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15 Ways A Woman's Body Can Sabotage The Pregnancy

Illnesses. Not eating properly. Stress. Problems with the uterus or cervix. Extreme morning sickness. Weak cervix. Preeclampsia. These problems and many more can lead to the loss of a pregnancy, or miscarriage. That's why it's so important for a pregnant woman to bring up any conditions she has to her gyno. If something develops after she becomes pregnant, mom should ask her, especially if she's not sure if it can affect her pregnancy.

Even if she feels perfectly healthy, leading her to wonder if seeing her doctor every month is really necessary, she should ask herself if she wants to suffer a miscarriage. All those needle pokes (and other medical tests) can help her doctor find medical problems before they start to cause problems with her health and pregnancy. Let's presume she wants to become a mom, having a healthy little one.

Even though it's so time-consuming, then our fictional mama-to-be should see her gyno every month, so she can make sure that everything is as it should be. This way, roughly nine months later, she'll be holding a tiny, new addition to her family. And, because she kept up with her appointments, her little bambino is also healthy, which ensures that it will grow into a healthy child.

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15 Germs Can Sneak Up On You

While a pregnant mom passes some antibodies on to her unborn child, some conditions outright threaten the baby's life. Pregnant women are vulnerable to rubella or German measles. If they are unvaccinated or have not received booster shots, they can develop the illness. Once they get it, their baby is vulnerable to birth defects.

Other illnesses, such as Zika virus, can lead to some significant brain defects and cognitive deficits. Newborn babies exposed to chikungunya virus during childbirth can develop a severe case of this disease.

Sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia can affect the baby as well. Group B strep, chicken pox, flu and even bacterial vaginosis can make the baby very sick.

14 When The Muscles Don't Move

As mama's body changes and grows during pregnancy, she finds it a bit more. . . challenging to exercise. Running gets harder, though some women are able to jog throughout their pregnancies. Doctors may put the kibosh on weightlifting, asking mamas to be to wait until they have given birth to resume lifting weights.

Hmmm, so what kinds of exercise are left to pregnant women? Well, swimming, walking and dancing forms of exercise, such as Jazzercise. And, for women who began yoga before becoming pregnant, this may be an excellent workout.

Aside from her changing body, a pregnant woman may be dealing with ever-present tiredness, even fatigue. This makes workouts difficult when she is dealing with low energy. Even if all she can do is walk around the track, then this is what she should do. Less-intense exercise is still beneficial and much better than not getting any exercise at all.

13 Don't Start The Nursery Just Yet

While there is very little evidence that exposure to house paints harms the unborn baby, researchers and doctors don't know exactly how the fumes can affect the child. This means that, if a pregnant woman plans to have any painting done inside her home, she should ask family members to help her out, or she should hire professional painters. Staying elsewhere until the fumes go away is also an excellent idea.

We do know about the effects of lead on babies and children. Anyone renovating old houses, especially pregnant women, should stay away from this part of fixing up a house. Even scraping away old paint can release microscopic particles of paint and lead into the air, where the woman can breathe them in. The greatest time of danger to the unborn baby is during the first 12 weeks, or the first trimester. If she's going to paint the nursery, it's definitely a good idea to wait until the end of the second trimester. If she still has energy in the third trimester, she can paint then. She should just have a window opened to help rid the room of fumes.

12 Wrong Choice Of Food

Food that has gone bad is dangerous for everyone. Bot for pregnant women and their babies, it's especially risky. Unpasteurized or raw cheeses and milk can cause listeria, which poses a significant risk to the baby. From infection with this bacteria to miscarriage and even neonatal death (stillbirth), this is no minor illness. Unborn babies can also develop prenatal pneumonia or meningitis, both of which can also lead to the baby's death.

Pregnant women should ensure they are using safe cooking and cleaning tips every time they prepare a meal. This includes keeping meat utensils separate from utensils used for vegetables; washing her hands before cooking; washing raw vegetables before cutting them; cooking meat thoroughly (this is no time for steak tartare or raw sushi); and keeping uncooked meats away from veggies and cooked foods. It's all about protecting the mother's health and that of her baby.

11 Letting In The Heat

When women are pregnant, they may often feel hotter than normal, due to the hormones that are supporting their pregnancies. A few women may also feel faint or they may actually faint while they are pregnant.

Entering the sauna or relaxing in the Jacuzzi while she's pregnant may increase blood flow from her brain and uterus to her skin, which may make her. . . feel faint. It's certainly a good idea to avoid these areas during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, if not for the whole pregnancy. Other heated areas to avoid include steam rooms, hot tubs and steam baths. Take a regular bath or shower, adjusting the water temperature to a cooler setting. It's only for nine months. Once mom has given birth, she can enjoy these hot, humid settings once again.

10 Everyone Forgets About X-Rays

Collette Brunholder, radiology technician, conducting an x-ray exam at the campus health center (submitted photo) APR13.

When we go to the doctor's or dentist's office, we have to answer questions about our current health, including whether we are pregnant or not. There's an excellent reason for this. X-rays can have a definite negative effect on the developing baby's body. Even if we only suspect that we are pregnant, we have to tell medical staff.

Dental hygienists place large, heavy aprons on our bodies when we're going to have dental X-rays. This is because they don't want to damage the unborn baby, subjecting it to anything that could cause birth defects.

If a mother must have a radiologic exam done, she needs to tell her doctor and the radiologist so the most appropriate procedure can be ordered and carried out. Even though the dosages of radiation to which she is exposed are small, those amounts can affect an unborn child.

9 Avoid The Massage

In the first three months of a mom's pregnancy, massages of her abdominal area should be avoided. If she feels that a massage will help her to feel better, she should discuss her wish for limited massages with her doctor or midwife. Also, she should tell the massage therapist that she is pregnant, and how far along she is before beginning the massage.

Acupuncture is generally thought of as a safe complementary therapy during pregnancy. But, as with massage, the acupuncturist should not place needles in certain parts of the woman's body. During pregnancy, it's just not safe to use those areas of the body because of how the needles stimulate them. The safest thing a pregnant woman can do for herself is to seek out and use an acupuncturist who has the training and experience to work with pregnant women.

Certain complementary therapies can be safe if used and practiced responsibly. They may be much safer than taking medications that alter body chemistry.

8 When Animals Are In The Home

If mom has a cat and continues to clean the litter box out, she puts herself and her baby at risk of developing toxoplasmosis. The single-celled parasite called toxoplasma gondii causes this illness. Even though it's tiny, it can make people extremely sick.

Moms who develop toxoplasmosis develop flu-like symptoms, achy muscles and swollen lymph glands. While the symptoms look like the flu, they can last for several weeks. If the unborn baby develops this condition, it can go on to experience physical complications and mental problems. Antibiotic medications can help to kill the infection caused by this parasite.

If you're pregnant and you have even one feline at home, shift the poop-scooping duties to your partner. Even if you wear a mask and gloves while you're cleaning or changing the litter, the risk is just too high.

7 How Many Calories?

Yes, it's hard for a newly pregnant woman to get food into her. Her stomach's not too happy and she may be puking every so often. Plus she's not sure what foods will set her off, from one day to the next.

This makes eating five daily services of veggies and fruits difficult. Drinking milk or decaf tea may be an exercise in strong will (is her will stronger than her stomach?)  Then, there are those completely unexpected food cravings. If she never had something like hummus before, then she suddenly begins to crave that, she may be blindsided. Speaking of cravings, if she gives in to that, she may end up regretting that if she gets sick or has a painful attack of heartburn. Even taking prenatal vitamins can lead to upset tummy or a sour stomach. That's just not fun!

6 Put Down The Cleaning Products

It's important to keep a clean home, pregnant or not. Some cleaning products may pose some risk to the mom and her unborn baby. If she's not sure about a cleaning item, reading its ingredient list can help her decide whether to use it or not. This may be a good time to use natural products, like lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda to clean around the house.

Activities like cleaning the oven should be left to someone who's not carrying an unborn baby. The chemicals in the oven cleaner are extremely caustic, not to mention toxic. If she can't avoid using some cleaning products, she should follow all the safety instructions posted on the label, such as opening windows and doors to prevent the buildup of fumes.

Those toilet deodorant cakes that help the toilet to smell "fresh" contain a substance called naphthalene. This is a pretty nasty chemical that can cause hemolytic anemia in very high doses. It doesn't take very much to poison a tiny, newborn baby, damaging its blood cells. Again, this is a time when natural is better.

5 No Protection

STIs can put a woman's baby in danger. There's no fun way of saying this. Going through a listing of these conditions shows just what can happen to the unborn little one:

Hepatitis: Hepatitis B can lead to several liver conditions if it's untreated. And it can be transmitted to the baby before and during birth. What's worse is that, if the mom contracts Hepatitis B late in pregnancy, the risk to her baby is even higher.

Chlamydia: This can cause the mom to go into premature labor, which can cause a too-early rupture of the amniotic membrane.

HIV: This disease can be passed on to the baby during pregnancy, in childbirth and even during breast feeding. If she takes antiretroviral medications throughout her pregnancy, the risk of passing the virus on to her baby falls from 25 percent to lower than 2 percent. It's safest for the mother to give birth via a Caesarian delivery, to prevent passing the virus to the baby.

Herpes Simplex II: If a mother is going through an active herpes outbreak during labor and birth, the infection can kill the baby. Again, taking antiviral medications and Caesarian delivery are safest for the baby.

4 The Ups And Downs

Everyone deals with some level of stress. Stress may affect a pregnancy, leading to premature birth and poor outcomes for the baby. The National Institutes of Health studied this question, which led to the conclusion that yes, extremely high levels of stress and low levels of societal support can endanger a woman's pregnancy.

Families, co-workers and friends of expectant moms should be checking in with her to make sure things are copacetic with her. Even if she's reluctant to admit that she's feeling too much stress or that she's not feeling her healthiest, people in her life should do what they can to help decrease any levels of stress she's experiencing. Yes, a certain level of stress is healthy. But too much of it for too long can negatively affect both mom and baby.

The NIH studied the cytokine levels of pregnant woman. Low levels of stress led to low levels of inflammatory cytokines.

3 The Hidden Condition

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This condition is also called "toxemia of pregnancy," and it is no walk in the park. I've been there, twice. The doctor knows a pregnant woman has preeclampsia when she has high blood pressure and is leaking protein into her urine.

If preeclampsia is untreated, it can lead to liver, brain and kidney damage in the mother; placenta damage, which puts the baby at risk; cause low birth weight; lead to seizures in the mother (called eclampsia); and lead to premature or preterm birth. At its worst, preeclampsia can kill both mother and baby.

Regular prenatal care can help to detect this illness early, giving both mother and baby a better chance of recovery. The only "cure" for this illness is childbirth. If the mother develops preeclampsia early, she will be closely monitored at home or in the hospital. The goal is to get the baby to a healthy weight.

2 Nothing Stays Down

Pregnant moms can take their pick. "Morning sickness" is now called "nausea and vomiting of pregnancy" or NVP. Severe NVP, when it crosses certain borders, becomes "hyperemesis gravidarum." If she vomits more than four times a day, becomes light-headed, develops double vision, becomes constipated or dehydrated, has no appetite, loses more than 10 pounds and has near-constant nausea, she may have HG.

If constant, severe vomiting becomes a physical threat to mom and baby, she may need to be hospitalized. If she vomits violently, she can break her ribs, detach her retinas or tear her esophagus. She may also lose her baby, especially if the HG is particularly severe.

The pregnant woman who is vomiting so much that she can't keep anything down needs family support and prompt medical attention. HG is not well-recognized, leading to family members and even doctors poo-pooing the woman's worries.

1 When It's Left Untreated

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Diabetes that existed before a woman becomes pregnant or gestational diabetes both pose serious risks to the pregnancy. For women with pregestational diabetes (diabetes diagnosed before pregnancy), her baby can develop birth defects because of her body's inability to produce insulin and control levels of blood glucose in her body.

Some of the problems that can develop include macrosomia (baby grows much larger than a baby born to a woman without diabetes), respiratory distress and hypoglycemia.

Doctors can test for gestational diabetes if they see signs that the mother is developing this condition. In fact, glucose screens are routinely completed between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. If after this test and a follow up test, gestational diabetes is discovered, mom goes onto a special diet, exercises regularly, measures her blood sugar every day and either takes oral medication or insulin injections.

Sources: babygaga.com, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, popsugar.com, healthline.com, everydayhealth.com, babycenter.com, stanfordchildrens.org, americanpregnancy.org, pregnancybirthbaby.org.au, wikipedia, Saavn, BabyCenter, New Age Pregnancy, My Baby's Heartbeat Bear, Quick and Dirty Tips, American Pregnancy Association, MomJunction, Petfinder, Steadyhealth.com, Massage Today, New Health Advisor, SlideShare, Vernazza Painting, Cleanitsupply.com, ABCNews-Go.com, The Open University

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