As soon as mom realizes she is pregnant, she needs to take extra care of herself and the baby growing inside her. The human body's most vital organs develop within the first trimester but mature throughout the pregnancy. However, some organs take time to mature and will only reach full maturity after the birth of the baby and beyond.
Most foods and drinks can pass through the placenta and get into the unborn baby’s system regardless of how tiny they are. Therefore, new moms should focus on eating healthy foods rich in nutrients that will aid in the development of a healthy baby throughout the pregnancy. They should eat all their meals, snack in between, and drink plenty of healthy fluids. Mom should try her best to avoid any contaminated food (but hey, we understand how cravings work!).
Mom can also absorb some harmful things through inhalation or through the skin, so she should avoid places she suspects to have such an atmosphere. Although pregnancy can disrupt a mom’s normal way of life, it is only for a short while. However, it also gives mom an opportunity to clean her palate and adopt good habits.
Clearly, the first month of pregnancy is very crucial for the developing baby and moms should be careful about what they put in their mouths or encounter, as it can get to the baby. Therefore, moms should also refrain from the following:
20 Delaying Their Visit To The Doctor
Most women call their doctor and book an appointment the minute they find out that they are pregnant. However, a few are guilty of putting it off for a while. This could have a negative impact on the baby especially if things are not okay with mom, as revealed by thebump.com.
Some moms may have pre-existing conditions, medical histories, or may be on meds that can harm the baby. Going for that first doctor’s appointment is necessary. The doctor normally reviews the mother’s medical history and starts her on prenatal care, which is extremely crucial in the first month of pregnancy.
19 Waiting Too Long To Take Prenatal Vitamins...
Prenatal vitamins are important during that first month because they give mom extra amounts of three key nutrients, folic acid, calcium, and iron. Many new moms are often guilty of waiting too long to start taking their vitamins. As stated by WebMD, even if mom is super healthy she needs these prenatal vitamins.
Waiting too long can affect the baby forever, a deficiency of folic acid, for example, leads to serious birth defects like anencephaly and spina bifida. Calcium helps with bone and teeth development while iron helps the mother’s ability to deliver oxygen to the baby. Women planning to get pregnant should start taking folic acid beforehand.
18 ... And Then Overdoing It On Prenatal Vitamins
While prenatal vitamins are essential in the first months of pregnancy, some new moms are guilty of overdosing on them. This means that they take more than the required amount, which also has adverse effects on the baby. Taking an overdose of vitamins can lead to birth defects and increase the toxic effects on the unborn baby’s central nervous system as stated by American Pregnancy.
Moms should only take the amounts recommended by their doctors and avoid adding any over-the-counter meds, which increase their chances of overdosing. If moms want to add more vitamins to their bodies, the safest way to do so is by eating healthy foods with those vitamins that they want.
17 Using Artificial Sweeteners
Some moms are often guilty of using artificial sweeteners in their morning cup of tea or coffee. Generally, most sweeteners are safe to use in moderation while pregnant but moms should avoid others that contain ingredients such as aspartame, which can cause a condition known as phenylketonuria (PKU). Moms with this condition cannot break down aspartame.
Aspartame has a strong connection to birth defects in unborn babies but according to kidshealth.com, new research shows that it is safe to use while pregnant. Some artificial sweeteners like cyclamate cause bladder cancer. To be on the safe side expectant moms should avoid using sweeteners all together or on a frequent basis.
16 Visiting Dangerous Places
Moms need to be particularly mindful of the places they visit when pregnant. Exposure to high levels of lead, hazardous chemicals, and radiations can lead to consequences no parents want to deal with. These include birth defects, developmental delays, seizures, and intellectual disabilities in unborn babies.
According to whattoexpect.com, moms whose jobs require operating heavy and dangerous machinery or chemicals such as pesticides should talk to their bosses about changing their position as soon as they find out they are pregnant. If moms are not sure what chemicals they came across at their workplace, their employers have an obligation to tell them and find them safer alternatives.
15 Getting Into A Sauna Or Jacuzzi
A few moms are guilty of treating themselves to saunas and steam baths or steam rooms while pregnant. These treats may sound relaxing but they have negative impacts on the unborn baby. According to American Pregnancy, such high temperatures cause the mother's body to overheat; they are also not able to lose heat effectively through sweating.
A rise in body temperature can be harmful to a baby particularly in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy where the baby is at an increased risk of developing birth defects. Moms should avoid any place that can cause their body temperatures to rise. Instead, they can relax by taking a warm bath, getting a massage or practicing breathing exercises.
14 Handling Cat Litter
Moms who keep cats are often guilty of handling cat litter while pregnant. As stated by nhs.com, this can be dangerous to the unborn baby because cat litter or soil containing it are dangerous. The litter normally carry a parasite known as Toxoplasma Gondii thus exposing the mother to an infection known as toxoplasmosis.
Getting toxoplasmosis in the first month of pregnancy can cause birth defects like blindness and brain complications in the unborn baby. Pregnant moms should avoid handling cat litter trays and if they encounter any, they should wash their hands thoroughly. This parasite can also be found in soil so pregnant moms should wear gloves when gardening.
13 Giving In To All Cravings
A good number of new moms are often guilty of giving in to all their cravings once pregnant. Doing this may seem logical to them because after all, it is the baby asking for the particular food and not them. What they do not know is that these foods do more harm than good.
The more moms give in to their cravings, the more pounds they are likely to gain. Moms not only crave foodstuff; some crave non-food items like charcoal, soil, and the like. This condition is called pica and it has a strong connection to nutritional deficiencies, as stated by verywellfamily.com.
12 Stressing Out (The Baby Can Feel It)
Too much stress and anxiety during month one of pregnancy can have a life-long impact on the baby’s health. Low levels of stress during pregnancy are acceptable, but constant stress can have lasting effects on both the mother and the growing baby.
When a mother is under a lot of stress, her body produces stress hormones, which can travel to the baby through the umbilical cord. They alter the baby’s stress management system and cause further complications like preterm birth and low birth pounds, as revealed by parents.com. Stressed moms should try relaxing activities like prenatal yoga and walks as well as deep breathing to clear their minds.
11 Sacrificing Sleep
Moms are often guilty of sacrificing sleep while pregnant. This can have a lifelong impact on the baby. Moms need to know that pregnancy is no time for play, the hormonal and physical changes taking place in their bodies demand more rest and sleep.
As stated by verywellhealth.com, insufficient sleep can reduce the number of growth hormones released leading to developmental problems in an unborn baby. Lack of sleep can also disrupt the supply of nutrients, plasma flow, and oxygen to the baby, which can be quite dangerous. Moms should ensure they have at least eight hours of sleep and take naps whenever possible.
10 Resting Too Much (Yes, That's A Thing)
Moms are often guilty of using pregnancy as the perfect excuse to lay in bed longer than is needed. Excessive rest is not good for the pregnancy. It is similar to oversleeping, which is also not good for pregnancy, it tends to make the body crave more sleep.
Too much sleep during the first trimester can increase the risk for developing preeclampsia; in fact, according to preeclampsia.com, mom is twice as likely to get it if she lies down too much. This condition causes malnutrition due to a reduction of plasma flow to the unborn baby and premature births. Unless told otherwise by the doctor, moms should stay active as much as possible while pregnant.
9 Not Cutting Down On Caffeine
Some mothers are not too keen on cutting down their normal coffee intake even after finding out that they are pregnant. Drinking too much caffeine—especially in the first month of pregnancy—can cause the baby to be born with a low birth size, as stated by American Pregnancy.
Babies born with low birth pounds are at the risk of developing complications like breathing issues and gastrointestinal problems. Pregnant women should only have about 200mg of coffee a day. When moms take in excess caffeine it can cross through the placenta and get to the baby causing sleep disruptions. Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolates.
8 Skipping Meals
While moms are probably aware that what they eat affects the baby’s development in the womb, many of them are still guilty of skipping a meal or two. According to thebump.com, pregnant women are supposed to eat three small meals and two snacks in intervals of three to four hours.
The baby’s organs, which develop during the first month of pregnancy, require certain vitamins and minerals to develop correctly. If moms skip meals on a regular basis, their unborn babies can develop growth issues and malnutrition while moms risk having premature labor. Taking all meals ensures the best possible pregnancy outcome. Moms can do this by scheduling eating breaks throughout the day.
7 Not Drinking Enough Water
A number of new moms are guilty of not drinking enough water in their first month of pregnancy and this can have a negative impact on the baby forever. According to American Pregnancy, dehydration during pregnancy causes serious complications like neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, and even premature labor.
Pregnant women need more water than the average person does. This water is instrumental in the creation of the placenta, an organ used to provide oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby as well as to remove waste. In addition, moms can alleviate morning sickness a bit by drinking enough water. Moms should drink even more water when exercising.
6 Not Telling Their Doctors About Their Severe Morning Sickness
Most new moms are aware that morning sickness is one of the first sign of pregnancy. What they might be guilty of, is not telling their doctors about the severity of their morning sickness and this could have a life-long impact on the baby.
Some women have a reputation of experiencing severe morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Moms with HG cannot keep anything down and usually have nausea that does not subside. This can cause dehydration, which is not good for the baby as pointed out by American Pregnancy. Sometimes HG can be so severe that hospitalization is required. Moms receive IVs to restore hydration and/or meds.
5 Not Cutting Back On Physical Activities
Experts encourage moms to engage in exercises during pregnancy. However, moms who are guilty of not cutting back on the intense workout once they find out they are pregnant are sure to be doing more harm than good. Pregnancies can be delicate and any vigorous exercise can have long-term effects on the baby.
According to WebMD, strenuous physical activities affect the fetus because the body directs more resources to the mother’s muscles and ligament instead of the growing fetus. However, this does not mean moms should sit on the couch all day when they are pregnant. Mild exercises such as prenatal yoga, walking, biking, and swimming are safe for pregnant women.
4 Indulging In Certain Foods
It can be tempting for moms to continue eating some of their favorite meals while pregnant. Some are often guilty of indulging in raw seafood or undercooked meats while pregnant. These foods are dangerous to the unborn baby because listeria can contaminate them.
Listeria infections are especially harmful to pregnant women. According to American Pregnancy, listeria can get to the baby and cause lifelong infections of the plasma and brain. If detected early and to avoid infecting the baby, doctors can treat moms using antibiotics. Pregnant women should always eat well-cooked meats and avoid any raw seafood or foods made from unpasteurized dairy products.
3 Eating Unhealthy
New moms are often guilty of eating unhealthy meals during their first month of pregnancy and this may have an impact on the little ones forever. Unhealthy eating can put the baby at risk of developing long-term irreversible issues like obesity, high hyperglycemia, and genetic abnormalities, as pointed out by momjunction.com.
Pregnancy is the time when moms need to be cautious about what they eat and unhealthy foods especially fast foods should be at the bottom of their list. Instead, they should make more effort to eat vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, plant protein, and fruits. Eating these also ensure that the babies get the nutrients they require to grow.
2 Not Quitting Some Bad Habits
Some new moms are guilty of drinking while pregnant. These drinks are harmful to a growing baby especially during that first month of life. According to Harvard, the baby can develop long term and irreversible conditions. Other problems that can arise include seizures, developmental delays, lack of coordination, and kidney problems.
Moms should not drink when pregnant. If a woman suspects that she is pregnant, she should avoid these drinks at all costs until she confirms otherwise. If she happens to have taken a little before she discovered she was pregnant she may not have caused harm to the baby, however, she should avoid further consumption.
1 Exposing Baby To Certain Diseases
Some expectant moms are guilty of exposing their unborn babies to diseases that they've gotten from a partner. Contracting such diseases are dangerous to the growing baby as he or she can get serious infections because of the diseases while in the womb or during birth. Some new moms stop protecting themselves in every way once they discover they are pregnant but what they forget is that protection does not prevent pregnancy alone, it also protects against diseases.
These harmful conditions pose a serious health risk to the mother and the baby. Some do not have cures and once they get to the baby, they have to live with them forever. However, doctors can treat many diseases and prevent them from getting to the baby, as pointed out by WebMD.
Sources: Americanregnancy.org, webmd.com, momjunction.com, parents.com, whattoexpect.com, preeclampsia.org, thebump.com,health.harvard.edu, nhs.uk, verywellfamily.com, kidshealth.org