After a round of congratulations, many expecting mothers get bombarded with well-meaning advice about what they should eat, advice on exercise, and questions about their lifestyle habits. After all, growing a tiny human from scratch is a really big deal.
And so many mothers-to-be end up living with worries over how well they are keeping up with their prenatal regimen, juggling work, doctor appointments, and making personal time. All the while, that baby might actually be getting too much of things.
How exactly? Sometimes mom can overdo it on otherwise healthy vitamins to ensure the health of mom and baby. Being pregnant, living with a growing baby bump, and navigating work and home can bring on boatloads of stress, which can hurt mom and baby both.
Chasing the idea of being the perfect future mom, looking up to pregnant celebrities, or even musing over social media posts can be a drain too. Moms seriously need to push the pause button, take a deep breath, and relax. There is no manual on the perfect pregnancy, although some sources may get away with advertising that they have all the answers.
But just in case, this article should cover things a mom should be more aware of during pregnancy. If it wasn’t enough worrying that the baby will be spoiled, the baby could already be getting too much of things while still in the womb.
15 Too Much Iron
Making sure to get enough iron while pregnant is a really big deal. However concerned expectant mamas should still remember to keep things in moderation. Even over consumption of vitamins and nutrients that support human health can be too much of a good thing. I know, I know.
Yes, it is vital that mom makes sure to follow up with her prenatal regimen, and takes daily vitamins and eats a healthy diet. But despite all the well-meaning advice readily dispensed to mothers, they need to keep things in a healthy balance.
Sadly, many people choose to focus on making sure to consume enough protein via animal sources. And since women may risk developing an iron-deficiency, or anemia while pregnant, or in general, iron pills get pushed heavily.
The baby in the womb is reliant on their mom to make the best health decision for both of their interests. Babies who get way too much iron than needed can end up developing health problems as a result.
According to Live Strong, too much iron can trigger gestational diabetes in pregnant women. Gestational diabetes can cause an unborn baby to have raised blood sugar levels, or even end up being born with hypoglycemia.
In order to protect baby’s iron exposure, mom should not over-indulge in too many sources of iron, when already taking iron pills, or prenatal vitamins with iron included.
14 Too Much Anxiety From Mom's Work/Being Pregnant/Home Life
Relaxation time is of utmost importance for a pregnant mother. Stressful things are bound to happen from time to time. But when a mom is expecting, she definitely wants to keep her stress levels in check.
Not only is stress terrible for a mom, on top of dealing with the ups and downs of pregnancy, but it has adverse health effects for her unborn child. According to Science Daily, the levels of stress hormones can linger and increase within the amniotic sac, impacting the baby during pregnancy.
The connection between a mother and her child in the womb is deeper than many may realize. Whatever mom eats or feels, certainly does get transferred to her child. Therefore, babies born to mothers who had to deal with undue amounts of stress during pregnancy are typically born with a lower weight, and may also have difficulty reaching developmental milestones in their youth.
Flight or fight responses are one of the body’s natural defense mechanisms, causing the hormone cortisol to surge within the body, as well as adrenaline. However, too much exposure on a continual basis to stressful events in an expectant mother’s life can be detrimental.
According to Fit Pregnancy, children who are exposed to significant stress levels in the womb are at increased risk to display mental disorders, and experience difficulty coping with their emotional responses to things.
13 More Ultrasounds Than Necessary
Typically many mothers-to-be look forward to their first ultrasound. After all, the ultrasound is the first chance mom gets to see what her precious bundle of joy looks like, while nestled safe inside her womb.
Ultrasounds are a safe way for a medical personnel to check on the health and development of an unborn child. Both mom and doctors want to make sure that the baby and mother are experiencing a healthy pregnancy. Also, moms like the idea of getting a keepsake image of their little bun in the oven, while they wait for the big delivery day.
However, if a baby is getting way more ultrasounds than needed, there has been speculation and worry that there are negative side effects for the child. According to What to Expect, mothers have seen a significant increase in ultrasounds up to 92 percent since 2004.
But if mothers are undergoing ultrasounds at unnecessary levels, overexposure to ultrasounds may potentially cause harm to an unborn child. However, there have not been enough studies to show defects or harm to unborn babies from too much ultrasound exposure.
Mothers who have health conditions like diabetes, lupus, or high blood pressure are often requested to have ultrasounds more often when pregnant.
If anything, moms should relax about getting an ultrasound, and not stress to do more than is asked by their medical providers. Babies don’t need lots of stress, in addition to being blasted with ultrasonic waves more than needed.
12 Excess Sugar From Mom’s Pregnancy Cravings
Expectant mamas may be the cause of jokes when it comes to pregnancy cravings. However, not all moms end up craving pickles with a side of sardines and ice cream at 2 am.
Cravings cannot be used as an excuse for mothers-to-be to overeat with abandon. Because the baby is exposed to whatever dietary choices mom eats, too much or too little of anything can potentially trigger health problems.
If mom is eating way more sugar than she knows she should, that mother might be exposing their unborn baby to artificial sweeteners, risk the baby developing dangerous glucose levels, diabetes, or even being born overweight.
A confection or two to satisfy a pregnant mother’s sweet tooth is not a terrible thing. The biggest thing for a mom to keep in mind is everything in moderation.
Eating too many sweets can lead to tooth decay in the already sensitive teeth and gums of a pregnant woman. If dental problems caused by sugar consumption go unchecked, it could potentially risk the proliferation of bacteria in the mouth and bloodstream.
According to Healthy Mummy, mothers want to avoid eating excess sugar because it can trigger gestational diabetes, obesity, and pass on health challenges to the unborn child. Drinking water and exercise should help keep things balanced after eating a sweet treat or two while pregnant.
Too much sugar can cause low birth weight, early delivery, and trigger pre-eclampsia.
11 Exposure To Radiation (Cell Phone Use, Wireless Technology)
Chances are you are either reading this on a mobile device right now, on a computer, or have your smartphone within arm’s reach. Wireless technology is a pretty amazing thing. It allows us to stay connected, send pictures to one another in seconds, read articles, listen to music, and watch funny videos with cats or dogs.
However, the wonders of technology are not without a potential downside. Radiation.
Yep, turns out that according to Business Insider, people spend at least an hour on their smartphones daily. And all our wonderful little electronic devices, cell phone towers, and wireless routers are emitting out radiation that can penetrate body tissues, and reach unborn babies.
Yes, Mother Nature had things figured out with pregnancy, as babies are protected in a watery amniotic sac, tucked away in a mother’s womb. However, nature didn’t suspect that humans were going to develop and become obsessed with mobile technology, the internet, and become increasingly exposed to radiation on a daily basis.
According to New Scientist, the exposure of radio frequency radiation from cell phones and other wireless technology may be contributing to neurological and behavioral problems in developing children still in the womb.
A UK advisory group in 2012 proposed that prenatal maternal use of mobile devices and phones can affect unborn babies. Studies are still ongoing, but there is plenty of room for concern.
10 Exposure To Pollution And Pesticides
As the human population has continued to grow and spread around the planet, so has the output of pollution. In an effort to boost the yields of crops, or clever marketing strategies by chemical companies, farmers have hastily applied pesticides to their fields.
Many pesticides that have been in commercial use for years are only now being exposed to the significant birth defects that they can cause unborn children to develop during pregnancy.
The widespread use of fossil fuels, unchecked dumping by companies, and a lack of strong enough environmental protection on the law books have caused ecological devastation.
Babies who live in areas where there is increased air pollution from cars on the highways, living near factories or smog that have built up over the years are at risk when in the womb.
Women who are pregnant, but are constantly exposed to water contaminated with toxic elements like lead, arsenic and pharmaceutical run-off can pass out detrimental defects to their unborn baby unwittingly.
Thankfully, more people are increasingly aware of the negative health effects of pollution and pesticides, on both developing children and their pregnant moms.
In order to protect a bun in the oven from too much exposure to toxic chemical compounds, mothers should try to buy fruit and vegetables that have not been grown with commercial pesticides. Expectant mothers should also try to filter their water for drinking and bathing whenever possible, and avoid areas with heavy pollution in the air.
9 Too Much Noise From Outside World
Exposing an unborn baby to music that is stimulating for their brain development, such as classical, jazz, or melodic pop music can be a lot of fun. After all, whatever music a mom likes to listen to is often remembered by babies after birth. The fluid within the amniotic sac helps to amplify sounds outside the womb.
Since the baby does live in a watery world that is sensitive to noise, expectant mothers want to be cautious about being exposed to overly loud noises for extensive periods. It only takes the difference of a few decibels to change a sound from enjoyable, into something harsh, grating, and capable of delivering unwanted negative health effects.
According to Medical Xpress, exposure to loud noises during pregnancy can risk damaging a child’s hearing while still in the womb. Pregnant women who experience noise pollution as an occupational hazard are particularly vulnerable and incur an 80% risk of hurting their child’s ability to hear.
It has been advised that pregnant women should avoid noises which reach over the 80-decibel mark. So, if mom enjoys listening to tunes while working out, she should turn it down a bit. And if mom’s place of employment exposes her to loads of noise pollution, she should seek reassignment whenever possible.
8 Exposure To Lead From Old Pipes, Paint On Walls, Drinking Water
Babies are still being exposed a bit too much to lead while in the womb. Alarming as this may be to expectant mothers, there are steps that a mom can take to reduce lead exposure.
Some cities and towns, such as Flint, Michigan in the United States uncovered that the local drinking water was unfit because of toxic levels of lead and other contaminants.
Using a water filter for the tap, for cleaner water for drinking, bathing, and cooking has increasingly become a new norm and necessity for many. Although most municipal water filtration departments do their best, if a house or sewer system has outdated pipes, lead can leach its way into the water supply during delivery.
Moms seeking to paint the nursery for baby’s arrival or expectant mothers who have exposure to paint with lead as an occupational hazard should take caution.
Babies who are exposed to lead in the womb can end up with a low birth weight or impaired neurodevelopment, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
High levels of lead exposure can linger around in the blood, and cause children to experience seizures, coma, delirium, headaches, tremors, loss of appetite, or even death.
When in doubt, expecting mothers should test their water to make sure it is safe for consumption to reduce lead exposure.
7 Unwanted Exposure
Sadly, being pregnant is not significant enough to get hapless addicted pregnant women to cease using drugs. According to the CBC News, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported 1,850 infants were born exposed to drugs between the years 2016 and 2017.
Shockingly, opioids have been ravaging Canada, the United States, and other places around the world. Drug addiction is especially more painful when the most innocent of victims are helpless unborn babies and newborn infants.
In the United States, drug addiction has been classified as a mental disorder. And it is a disorder that is typically treated with the prescription of yet more drugs. According to an article in the New York Times Magazine, a baby in the United States is born with withdrawal symptoms from opioid exposure at a rate of every 15 minutes.
Even more harrowing, is that pregnant women who know they have an addiction to opioids cannot pull themselves away from using, even if they know the cost to their unborn child. Some women are afraid to go for help because of punitive and restrictive laws.
Babies who are exposed to opioids are more likely to be born underweight, born premature, and can suffer developmental disorders such as seizures. Babies exposed to opioids may also be at risk of contracting Hepatitis C if their pregnant mother is an intravenous drug user.
6 Too Much Mercury From Seafood
Eating fish is seen as a healthy and lean protein that should be added to everyone’s diets. But for expecting mothers, eating seafood does not come without additional risks to their unborn child. Not all fish is fit to eat for a mama-to-be, because of the risks of ingesting toxins like PCBs, mercury, microplastics, and parasites.
One of the most significant health risks for an unborn baby is being exposed to too much mercury while in the womb.
According to some studies, exposure to mercury has been linked to the development of ADHD in children. Mercury is indeed toxic and can cause neurological dysfunction, impair the function of the kidneys and lungs. Babies in the womb are especially vulnerable to being exposed to mercury, which can pass through the membrane.
Care should be taken when choosing what to eat and what not to eat because a baby’s developing brain is the most sensitive to becoming altered or defective by mercury exposure.
According to Forbes, moms should consider switching over to fish that have lower levels of mercury, if they still want to enjoy eating seafood now and then. Fish like salmon, trout, and catfish have low mercury levels. Fish like tuna, especially canned, shark, and mackerel should be avoided.
5 Too Much Amniotic Fluid
Although it’s a good thing that babies are surrounded by a protectie bubble of amniotic fluid in the womb, there can be too much of a good thing in life.
If a baby is exposed to polyhydramnios, or too much amniotic fluid, it can be problematic for an unborn little one.
A mom usually discovers that she has too much amniotic fluid when she gets a routine ultrasound. According to Healthline, a normal AFI, or Amniotic Fluid Index, should range between 8 to 24 centimeters.
Women who look they are carrying closer to the end of their pregnancy than their actual gestational period might want to get checked out. Sometimes being larger than typical is a sign of too much amniotic fluid.
Polyhydramnios is usually caused by gestational diabetes, an abnormality with the unborn baby, or unknown reasons. Babies who live in a womb with a wee bit more fluid than healthy may end up being born premature, or born breech. There is also a potential risk of uterine cord prolapse when mom gives birth, which can make delivery difficult.
Frequent tests and monitoring of the pregnancy can help decide whether medical intervention is needed to treat polyhydramnios. In the most severe cases, any excess amniotic fluid will have to be drained, and the baby might have to be delivered via C-section.
4 Too Much Folic Acid Via Vitamins And Food Sources (Contributor To Developing Autism)
It’s no wonder why many pregnant women want to make sure they take enough vitamins and eat healthy for the sake of their child. After all, both mom and baby are what they eat. However, balance and moderation are important for a healthy baby and pregnancy.
Women who consume too much folic acid may be contributing to health problems for their little ones while still in the womb.
Common sources of folic acid include lentils, dark green vegetables like turnip greens, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and spinach. Folic acid is an essential food that pregnant women need to consume for a healthy pregnancy.
There is concern that overconsumption of folic acid may be the reason some children develop autism.
More children seem to be increasingly born with developmental problems like autism. Studies of autism are ongoing, in a search to discover all of the reasons that the condition is triggered in human beings.
According to Web MD, a study suggested that too much folate via vitamin B9 and vitamin B12 can increase the risk that a child will develop an autism spectrum disorder.
Concerned expectant mothers should not rush out to toss out their prenatal vitamins, or cease consumption of folic acid. But mothers should be aware that researchers uncovered that excessive levels of B12 in a pregnant woman could be connected to their child being born with autism.
3 Excess Exposure To Caffeine
Who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee? When pregnant women discover that they don’t necessarily have to say goodbye to drinking coffee while pregnant for 9 months, they might decide to over-indulge.
If the baby is exposed to excessive levels of caffeine, which is found in coffee, teas, some candies, and energy drinks, there is an increased risk that the child will develop obesity later in life.
According to CNN, a study in the BMJ Open linked too much caffeine intake to excessive growth during a baby’s first year of life.
When drinking or consuming sources of caffeine, moms who have a bun in the oven should be mindful of their intake. According to the Mayo Clinic, between 25 and 50 milligrams of caffeine is inside one 8-ounce cup of soda or black tea. An 8-ounce cup of coffee with caffeine contains an average of 100 and 150 milligrams of caffeine.
Expecting mothers who want to limit the exposure of caffeine to their babes should cap their intake at 200 milligrams per day.
The risk of a miscarriage or birth defects is a real and present danger from too much caffeine consumption. So, mom can ideally drink one or two 8-ounce cups max.
2 Baby Having Episodes Of Hiccups And Excessive Movement
A baby in the womb may often be depicted as serenely curled up in the fetal position. However, most babies are actually really active while in the womb. It is also possible for babies to develop severe cases of hiccups which can continue for extended periods of time.
A hiccuping little one is a funny thing to imagine, but if you see a woman’s womb inadvertently shaking while she is standing still, it might be because the baby has the hiccups.
Some babies seem like they are practicing for a dance contest while they are inside their mom’s body. If it wasn’t enough feeling kicked in the ribs while dealing with nausea, pregnant mothers may experience a sense of some serious motions going on in their belly. So what gives?
Usually, babies hiccup now and then during the first trimester or in the second trimester of pregnancy. If the baby has increased hiccups, causing jerky movements of the baby bump a few weeks before pregnancy, mom should consult her doctor. Problems with the umbilical cord could be the culprit.
Pregnant mothers can actually be the cause of a baby’s never-ending hiccup episodes or constantly fluttering about. If the baby has developed bad gas or a specific reaction to something mom eats, they might become more physically active or have hiccups.
Babies can also be more active at night or move around more if something is wrong, or if they are getting used to less space as the delivery date nears.
1 Baby Sleeping All The Time: Low Alertness
Babies do sleep a lot, while inside the womb, and after being delivered into the real world. However, it is normal for most babies to make some noticeable motions while inside their mother’s belly. At the 27 week mark of gestation, most mothers begin to feel their baby’s motions, causing a jerk of the baby bump.
According to Parents, babies spend about 90 to 95 percent of their day sleeping life away. Developing into a fully formed human takes a lot of energy so it makes sense. However, expectant mothers should keep track of how often their baby makes movements.
If a baby seems to lose its alertness while in the womb, it may be worth checking out by the doctor. Especially if a mother has a bad fall or the pregnancy is still somewhere between the first and second trimester, low alertness or motion of the baby could be a sign of miscarriage.
Babies in the womb may also have funny schedules with being asleep or awake. Many mothers may complain about their child be overly active at night, doing somersaults and kicks, while being nearly still during the day. Because unborn babies are in a dark and watery world, they have yet to develop an internal clock that registers with the outside world.
Lucky little babies get to spend way too much time sleeping in the womb, But, it’s all part of the process of transforming into a miraculous tiny human.
Sources: Baby Center, News Scientist, Web MD, Today's Parent, Fit Pregnancy, Mayo Clinic, CBS News, NCBI, Parenting, ACOG, Science Direct, What to Expect, Medical Daily, Times of India, The Bump, Mirror, The New York Times Magazine, Science Daily, Live Strong, Healthy Mummy, Medical Xpress, CBC News, Forbes, Healthline, Web MD, CNN, Independent