Hot Bath

While long luxurious hot baths or sinking slowly into a hot tub or jacuzzis might sound completely relaxing—especially during pregnancy when the body tends to get sore—it is not advisable to try to do. According to BabyCenter, this is because the elevated temperatures can be harmful to a growing and developing fetus. A core body temperature of 101 degrees F and above, within the first trimester of pregnancy, has been linked to neural tube defects according to the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists. This group is a team of experts who happen to study what is and isn’t safe during a pregnancy.

It is also not suggested the further mom gets into her pregnancy either due to issues for the unborn baby overheating. If a mom is really looking for a way to relax, turning the temperature down on the water for a warm bath instead should be okay. Every expectant mom is different, just like every pregnancy is different, so before a mom decides to actually relax in a warm bath, it is best for her to contact her doctor first just to verify that it is safe.

13 Does The Dog Have Fleas...

We love our family pets but when they get fleas it can become a major problem, especially for women who are pregnant. The chemicals that are in flea control products are meant to do damage to the flea’s nervous system. According to Livestrong, “The California Birth Defects Monitoring Program states that woman exposed to pesticides during pregnancy are more likely to have infants with cleft palates, neural tube defects and heart and limb defects.”

It is also advised that women who have not reached their 12th week of pregnancy should stay far away from any kind of pesticide to keep their unborn baby safe. The first 12 weeks is when the fetus is the most vulnerable to chemicals since their nervous system is developing. There are alternatives available for women who are pregnant, but the best advice is to consult with their pets veterinarian or even their OBGYN. There are some chemical-free options available.

12 Using Essential Oils

Essential oils can be used as a holistic approach to medicine and many women are drawn to using them for their potential benefits and many other different reasons. If a woman is pregnant, especially if she is in her first trimester, she may want to reconsider using certain oils since they may be harmful to a developing fetus—oils such as wintergreen, cinnamon, and rosemary. Certain oils can actually cause the uterus to contract or adversely affect the unborn baby in the early developmental stages, according to Fitpregnancy.com.

If you are one of the millions of women who prefer to use these oils as an alternative to regular medicine, don’t worry because after your first trimester is over with and you and your baby are healthy, you may restart using the pregnancy safe oils. A few of the ones that are labeled as safe are chamomile, lavender, and ylang-ylang.

11 Giving In To Deli Meat

Deli meats are usually the go-to meal for busy moms. They are also known as lunch or sandwich meats and are the main course at some of America’s favorite fast food chains. If a pregnant woman finds herself craving these meats she would seriously think twice because these meats run the chance of becoming contaminated with a bacteria called Listeria that is found in soil and water. Lunch meats can actually become contaminated after the cooking process.

According to the Center of Disease Control, an estimated 1,700 people become seriously ill in the United States alone due to Listeria. Pregnant women are 20 times more susceptible to becoming infected with this bacteria compared to other healthy adults. Out of all these confirmed cases, 17 percent of them were pregnant women.

Listeria can cause miscarriages, premature births, and even stillbirths. As an expectant mother, if deli meats are something that you are really craving and just can’t seem to kick thought, try recooking the meats in order to decontaminate them.

10 Taking Ibuprofen

One of the most effective things to take when you are in pain or have a severe headache is Ibuprofen. But when you find out you are about to bring a baby into this world, it is best to try to reach for something a bit more pregnancy safe. It is always best to consult with your own doctor about what is safe for YOU to take during your pregnancy because what is safe for one mom-to-be may not be safe for you.

The reason that ibuprofen is not a good painkiller to take is due to the increased risk of having a miscarriage within the first trimester. The baby could also develop a heart defect, abdominal wall defects, as well as a cleft palate, according to Babycentre.co.uk. Further research needs to be done before they can confidently conclude what may happen to a second-trimester pregnancy.

9 Cleaning The Kitty’s Litter Box

Do you have a beloved feline as a part of the family? If so, you automatically know that you have a stinky job to do when it comes to cleaning up the cat's droppings. But did you know that a simple task such as this is not recommended for women who are pregnant? The reason behind this is because cat droppings can actually be contaminated with a parasite that causes an infection called toxoplasmosis, according to Babycentre.co.uk.

Luckily, this is a rare infection and in 2010 a study was done in the UK, and about only five out of every 1,000 pregnant women contacted this infection. Out of that amount, less than half of those infections were transferred to the unborn baby via the placenta. In early pregnancy, toxoplasmosis can cause a miscarriage and in later pregnancies, it can cause the baby as a stillbirth. If neither of the two happens, it can cause eye damage, an enlarged spleen or liver, or even jaundice. To be on the safe side, it is always best to have someone else clean out the kitty’s litter box daily.

8 Eating Unwashed Fruits And Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are very healthy for anyone to eat, especially for pregnant women. They are loaded with vitamins that are essential during pregnancy. But did you know that they can become dangerous to mom and her baby if they are left unwashed? According to the FDA.gov, unwashed fruits and veggies may be contaminated with a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii which can lead to an infection called toxoplasmosis.

According to TheBump.com, 1 in 10 babies are infected with toxoplasmosis and can be born with eye infections, an enlarged spleen or liver, jaundice, or pneumonia. Sadly, sometimes an infected baby could pass away mere days after he or she was born because of this infection. To avoid a serious complication like this, always carefully wash all fruits and vegetables before consuming.

7 Getting An X-ray

Accidents happen sometimes and they may require an X-ray to help evaluate if any real damage has occurred. Many soon-to-be moms wonder if getting this simple medical test done is safe while they are pregnant.

Generally, it is okay and depending on where the images need to be taken, the technicians usually drape a lead vest over your body to help better protect you. However, there is a small risk of low radiation affecting an unborn baby. There is also a small, yet rare, chance of that radiation being harmful to the fetus, and it could lead to him or her developing a childhood cancer. According to Nhs.uk, this risk is only about 1 in 500.

When it comes to dental X-rays, this issue is reduced even more. The main concern would be repeated blasts of radiation or somehow being subjected to higher doses of it because then it opens up the chances of having a miscarriage or an even greater chance of the baby developing cancer as they get a bit older.

6 Using Household Cleaners

For all the pregnant women who were hoping that all household cleaning products are harmful during pregnancy, I apologize because I have to burst your bubble. For the most part, you are safe to continue cleaning as normal with a few restrictions. To avoid harming the fetus, becoming extremely nauseous, and keeping yourself safe you should always only be using cleaning products in well-ventilated areas, according to WebMd.com. You should also avoid mixing certain cleaning products together such as ammonia and bleach as it can produce a very nasty gas.

There is one product and specific area that you should avoid cleaning throughout your entire pregnancy—cleaning the oven and using any oven cleaners should be avoided until after the baby is born. Oven cleaners are the harshest on pregnant women because of the fumes and the fact the ovens are not ventilated. To avoid making yourself sick and harming the fetus with obnoxious gases, either have someone else do that dirty job or skip out on this for the next nine months.

5 An Afternoon Spent At The Fish Market

Eating certain types of fish can actually be very beneficial to a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. Fish contains lots of vitamins and minerals as well as essential omega 3 fatty acids, which is why some fish are good to eat throughout the pregnancy. Omega 3’s have EPA and DHA in them and when combined they help support the heart, immune system, inflammatory responses, the brain, eyes, and even the nervous system. It’s clear to see why it is so beneficial.

However, there are certain types of fish that should be avoided altogether such as swordfish, shark, and marlin due to high levels of mercury which can be damaging to a fetus according to Nhs.uk. Tuna should also be limited to only four medium-sized cans a week due to it also containing high levels of mercury. Shellfish should be avoided in general, because of the potential it has to be contaminated with viruses, bacteria, and toxins—all of which are harmful to a developing baby and for mom as well.

4 Rearranging The Nursery Alone

Pregnant women often wonder if they are okay to lift heavy objects, especially when they want to rearrange their baby’s nursery all alone so that they know it’s going to get done the right way. A key element in figuring this out is based on whether or not their pregnancy is a normal healthy one, or if they are at risk. A woman with a high-risk pregnancy should not be lifting much in general, especially something heavy.

According to Americanpregnancy.com, expectant mothers have to remember that their body is changing in various ways while they are pregnant. They should also keep in mind that some of the things they did pre-pregnancy, they will no longer be able to do until after the baby is born. A woman with a high-risk pregnancy needs to worry about going into premature labor. It is recommended that any pregnant woman consults with their doctor to see what their recommendations are before heavy lifting or doing any strenuous movements to ensure that their unborn baby will be safe.

3 Consuming Unpasteurized Cheeses And Milk

The only acceptable way to consume cheese and milk while pregnant is by making sure that they were pasteurized. When they go through the pasteurization process, they are heated to high temperatures to get rid of bacteria, parasites, and other unsafe disease-causing microbes. Eating or drinking these items raw can possibly lead to an infection called listeriosis—which is from a bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes.

According to Babycenter.com, Listeria can infect the placenta, amniotic fluid, as well as the baby and it can also lead to some serious consequences such as a miscarriage or stillbirth. It can lead to the baby being born with lesions on multiple organs, trouble breathing, a blood infection, fever, skin sores, and even central nervous system infections. This is a very serious matter for any expectant mom. To best protect your baby, always make sure that any cheese, milk, or foods made with milk have been pasteurized before consumption.

2 Increasing Physical Activity

For some women, finding out that they are pregnant can drain them of energy as well as get them motivated to start exercising more. If a mom was barely getting much physical activity in pre-pregnancy, she should not drastically increase the amount of activity to an overwhelming amount because that would be a shock to her body, which we know if not good for a pregnancy.

Now, if mom was already physically active, there is nothing wrong with maintaining what she was already doing since her body was already used to it. She should not overexert herself, though. After all, her body is working to an extreme to care for two while the baby is growing inside of her womb. Increasing activity too much or overworking the body could overheat the mom-to-be and raise her core body temperature, according to BabyCenter, and the baby can become overheated as well. This is also because it could lead to bleeding and the possibility of a miscarriage or premature labor.

1 Consuming Raw, Rare, Or Undercooked Meats

Some people just love their meats still mooing. In other words, they love consuming meats that are raw, rare, medium-rare, or otherwise undercooked. When you are pregnant, sometimes you have to give up doing and enjoying some of the things that you loved prepregnancy in order to keep your unborn baby safe and healthy. Eating meats in these ways is one thing to fully give up until after the baby is born. According to Americanpregnancy.org, eating undercooked meats can lead to coliform bacterias, salmonella, and toxoplasmosis.

We have already discussed toxoplasmosis; Salmonella comes from animals such as coming in contact with infected reptiles or poultry. If you were to eat contaminated and undercooked poultry it could lead to some serious complications for yourself such as meningitis, bacteria in your bloodstream, severe dehydration, and reactive arthritis.

Unfortunately, some of these things can be transferred to the unborn baby such as meningitis which has the possibility to turn life-threatening. So, the lesson here is to always make sure that your meats are fully cooked and that you wash your hands after coming into contact with animals who have the potential to be infected.

References: Verywellfamily.com,Livestrong.com, Americanpregnancy.org, Americanpregnancy.org, Babycenter.com, Babycentre.co.uk, Babycenter.com, Mayoclinic.org, NHS.uk, Fitpregnancy.com, Americanpregnancy.com, WebMd.com, Nsh.uk, Thebump.com, FDA.gov, Babycenter.com, Babycentre.co.uk, Americanpregnancy.org

More in Did You Know...