The riskiest time during pregnancy is the first trimester. This is the period where all those pregnancy rules should be followed to the letter. The first trimester is when the baby develops both physically and mentally. Whatever a woman puts into her system or does, will impact either positively or negatively on the baby in her womb. As soon as a woman realizes she is pregnant, the first thing she needs to do is to make an appointment with her OBGYN. It is during her prenatal appointments that she will be told what she needs to do to ensure that she has a healthy pregnancy.
Pregnancy comes with many surprises and more often than not, the pregnant mother feels as if she is unwell, a situation that can be quite devastating. Even mothers who have been through pregnancy are sometimes caught unawares by one symptom or another. The doctor will tell the expectant mother whether or not there is cause for concern regarding any symptom she may be having. While some symptoms may be harmless, some symptoms require close attention.
To ensure a woman stays healthy and carries a viable pregnancy and finally has a strong healthy baby with no medical issues, mothers are advised to avoid some hazards, more so in the early weeks of pregnancy.
Getting the flu when a woman is not pregnant is a normal thing that poses no marked threat to the woman. The moment a woman falls pregnant, this assurance goes away because with pregnancy comes a low immunity. The body perceives the pregnancy as an alien invasion, therefore, going into the high alert mode.
According to the CDC, "Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization. Flu also may be harmful to a pregnant woman's developing baby. A common flu symptom is a fever, which may be associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes for a developing baby."
Getting pregnant does not mean that a woman should no longer wear makeup or that her beauty regimen should change drastically. Pregnant women can still slay but the caution is to avoid beauty products that are laced with formaldehyde, often in skin lighteners.
According to Byrdie, "Studies have shown that as much as 45% of this medication is absorbed into the skin after topical application, and while no studies have yet been conducted on the effect of hydroquinone on a fetus, there is just too much of the chemical in your bloodstream after use to justify the risk. To prevent brown spots and discoloration during pregnancy—use sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!"
Sometimes a woman gets pregnant while on medication for one ailment or the other. Foregoing these prescription meds sometimes is not an option as the condition may be life-threatening. Some of these meds may be to treat diabetes or high blood pressure and in some cases, some mothers suffer from mental illness that requires them to take meds to remain stable.
All these medications may sometimes pose a threat to the unborn baby. According to the March of Dimes, “Some prescription drugs can cause problems for your baby, including premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects, as well as neonatal abstinence syndrome (also called NAS).”
Having a feline companion is a most rewarding experience for anyone, as these creatures offer comfort and companionship without judgment, something we all need. It has however emerged that changing the litter box is not something that a pregnant woman should do. If she has a cat, it is best that she delegates this task to her partner.
According to Romper, "Cats can carry an organism called toxoplasmosis in their [droppings]. Toxoplasmosis can cause birth defects in a developing fetus if a mother is exposed to it while pregnant." Your neighbour may not have had any negative effects from the same, but your luck may be different.
This seems like something only the scientists can answer. We are often cautioned that if we must drink, we should drink milk. In pregnancy, drinking milk is laudable, but that does not include just any milk. Milk from a cow that is often considered pure can cause harm to the baby.
The daily dose of milk should only be milk that is pasteurized. Even though calcium helps in the baby’s growth, the milk should be pasteurized. This involves heating it to get rid of bacteria that can be very seropis. Raw milk has been known to carry Listeria, which can lead to serious illnesses and conditions.
Prenatal yoga for those who have tried it can be quite refreshing and it offers a person a new perspective on issues, more so for those who are prone to depression. The best time to meditate and commune with nature and the spiritual world is through yoga.
Not only is it relaxing, but it will also help the pregnant woman maintain a healthy amount of weight while making her limber in preparation for labor. Even with the benefits that come with yoga, some poses like Bikram, as well as hot yoga are not advisable for pregnant women and should be avoided.
Sometimes a pregnancy catches us unawares and before it sinks in, we are in our second month of pregnancy. That is when we start to get the things we want to be done before the baby comes in order. Most of us start moving furniture from one room and turning it into a baby nursery. These days, getting a reliable painter or plumber is harder than getting a doctor and even when we do, they are too expensive for comfort. This is where mom decides to do it herself and do the painting. This is a bad idea as paint fumes are harmful to both the mother and the baby in her womb.
Not many people can stomach the taste of tea or coffee without sugar, hence the need for sweeteners. Most of us think sugar is the worst enemy, but it appears artificial sweeteners are worse. Unfortunately, these sweeteners, just like drugs can be quite addictive, making them hard to let go off. The more we take the more we need. During pregnancy, this is one habit that every woman should kick.
According to Parents, “Although the safety of artificial sweeteners, like aspartame and sucralose, is a hot topic, most doctors agree that these are safe during pregnancy when used in moderation, although it's always a good idea to use sugar or other natural sweeteners whenever possible.”
These days most mothers have a kitchen garden where they grow their vegetables or flowers. Moms with a green thumb find it hard to avoid the garden, but it is in their best interest to avoid pesticides.
According to Mothering, a study carried out on the use of pesticides found that in "the majority of births there was no significant impact of pesticide exposure on the birth outcome. However, for pregnant women living in areas with the top 5 percent of exposure, as defined by at least 4,000 kg of pesticide used, premature births rose by 8%, and birth abnormalities increased by 9%.”
Filth is harmful to the developing baby as well as the mother, but so is too much cleaning. While it is not wrong for a pregnant woman to clean the house or even the clothes. It is even advisable as it can be used as a form of exercise, but using some cleaning agents can be harmful.
According to the Baby Centre, “On the whole, it’s safe to use cleaning products during pregnancy, as long as you take a few precautions. There isn't a great deal known about the effects of commonly used cleaning products, so it's best to take extra care when cleaning during pregnancy.”
Sometimes in pregnancy, nothing seems to work and the levels of frustration and fatigue rise as the days go by. There are times when all we need is a massage or a dip in a jacuzzi to soothe all the aches away and relax. While getting into a jacuzzi could be fun, it is not advisable in pregnancy and should be avoided.
According to Health Line, “though relaxing, the high-heat environment of hot tubs, jacuzzis, and saunas may be too dangerous for expecting mothers. In fact, research suggests that using one of these during your first trimester may double your risk of [losing the baby]."
Some of us love take out and we especially love our junk food. We live in a culture where many families do not cook or keep food in the house, preferring instead to order take out. Unfortunately, most of these foods are devoid of nutrients the baby needs to grow and develop well.
According to Health Line, “Deli meats, including hot dogs, sausages, smoked salmon, and other cured meats can cause foodborne illness, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis. Thoroughly cooking these processed proteins well reduce your risk. It’s also important to eat pasteurized (not raw) milk and cheese. Always wash produce to help eliminate harmful bacteria.”
Staying hydrated during pregnancy is the number one rule doctors gives a pregnant woman when she visits his office. For those who cannot stomach the water or who do not have a habit of drinking water, it is advisable to carry a water bottle and sip from it from time to time. This water should, however, not come straight from the tap.
According to What to Expect, “One of the most serious toxins, lead gets into tap water when leading pipes that bring water to your neighborhood or that are in your home corrode, leaching lead into the water. Lead exposure during pregnancy has been associated with [serious issues].”
Most of us cannot function without a cup of coffee and we have become so dependent on it that even in pregnancy, quitting the vice becomes an uphill task. While before, we were told to go cold turkey as far as coffee is concerned, research now shows that it is safe to take one or two cups of coffee in a day.
This means that while one can take just enough to soothe her palate, she cannot down triple shot lattes during pregnancy. Caffeine travels to the baby through the placenta and will cause an increase in the baby's heart rate.
The likes of Kim Kardashian would not allow their surrogate to dye her hair when pregnant. Most of us found this rule rather weird. Although we found out that the amount of dye that is absorbed through the pores during a dye treatment is negligible, there are chances of the dye fumes interfering with the baby's cognitive function.
According to NHS, “Some studies have found that very high doses of the chemicals in hair dyes may cause harm. However, these doses are massive compared with the very low amount of chemicals a woman is exposed to when coloring her hair.” So, although it may be negligible, why risk it for vanity?
This may not be a risk some of us will be exposed to but there are those who find raw food to be a delicacy. However, this delicacy should be avoided during pregnancy, more so in before the tenth-week mark. It is imperative that mothers maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet during pregnancy for the sake of their child. This can sometimes be derailed by strange cravings, most of which should be avoided.
According to American Pregnancy, “Uncooked seafood and rare or undercooked beef or poultry should be avoided because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella.”
Most of us are always a hot mess during pregnancy and it would be unlikely that we would need the use of an electric blanket. There are times, however, when the temperatures drop, necessitating the use of this heat aid. While the research on the harm or otherwise of the rays emitted by the blanket points to no effects.
According to the Baby Center, “If you do use an electric blanket, you'll want to keep yourself from getting overheated. Raising your body temperature to more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous for your developing baby. It's unlikely an electric blanket would heat you up this much, but it's probably best to leave it on a low or medium setting.”
Maintaining that perfect smile during pregnancy may be all one is left with, especially for those of us who feel less than attractive during pregnancy. However, according to Baby Center, “There isn't enough data to tell us for sure whether it's safe, healthcare providers recommend that you wait until after pregnancy and breastfeeding to have your teeth bleached by the dentist or to use over-the-counter teeth bleaching or whitening products.
The carbamide peroxide in these products reacts with water to become hydrogen peroxide. This oxidation process can be harmful to tissues and cells, especially during pregnancy when your gums are more sensitive than usual. We don't know whether this is a risk to you or your baby, so it's best to hold off on using these products.”
How much exercise is too much? This is the age-old question every mother who wants to keep healthy during pregnancy asks herself. Exercise during pregnancy comes with numerous benefits that most mothers would not want to forfeit. Exercise lowers the chances of high blood pressure, diabetes, and even preeclampsia.
Mild exercise will cause no harm to you or the baby and even though one should not go about exercising as if they are not pregnant, according to the Baby Center, If you push yourself too hard, your body will let you know. Fitness experts call this "overtraining," and it's important to avoid, especially during pregnancy.
The effects of substances and alcohol have been highlighted over and over. Not only on the pregnant woman but also on any individual who chooses to indulge. As much as any lifestyle is a choice, the minute a woman learns she is pregnant she should avoid these things. Alcohol greatly impacts the development of the baby with women who drink during pregnancy.
This manifests itself as low birth weight, behavior problems, learning disabilities, and slow milestone achievement. This is not a case of quantity as even small amounts of these drusubstancesgs and alcohol can impact negatively on the child.