Getting pregnant is such an exciting time for both mom and dad. It also marks a time of change and growth (literally). Growing a tiny human comes with a lot of responsibility, but it can be thought about as a great way to prepare mom and dad-to-be for the responsibility that comes with parenting. While moms are dreaming up the nursery theme on their Pinterest boards and using belly cast kits to document their changes, there are some things moms need to keep in mind to keep themselves and their unborn babies safe during pregnancy.
Moms can't wait to meet their new little sweet pea, kiss that sweet button nose, and breathe in that newborn baby smell, but there are some extra precautions they need to take as new mothers to ensure a healthy start to their new life. Some of these actually surprise seasoned moms!
It's super important for expectant mamas to not overextend themselves, ask for help when they need it, and avoid activities and foods that doctors deem unsafe during pregnancy.
From the BFP to the delivery room, we've got moms-to-be covered on what they need to avoid in their own homes. Here are 20 things in the home that become a hazard when a mom is pregnant.
20 Formaldehyde-Containing Beauty Products
Formaldehyde isn't just for high school biology, mama! Believe it or not, the save chemical used to preserve the frog you dissected at the tender age of 16 is actually contained in several of the beauty products you use today. Formaldehyde has been known to cause cancer, and is used as a preservative in many cosmetics.
Evaluate your beauty products for formaldehyde in the ingredient list, but know that it goes by several different aliases: diazolidinyl urea, bronopol, hydroxymethylglycinate, DMDM hydantoin, quaternium-15, imidazolidinyl urea, and 5-bromo-5-nitro-1,3-dioxane.
19 Don't Get Crazy With The Yoga Poses
Prenatal yoga is a wonderful way to exercise safely while you are sporting that big ol' bump that has everyone in your personal space and asking you if you're ready to be a mother. But not all yoga poses are safe for pregnancy, especially for newbie yogi's and those mama's who aren't so limber.
Be sure to refrain from overexerting yourself, hot yoga classes, and head/hand stand poses to reduce your risk of falling. Resting in child's pose is great for when you need to catch your breath between poses.
18 Wait To Paint
If you're anything like us, you probably haven't even started painting your nursery walls a specific color until you get the official 'It's A Boy!' or 'It's A Girl!' from your doctor, which is normally in the second trimester around your 20th week of pregnancy. While painting itself poses a very low risk to you and your pregnancy, the fumes are not ideal to breathe in.
Paint nowadays no longer contains lead like it did before 1978, so thee's little risk to newer homes and projects (like your nursery), but older homes with paint may contain lead. Lead is dangerous for both children and pregnant women, and can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, hypertension (high blood pressure), and premature birth. If you have an older home with paint, consider getting the paint tested by a professional.
For now, hand the paint brush off to dad for now so you can scour Pinterest for nursery theme ideas!
17 Most Prescription Meds Aren't Safe For Baby
Once you become pregnant, all of your current prescriptions will need to be re-evaluated to ensure they are safe to take during pregnancy. Depending on your doctor's opinions and the latest research, you may be required to stop taking certain medications as they may be harmful to your developing baby.
Sometimes, OB's will schedule newer patients for their first appointment between 8-10 weeks of their pregnancy, so be sure to call the nurse prior to your first appointment to ask for clarification on your current meds.
And remember not to take other people's medications that haven't been prescribed to you!
16 Artificial Sweeteners
Eating foods and drinks that contain artificial sweeteners won't necessarily harm your unborn baby quite like other harmful chemicals or additives we've mentioned, but they can impact your diet n an unhealthy way. By filling up on foods with artificial sweeteners, your diet will be severely lacking the nutrients and vitamins it really needs during pregnancy.
Try to focus more on healthier foods, and fill up on nutrient-dense foods and drinks during your pregnancy. You'll be contributing to a healthy little sweet pea in the end!
15 Go Organic to Avoid Pesticides
Avoiding pesticides (both in your food and your yard) is very important during pregnancy for the dangers it poses to your little one's developing nervous system. But this is very easy to accomplish!
The best way to steer clear of pesticides in your food is by going organic, this way you'll ingest less pesticides with organic fruits and vegetables. If you can't afford organic foods, try to avoid the 12 non-organic foods that contain the highest levels of pesticides: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, and bell peppers.
When it comes to your garden and yard, have your partner spray the weed killer for you as well so you can avoid the extra exposure.
14 Nest With Caution: Avoid Harsh Cleaners
This probably goes without saying, but harsh chemicals are a definite no-go during pregnancy. The urge to use powerful household cleaners while you are growing a tiny human can be strong, particularly while you are nesting. Cleaning your home is okay, but there are some extra precautions you'll need to take, and some common cleaners you should avoid while getting ready for baby.
Oven cleaner is the most serious chemical cleaner to avoid because of the harmful fumes it gives off. And always remember to avoid mixing ammonia and bleach to avoid the release of chlorine vapors.
You can still use bleach and other cleaners, as long as you ventilate your home properly, and wear gloves.
13 Litter Boxes Need To Be Avoided
If you have kitties in your home while you are sporting that gorgeous baby bump, pass the duty of cleaning out the litter box to your partner. The further you progress in your pregnancy, the more at risk you become of contracting Toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Pregnant mothers who contract the infection can pass it on to their unborn baby, causing stillbirth or lasting neurological damage.
If you find yourself in the position of being the only person able to change the kitty litter box, be sure to wear gloves, clean out the litter box daily, and wash your hands immediately after.
12 Be Careful On The Stairs
If you have stairs in your home, be sure to take extra steps to ensure you don't have an accidental fall. Even if you are running late and are on your way out of the door to an ultrasound appointment to find out the gender of your sweet pea, always take your time on the stairs.
This precaution will serve you well in your second and third trimester, as the risk of miscarriage increases with the chance of a fall.
11 The Jacuzzi Can Wait
Jacuzzi's are for good times! But pregnant mamas need to wait to enjoy these simple pleasures until they give birth and health from giving birth. Because of the higher temperature of the water in a jacuzzi, pregnant women run the risk of developing hyperthermia (increased body temperature). During pregnancy, a omwan's body temperature should not exceed 101 degrees Fahrenheit. It takes only 10-20 minutes in a hot tub to reach a body temperature of 102 degrees. This is true even in the first trimester of pregnancy. Increased body temperature during the first trimester has been linked to birth defects.
Consider taking a hot bath instead! You can control the temperature of the water, and still relax without chancing birth defects.
10 Toddlers Aren't Always Accepting Of The Bump
For the second-time mom with a toddler in the house, announcing your pregnancy to your little one might seem like a really exciting time! Not all toddlers are as excited about another baby as their parents are, however, and can act out.
Shielding your bump from kicks and flailing tantrum arms is also a must, but that comes from normal toddler behavior.
Whether your toddler is excited about your pregnancy or hoping it's not too late to change your mind and let them remain a single child forever, try to involve them in the process as much as possible so they feel included. You can even encourage them to talk to your belly and let them know the baby can hear them!
9 Avoid Unpasteurized Milk Or Juice
Speaking of all natural food items, if you have any unpasteurized milk or juice in your fridge, you'll need to toss it out for the time being. Milk and juice naturally contains disease-carrying microbes, including Listeria. Pregnant mamas are much more susceptible to the effects of Listeria, with a serious risk of miscarriage to mention.
But not to worry, the milk in your fridge is most likely already pasteurized (or heated to a very high temperature) and is safe to drink!
8 Take It Easy With Your Home Gym
Exercise during pregnancy is often encouraged and considered to be pretty healthy for the expecting mom and her little one! Caution should be taken with heavy weights, however, so you can be a safe vessel for your unborn babe.
Jogging, prenatal yoga, brisk walking on the treadmill (if you're familiar with operating one), and even doing the deed are some great exercise options for the pregnant mama to use in lieu of weight lifting and over-exerting yourself.
So for now, just chill with your Bowflex, okay mom?
7 Lunch meats
New pregnant mothers should also steer clear of deli meats and cold cuts during their pregnancy for the risk of Listeria. As we mentioned earlier, Listeria has some pretty drastic side effects to an unborn baby.
During your pregnancy, you should skip the cold sandwiches and stick to ones with cooked meats and cheeses like pulled pork sandwiches, grilled cheese, BLT's, Philly cheesesteaks, and French dip sandwiches.
Try not to fret if you've already eaten some deli meat during your pregnancy - the chances of contracting Listeria these days are very low, especially since the meat industry has begun spraying meat with food additives to prevent the growth of Listeria.
6 Lead in tap water
Just like older paint in your home, your water system may contain high levels of lead. Lead can lead to miscarriage, low birth weight, high blood pressure, and other devastating effects on your little sweet pea.
Testing your tap water for lead is easy, and you can find plenty of kits sold online. If you can't afford to test your water, buying a filtration system for your faucet or drinking bottled water is an excellent alternative to making sure you avoid lead poisoning.
5 Coffee Before Talkie
If you're anything like us, you probably wake up and grumble over to your Keurig with your pregnancy-induced swollen ankles and bed head to pour a sweet cup of 'wake the heck up' to perk up for the day.
But if you are a coffee addict (iced, hot, or cold brew included), you'll want to hold the refills in your Hot Mess Mom mug. Consuming more than 200 mg (or 10 oz. of coffee) per day has been linked to 2x the chance for miscarriage and low birth weight.
4 Highlights Are Okay, But Avoid Full Hair Dying
Dying your hair is a great way to pamper yourself, but there are safe hair coloring choices and not-so-safe choices. While pregnant, it definitely isn't the time to try out that flaming red hairdo you've been wanting, but you can still get some color work done if you like.
Most professionals recommend waiting until after the 12th week of pregnancy, when the second trimester has begun to reduce potential birth defects.
While full head hair dye is not recommended because the dye touches your scalp and then your bloodstream, highlights are a great alternative treatment to receive while pregnant. Highlights do not touch your scalp and are not absorbed into your bloodstream, making them safer.
If you do decide to dye your hair while pregnant, consider speaking with your doctor to get the okay, wait until your second trimester, and be sure to wear gloves and dye your hair in a well-ventilated area.
3 Bug sprays
While you are out at the beach or BBQing this summer, you might notice you are getting more mosquitos bites than your non-pregnant friends. Now that your pregnancy is gaining momentum and your bump is resembling a beautiful, round basketball, you are breathing more and have a higher body temperature than you did before. This increase in breaths, causing a higher release of carbon dioxide, coupled with your body temperature, attracts more mosquitos!
Unfortunately, some ingredients in bug spray aren't considered safe for pregnant mamas. This can be pretty scary to think about considering the Zika virus outbreak in the last few years, but there awesome safer alternatives you can consider like lemon eucalyptus oil, citronella oil, and catnip oil.
2 Electric blankets
Snuggled up with your pregnant belly and an electric blanket while you catch up on Grey's Anatomy and ball your eyes out? Think again! Electric blankets aren't recommended for expecting moms, as comfortable as they may be, because they pose a risk over overheating which can harm your unborn baby. Any temperature over 101 degrees Fahrenheit poses a risk during pregnancy.
A hot (not scalding) bath would be just as relaxing without being dangerous to your sweet growing baby. And maybe with less tears ;).
1 Teeth whiteners
Highlighting your hair is all fine and dandy while you are expecting, but for now you'll need to put away your whitening strips. There aren't enough studies regarding the effects of the ingredients in whitening strips or gel (one of them being peroxide, by the way) on the unborn baby, and there are mixed reccomendations depending on the doctor you see.
It's generally considered unsafe, however, and better to wait until after you've given birth to bust out your trays and bleaching gel.