Having a baby is an awesome responsibility, and the work begins before the baby is even born. As the baby grows in the mama, she has to do all that she can to make sure that the baby is healthy, since she can do a lot of things that can impact the baby.
It might seem like that would only include the things that she ingests — everything from the food that she eats and the beverages she drinks, as well as any prescription medications she takes can have an effect — but there is so much more to think about. As much as a mom wants to clean to prepare for the baby's arrival, she needs to check on her cleaning products, for example.
There are some external things moms should avoid like self tanners and bug spray and some psychological things to consider as well. No one wants to wonder if their little one is affected by something that they have done, so we've gathered some information. The list might seem long, but knowing the impacts — good and bad — might help a mom-to-be keep her baby as safe and healthy as possible.
Here are 20 things a pregnant mom does that surprisingly affect the unborn baby.
20 Bug Spray Can Bug The Baby
In the past several years, pregnancy in summer — especially in certain parts south of the border — has been pretty risky. That's because moms in some parts of South America experienced the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease that doesn't hurt mom much but can be a big deal for the baby. Some moms might be tempted to wear bug spray at all times. But that isn't safe either.
According to Kids Health and other sources, a number of bug repellants are considered an issue for babies. The ones with the compound DEET in them are especially dangerous, as they can cause birth issues. The effects of others aren't fully understood, but moms need to be cautious and try natural remedies as much as they can.
19 Taking Care Of The Cat Is A Concern
We love our pets. But there might be a problem for cat-lovers when they get pregnant. It can be a danger to change the cat's litter, as the mom can contract an infection called toxoplasmosis that can cause birth issues.
The infection isn't really harmful to the cat or to the mom, although she is more likely to experience symptoms when she is pregnant than she would before. But it can be spread through feces, so if mom has to change the litter box she should be careful to put on gloves and wash her hands carefully afterward. If the cat live indoors at all times, he isn't likely to get the infection, but if dad is willing to take on the job for nine months, that's the safest option.
18 Hot Tub Hot Button Issue
Relaxation is a good thing when you are pregnant, but for women who love a soak in a hot tub, they may be surprised that there might be dangers to the baby. It might be OK if you don't turn the heat up, but there isn't as much of a point then.
Another danger of a hot tub is that there could be bacteria in the water, since most tubs aren't drained very often. It's especially in the case of a public hot tub, such as ones at hotels or public pools. Moms are more susceptible to germs when they are pregnant, and you definitely don't want to get an infection down below. Hot tubs are a hot button issue, but we think it might be best to just avoid them while pregnant.
17 X-Ray Exposure
This one isn't a clear yes or no, but moms needs to know that if they have an x-ray, it could have an effect on the baby. There are times when doctors might weigh that out and if there is a possibility that the mom has a broken bone that needs to be set, it might be worth the risk, but the medical professionals will work to limit the amount of exposure to the uterus.
Dental x-rays are the most common type, and most people get them done once a year to determine if there are any issues with the teeth. Pregnant women tend to have tooth trouble, which means it's like to come up. Dentists like to avoid x-rays in the first trimester, but with a lead apron over the tummy, it's thought to be safe later on.
16 Getting In Shape Is A Good Thing
Some things that moms do while pregnant can have a good effect on the baby inside. That is certainly true for exercise and getting in shape. Research has proven that women who are overweight who get in shape before getting pregnant can have a very positive impact on the baby's health, including cutting down on the risks.
Doctors recommend that women continue to exercise during pregnancy (unless there is a medical reason to avoid it) because it can help them continue to be healthy and have an easier time during labor. But the health impacts on the baby can't be overlooked as well.
15 Depression Without Treatment Isn't Okay
There are many women these days who experience depression, but thanks to modern medicine, they can cope pretty well with the aid of a prescription. Unfortunately, prescription medications can be harmful to the baby, including a number of them that are prescribed for depression.
However, moms shouldn't go without treatment during pregnancy. Doctors recommend trying a form of cognitive therapy such as counselling during pregnancy, since depression can also have an impact on the little one during gestation. There might be some other drugs that have less harmful effects as well. It's important to talk to the doctor and figure out the treatment plan that can ensure the mom's and the baby's health.
14 Eating Problems
Pregnant women are encouraged to eat more, so their baby will have enough nutrients to grow and thrive. But the amount of food that doctors recommend isn't all that much, just up to 500 extra calories a day, and that is toward the end of the pregnancy. Pigging out can actually be a problem, and not just for the mom's waistline after the birth.
A big baby might seem like a good thing, but it can be pretty bad, especially if he has blood sugar problems at birth. The baby can also be so big that he gets stuck in the birth canal, which can cause shoulder dystocia or hip issues. Moms should strive to meet their doctor's recommendation, both for their sake and for the baby's.
13 Cleaning Products Can Be Risky
A lot of things can be considered poison when you are pregnant, and that means that a lot of the harsh chemicals found in certain cleaners can be a problem for the baby too. It's not as easy to hand this task — at least all of it — over to the dad, especially considering most women get a huge craving to clean known as nesting. But they have to be careful with what products they choose.
Doctors recommend that women avoid oven cleaners, carpet cleaners and aerosols especially during this vulnerable time. For other products, we recommend that you give some of the more natural products a try for a few months. Baking soda or vinegar can do wonders, and it might be a good idea to consider gloves or a mask.
12 Don't Sleep On Your Back
Sleep can be hard to come by when you are pregnant, but some moms-to-be might be surprised to learn that it can be dangerous for the baby. It's easier to understand why you can't sleep on your stomach, at least after the first trimester. But moms also have to avoid sleeping on their back because of the effect it can have on the baby.
The growing uterus can put pressure on the main vein that carries blood throughout the body. That might mean that the baby doesn't get enough oxygen, so moms have to sleep on their side. In fact, the left side is the best for circulation, although it's OK to be on your right for a short period of time.
11 Be Careful Painting The Nursery
We understand that moms want to set up the perfect nursery during pregnancy, and for many that starts with a beautiful paint job. But pregnant women need to be careful when it comes to the toxic fumes that can come with a lot of painting jobs.
We think that's it's best to leave the house while dad or another person takes over the task of painting, but if you have to be around, you should be sure to wear a mask. Ladders can also be dangerous, so stick to the ground. And if you have an older house, be warned that there could be really harmful lead-based paint that has to be removed first. It's a definite that mom shouldn't be involved in that part of the process.
10 High Heels Aren't Just A Problem For Mom
We know that moms-to-be want to look good. But high heels shouldn't be a part of the equation. It's not just a problem for the mom, although many women have it pretty seriously. It can also effect the baby.
The symptoms that mom experience can be pretty dramatic, including some pretty gross swelling and water retention. But the biggest problem comes if mom falls, which is more likely during pregnancy because the mom's center of balance is off. The mom might end up with a sprained ankle, but if she has a big fall, it could be devastating for the baby. She might go into premature labor or the placenta could detach and the baby's life could be at risk. That's why we recommend just going with flats.
9 Prescriptions Might Need To Change
Prescription drugs can do a lot to make a person healthy, both physically and mentally. But they aren't necessarily healthy for an unborn baby. Anything that isn't naturally occurring can be a problem, and that includes over-the-counter meds as well.
At the first prenatal appointment, a mom needs to talk to her obstetrician about her medications and how they could impact the baby. They need to carefully weigh the benefits to the mom and the risks to the baby, and that might mean a tapering of the dosage or a transition to a new drug. It's better to approach the doctor about risks before getting pregnant because with some drugs the impacts can be severe.
8 Acupuncture Isn't A Necessarily Good Idea
Back pain is pretty common in pregnancy, but moms can't take any medication to help. Some women go for natural remedies, but even those might have an effect on the baby. Massage is OK after the first trimester, but moms need to be careful to have a therapist trained in prenatal massage.
Acupuncture is generally considered to be safe, but there are risks. It's especially important to make sure that your acupuncturist has extensive training and has very clean needles. Moms are really susceptible to infection during pregnancy, so it could be a big problem for the mom and the baby if you aren't careful when doing acupuncture.
7 Skip Fake Tanning
Most moms are smart enough to avoid going to the tanning bed when they are pregnant. It's pretty unsafe whether there is a baby on board or not. It might be tempting to go for a self-tanner, but that's not a good idea either.
While self-tanners don't usually go beyond the top layer of skin, there isn't any research on how it could impact the baby. There are studies, however, that prove that getting some natural vitamin D through sun exposure has a positive impact on the baby. Moms are more susceptible to allergic reactions from self-tanners and possibly sunburn from the sun, so be careful, and we recommend going for the natural look while pregnant.
6 Giving In To Crazy Cravings
Cravings are an interesting part of pregnancy. A lot of times they can seem to manifest a need of nutrients, such as iron in the diet. But there are times when cravings can be quite crazy, and that is even beyond an extreme sweet tooth, which can be unhealthy but not necessarily dangerous.
Some women develop a condition called pica, which can cause them to craze things that are not food. They might want to eat dirt, chalk or rocks, which can definitely do damage to their digestive system. The cravings can also be a problem for the baby. It's important to let the doctor know right away if you start to crave something that isn't food — and please, don't eat it.
5 Hair Dye Restrictions
A decade or so ago, women worried a lot about dyeing their hair while pregnant. While that concern has let up more recently, there are still some worries about what they impact could be on the baby if you use harsh chemicals on their hair.
There are some safer alternatives to dye and bleach, and many doctors recommend that women wait until after the first trimester, when the embryo is very fragile and susceptible to outside factors. It's also possible that the hair will react differently than it did in the past, since pregnancy can change the texture and thickness.
4 Heavy Lifting Might Be A Problem
Thanks to a trend these days, a lot of moms might think that heavy lifting is safe during pregnancy. After all, a number of Crossfit and uber-health-conscious moms have posted pictures of themselves heavy-lifting with an eight-month baby bump. But there are big dangers that could happen.
The problem with heavy lifting is that most women don't do it properly. It's harder to use your legs, since pregnant women can be off balance. They are risking placental abruption on top of back strain. If you aren't confident in your abilities, we think it's best to leave the heavy lifting to your spouse.
3 Roller Coasters Aren't Worth The Thrill
Amusement parks are fun. We love the thrill of a fast roller coaster, but it has to be smooth and steady for women who are pregnant. It's better to stick to the carousel or another fun low impact ride because of the risk to the baby on the way.
Most women think that the risk is only to the mom, as her loose ligaments could cause her to have a back injury or another issue. But the twists and turns of roller coasters could impact the baby. The biggest issue is probably placental abruption, which could result in an early birth or stillbirth. It's probably OK if you rode a roller coaster before you knew you were pregnant in the early weeks, but after that, it's not worth the thrill.
2 Caffeine Needs To Be Cut
Some people are addicted to coffee, but they don't think of the drink as a drug until they become pregnant. The problem is caffeine, which is a stimulant that helps us wake up in the morning. But in large amounts, it can have a negative impact on the baby.
Caffeine can raise mom's blood pressure and heart rate, and since it crosses through the placenta, it can do the same to the baby. There are studies that show that it could mean that the baby could have long-term impacts such as ADHD. It's OK to have one cup of coffee, although moms should be aware that caffeine is in other foods like chocolate, so it's important to keep it at a minimum.
1 Too Much Stress Impacts The Baby
Most moms think that it takes doing something physically to have an impact on the baby. But research has proven that stress during pregnancy can cause long-term problems for the little one later in life.
It's difficult not to experience any anxiety when you are pregnant. After all, we've listed a number of ways that moms have to be careful so that their baby has a better chance at good health. Plus, many women have money concerns and family issues right along with it. Luckily, the baby is usually fine with the normal ups and downs of life. Traumatic events such as natural disasters, a passing in the family or a major life upheaval have been proven to cause long-term problems, so moms should do what they can to relieve their stress as much as their circumstances will allow.