Pregnancy is one of the most amazing journeys of a woman’s life, and often it’s a roller coaster ride of emotions — however, this is the only roller coaster ride (bye, Disneyland) that expectant mothers should be on during those long nine months.
There are many rules and guidelines that women should follow during pregnancy, and this includes a lot of things that they have to give up. Women know that it’s important to eat a healthy and balanced assortment of foods during this time, but not all foods and drinks are considered to be safe: Soft cheeses, raw fish, and cured meat are all best avoided during this time, and the days of gulping down coffee all day long become a thing of the past, too.
But there are also many unexpected things that women may not have even realized they need to change while pregnant for the health and safety of their unborn children. For example, a woman may decide to ditch her heels because her feet are swollen, but even if they aren’t, stilettos are best left in the wardrobe because as a baby bump grows, a woman’s center of gravity changes with it, and she can become unsteady on her feet. Below are 20 things that women should give up when she's pregnant.
20 Pregnant Women Need To Be Careful Not To Work Out Too Much
One of the things that women are told to do when they are pregnant is to go easy on their workouts because there are some exercises which are considered to be dangerous while pregnant.
According to WebMD, women who were exercising before their pregnancy still need to check with their medical professional if it’s safe to keep their same routine, but contact sports should be avoided because these have a risk of being knocked in the stomach. The publication also notes that activities with too much heat, bouncing, or jarring, and activities that require a lot of balance (like skiing) are best to avoid to keep the baby safe.
19 Your Growing Baby Bump Affects Gravity, So Let The Stilettos Stay In The Wardrobe
Stilettos may make women feel glamorous, but they may have to be left to gather dust in your wardrobe for a few months while pregnant. The reason being that when you’re pregnant, you don’t have the same great balance as once had because as your bump grows your center of gravity changes, Healthline notes.
The publication recommends avoiding anything with a heel of more than 3 inches so that means ditching the stilettos and instead of wearing kitten heels. Or if your feet are really swollen, perhaps it’s best to avoid heels altogether and walk around in flat, comfortable shoes.
18 Stick To Whole Foods Instead Of Takeaways Packed With Sugar And Lipids
During pregnancy, a woman needs certain vitamins and minerals, and now, more than ever, it is important to focus on what you’re eating. There are going to be days when pregnant women are really craving something greasy, or perhaps a delicious fried dessert, but eating junk food shouldn’t become a habit because these foods are often devoid of nutrition, yet packed with calories.
Global News spoke to Dr. Joshua Klein, a reproductive endocrinologist, who said that it’s best to stay away from junk food, and foods with “empty calories” which include soda, fried food, and pastries. Instead, women should eat whole foods.
17 Heavy Lifting Can Be Dangerous During Pregnancy, So Get Someone Else To Help Out
Do you have a heavy box of cutlery that needs to be moved? Well, if you’re pregnant the general rule of thumb is if you need to lift something heavy it’s best to leave this task to family and friends. The reason is that your changing body no longer allows you to do the same things that you could have done before pregnancy.
According to Am. Pregnancy, women who could be at risk for premature labor should stop lifting heavy things as early as after the first trimester. The publication notes that heavy lifting for some women could result in low birth weight and premature labor, as well as a pulled muscle.
16 Gone Are The Days Of Drinking Multiple Coffees Because Caffeine Should Be Limited
There may be nothing better than a cup of coffee in the morning (or who are we kidding, multiple cups of coffee) and you probably don't think twice about heading to the local coffee shop or putting on the kettle, but when pregnant, women have to track their consumption of caffeine.
Caffeine is not just found in coffee, but also tea, soda, and even some chocolates, and according to Tommy's, high consumption of caffeine has been linked to loss and low birth weight. So, how much caffeine is considered safe? It is recommended not to eat more than 200mg a day during pregnancy.
15 Say No To Vitamin A Supplements And Enriched Food (It Could Harm Your Baby)
Pregnant women pay a lot of attention to their eating habits to ensure that it’s healthy and balanced, this means they may want to take vitamins and supplements to ensure they are getting all the minerals they need, but some could be harmful.
High levels of Vitamin A could potentially harm your unborn baby, and for this reason, Tommy's suggests avoiding foods that contain Vitamin A, including foods made using liver, like liver pâté. The same applies to foods that are enriched with Vitamin A.
The publication also notes that it’s not safe to take multivitamins that contain Vitamin A or fish liver oils.
14 The Risk Is Low, But Cured Meat Could Carry A Parasitic Risk
There are many things that are best left avoided when pregnant, including what you can and cannot safely eat and drink. Although there are certain foods that only carry a low risk of harm to mother and baby, it’s always best to be on the safe side, and for this reason, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid cured meat because it could carry a parasitic risk.
According to Tommy's, cured meats like chorizo, Parma ham and salami are unlikely to pose a risk, but eating raw meat does present the possibility of toxoplasmosis, which can harm the baby. To be cautious, it’s best to avoid these products.
13 It's Time To Sit Down And Let Someone Else Take Care Of The Cleaning Because Fumes Can Be Toxic
When preparing a baby’s nursery, expectant mamas may want to give the room a new coat of paint, but this is probably something that should be avoided. Although most paint fumes are safe for use, even during pregnancy, according to Pregnancy Birth & Baby, there is an increased risk when using solvent-based paints. Also, care should be taken when stripping lead-based paints (which may be found in older houses) because high levels of lead can harm the baby.
But it's not just painting that has an elevated risk, but also the use of normal household cleaning products because some are toxic. The publication notes that pregnant women should wear gloves and refrain from breathing in fumes.
12 Soft Cheeses Could Pose A Health Risk To Mama And Baby
Maybe you love a good brie or camembert with crackers and it provides the perfect snack in the mid-afternoon, but certain cheeses, especially soft cheeses, could contain listeria, and it’s for this reason that they are off-limits during pregnancy. According to the NHS, pregnant women are at a higher risk of contracting listeria because of the body’s hormonal changes, which can cause a weakened immune system.
According to Global News, “Pregnant women should stop eating soft and unpasteurized cheeses,” as the publication notes that these could cause an infection from bacteria that cannot only make the pregnant woman sick but could also affect the health of the baby.
11 Sushi (And Raw Fish In General) Is A Big No-No
There are few foods as delicious as sushi, but for nine long months, expectant mothers may want to say goodbye to raw fish because of the risks associated with it. According to the NHS, although some sushi is usually safe to eat, it depends on the fish that the sushi is made from, and salmon, for example, could have small parasitic worms which can make you sick — Parents states that apart from cooked items, sushi is not safe.
Although it is unlikely that the fish used in sushi would contain these worms, fish that does contain these parasites results in an infection called anisakidosis which can have unpleasant and painful symptoms and could in rare cases even be very dangerous.
10 Skip Juice At Farmers Markets Because It Could Be Unpasteurized
Farmer’s markets are a great way to spend a Saturday morning and can be a really fun activity to do with family and friends, but those juices that you once guzzled may be best avoided now. We don’t really think of juice as posing a risk during pregnancy, but according to Parents, unpasteurized juice (which is often sold at farm stands) could be potentially harmful.
The process of pasteurization removes bacteria and toxins, and much of the products we buy in the local supermarket have undergone this process (although it’s always advised to read the nutritional labels beforehand).
9 Swimming Is Fun, But Diving And Jumping Into The Water Could Be Risky
Swimming can still be safely done when pregnant, but jumping and diving into the pool could be risky. It may seem boring, but carefully lowering yourself into the water is a far better option when taking a swim, and according to Parents, “Any type of sport or pastime that involves a large jolt to the uterus is dangerous and not recommended at any point during pregnancy.”
The publication notes that the risk is that part of the placenta will detach from the wall of the uterus, and the risk increases during the second and third trimesters because both the placenta and the uterus are a bigger size.
8 Undercooked Eggs (Including Some Salad Dressings) Are Best Avoided
Scrambled eggs that are not well-done, as well as poached eggs, and even some sauces that contain the use of eggs, like hollandaise and some Caesar salad dressings, should be avoided during pregnancy because according to Global News, raw eggs present the risk of Salmonella.
According to Parents, Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause fever as well as diarrhea and vomiting, and food that uses undercooked egg whites or egg yolk could increase the risk of Salmonella. "If eggs are cooked, the risk is gone," maternal child health and nutrition extension specialist Madeleine Sigman-Grant, Ph.D. told the publication.
7 A Trip To Disneyland Is Always Great, But Some Of The Rides Are Off Limits
Disneyland may be considered one of the happiest places on earth, but it may not be as joyous when you can’t go on half the rides because of your growing baby bump. According to What To Expect, even early on in a pregnancy women need to be careful which rides they go on, and although roller coasters and similar super fast, gravity-defying rides have not been proven to harm a baby, there has also been no evidence to suggest they don’t, the publication notes. In any case, it would be smart to avoid jarring motions and anything that could put pressure on the abdomen.
The reason for this is the risk of placental abruption.
6 You May Have To Limit Your Consumption Of Sweets, Specifically Licorice
Pregnant women experience a wide range of different cravings, and if licorice is one of your favorites then this point may upset you because consumption of licorice is one of the things that should be limited during pregnancy. According to LiveScience, a study from Finland, published in the Journal of Epidemiology, has found that eating too much black licorice could affect a baby’s brain. The results concluded that compared to mother’s who ate little to no licorice, mothers who ate a lot of it had children with lower IQs.
The study also stated that girls born to mothers who ate a lot of licorice reached puberty faster than those who didn’t.
5 As Always, Remember To Wash Your Fruit And Vegetables Before Consumption
A common health mistake many of us make is forgetting to wash fruit and vegetables before consumption, and when pregnant it’s even more important to remember to do this. According to Mother & Baby, unwashed products can cause the risk of infections like toxoplasmosis, as Dr. Critchley explained to the publication: "After a busy day at work we may be more inclined not to wash our fruit and vegetables. However, traces of soil can increase your risk of infection such as toxoplasmosis, so make sure you take extra care in washing your greens through with a colander."
Healthline notes that contamination of these products can happen during any time from production to retail, and many people infected with Toxoplasmosis have no symptoms. Babies who contract the parasite while still in the womb may not show any signs at birth but could later in life.
4 We Know You Love Your Cat, But You Need To Get Someone Else To Change Its Litter
Another thing that can cause a potential risk of Toxoplasmosis is your beloved cat, or rather their poop. When pregnant it is important to do as much as possible to avoid the contraction of toxoplasmosis, and although it’s unlikely, there is the possibility of contracting the parasite from your cat’s litter, and if this happens for the first time a few months before your pregnancy, or during your pregnancy, according to the NHS, it could cause problems or loss, and pass on harm to the unborn baby.
Ways to avoid contraction through litter would obviously be to get someone else to change the litter for you, but if this is not an option, then gloves should be used and litter changed daily. Pregnant women should also wash their hands thoroughly with very warm water, NHS reports.
3 Speak To Your Doctor About The Meds That You Can And Cannot Take Because Many Need To Be Given Up
There are some meds that are not safe during pregnancy, and something as simple as reaching for a pain pill for a headache needs to be evaluated carefully because as Healthline reports, they could harm your baby during pregnancy. Over-the-counter meds should be discussed with a doctor first to make sure what you can and cannot take.
WebMD elaborates on this point, noting that there are no meds that can be considered 100 percent safe during pregnancy. The publication also stresses the importance of speaking to a doctor beforehand, even if alternative meds or supplements have been labeled as natural.
2 Be Wary Of Elevated Temperatures During The First Trimester (Like Saunas And Spa Tubs)
At this point, it might seem like everything you love has to be eliminated during pregnancy and something that you may really miss during is spa tubs. According to Healthline, as much as you may want to have a nice relaxing soak in a tub, especially if your muscles are sore, skip spa tubs!
During the first trimester, elevated temperatures like spa tubs or saunas are particularly dangerous and could cause birth defects. A spa tub, the publication notes, usually have a water temperature of around 104°F, (so should be avoided during pregnancy), whereas a warm bath with a much lower temp is a safer option.
1 Don’t Get An Abdomen Massage In The First Three Months
Prenatal massage therapy is often popular amongst pregnant women, and Am. Pregnancy notes that potential benefits can be reduced back pain, reduced joint pain, improved circulation, and reduced stress and anxiety, among other things.
But according to Pregnancy Birth & Baby, yet another thing to add to the long list of things to avoid during pregnancy is a massage on the abdomen during the first three months of pregnancy. The reason, according to the publication, is that this time period is considered to be unsafe. According to The Bump, the worry is that if the massage therapist is not trained in prenatal care then it could cause stress and harm to the baby.