Every pregnant woman wants the best for her unborn child. In no way would any harm be wished upon this pure life growing inside the womb, but what if harm was being caused and it wasn't even known? Or maybe a certain activity being avoided is actually safer or better for the baby.
There are so many misconceptions and myths when it comes to what can and can’t be done during pregnancy, what is and is not safe. No wonder everyone is confused and arguing over all the different ‘rules’ pregnant women should follow.
Here are the facts and evidence to back it up. This list counts down 20 things that many are unsure if they can do during pregnancy and tells you whether it is or is not safe. To put all those worried pregnant brains to rest.
Of course each pregnancy and woman is different and some may feel that these are safe; but from the research undertaken by professionals this is what was found to be risky for those carrying a child. From wearing heeled shoes to taking medication, this list covers all the blurred lines between what is and isn't safe when carrying a child. Information that is definitely need to know, don't miss it!
20 Getting A Sweat In - Absolutely
Yes of course! Exercising is more than safe to do when pregnant. In fact it is recommended by medical professionals to keep a woman's body healthy and fit for birth. Of course when pregnant, especially later pregnancy, there are certain exercises that would not be suitable, comfortable or even possible so what you do must me altered. But it is definitely safe.
To quote a doctor I spoke to: "Carrying on regular exercise for as long as comfortable throughout pregnancy is vital to the health of both mother and baby. Statistics actually show that pregnant women who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems in later pregnancy and birth. Suggested forms of exercise include walking, yoga, jogging, dancing or even just daily tasks that might get your heart rate going)".
19 Going In A Hot Tub - Big No No
This is quite a well known activity which is unsafe during pregnancy but again for those who do not know, a hot tub is unsafe for an expectant mama. Some people don't understand why as baths are safe, so why wouldn't hot tubs be? But truthfully, hot baths are also dangerous because of the risk of overheating to which hot tubs can be worse as you tend to stay in them longer, again increasing the risk.
Babycenter.com states: "Experts recommend limiting your use of a hot tub or sauna during pregnancy to less than 10 minutes at a time, or forgoing them altogether, especially in the early weeks. Sitting in a hot tub or sauna can raise your body temperature to a level that can be dangerous for your developing baby".
18 Working On That Diet - To An Extent
To an extent, yes dieting while pregnant is safe but it should not be viewed as dieting, just eating healthy and exercising. A balanced healthy diet is what everyone should have, pregnant or not, as it is what your body needs to thrive. Exercising along with a healthy, balanced diet is also crucial to keep your body at its fittest. This kind of ‘dieting’, if you want to call it that, is safe and good for the baby but extreme dieting, for example eating less than what your body needs, is very unsafe. It could cause serious damage to you and your baby.
Babycenter.com states that: "Pregnancy is definitely not the time to go on a weight-loss diet: Restricting your food intake could be potentially hazardous to you and your developing baby. But many plus-size women lose weight naturally through the course of pregnancy".
17 Being In Close Contact With Reptiles - Uh... No!
Everyone knows that changing the cat litter tray is unsafe during pregnancy (due to the harmful chemicals in cat's urine and feces), but what about other animals? Reptiles to be exact. Surprisingly, close contact with these animals can actually be dangerous during pregnancy therefore making it unsafe. Similar to the danger found in cat litter trays it is actually the reptiles waste that can cause harm during pregnancy. Sorry to inform any pregnant reptile owners out there.
Babble.com informs us that: "Snakes, Lizards, Turtles… The APA advises that pets such as lizards, snakes, iguanas, turtles, and other reptiles can pose a risk to your pregnancy and your child after birth. These pets can carry the salmonella bacteria in their feces, and exposure to it can cause complications with your pregnancy".
16 Using An Electric Blanket - No
Similar to the reasons that saunas, hot tubs and hot baths are dangerous, using electric blankets can pose a risk to pregnant women and unborn children, making them unsafe. Overheating is a massive problem in pregnancy and although you may think using an electric blanket may be a good idea as you are keeping yourself warm, the risk of getting too hot, thereby harming the baby, is quite high. Especially if you fall asleep with it on which is dangerous for other reasons such as risk of fire.
Babycenter.com states: "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 or avoid it all together".
15 Having House Plants - Yes
Far more than safe, having house plants is actually recommended as it can have benefits to both, mother and baby during pregnancy and onwards. Having house plants is a lovely thing, pregnant or not. Yes, it's another thing to look after, but it is good for your environment not to mention making your home look even nicer. The purifying qualities of house plants is the reason they are beneficial in pregnancy. There are many studies out there on how having house plants can increase yours and your baby's well-being. Many studies telling exactly what benefits each individual house plant has, if your struggling to decide which one to get.
The information found on Babble.com says: "One of the most cheerful and lovely ways to detoxify and go “green” during pregnancy is to increase the plant life around you. ... The recommendation from NASA is to use about 15 to 18 good-sized houseplants".
14 Drinking Tap Water - Depends Where You Live
Water is a pure, hydrating substance. The best thing to drink when your body is creating and carrying life. Keeping hydrated and drinking plenty of water, pregnant or not, is very important and very safe - majority of the time. But when pregnant, the type of water you drink sometimes has to be selective, meaning drinking water from the tap is potentially unsafe. It may depend on where you are live and how purified your tap water is in your area/home. But if you are unsure, it is definitely best to stick to approved, purified bottled water. As there may be unknown toxins in what is consumed from the tap.
The information found on Babycenter.com states: "Of course, if you know there are contaminants in your drinking water that exceed the legal safety limits, you won't want to drink it, pregnant or not".
13 Getting An X-Ray - Yes
This used to be considered unsafe for pregnant women but as times have changed, more research has been put in and precautions have been taken, so it is not unsafe to have an X-ray when pregnant. The radiation in the x-ray is what was once considered to be dangerous but only because they did not know the affects of it. But now being able to see what happens during an x-ray, it has been proved to be perfectly safe, causing no dangers to mother or baby. If you still feel unsure please ask your doctor.
Mayoclinic.org states that: "It's highly unlikely that a diagnostic X-ray during pregnancy will harm a developing baby. Most X-ray exams — including those of the arms, legs, head, teeth or chest — won't expose your reproductive organs to radiation, and a leaded apron and collar can be worn to block any scattered radiation".
12 Some Much Needed Sunbathing - No
Sunbathing may be considered dangerous and highly unsafe as it can cause potential harm to pregnant women and baby. Most people know that overheating and possibly dehydrating your body at any point in life- but especially when pregnant - is bad and can have horrific and life-threatening consequences- in this case for more than one life. Many pregnant women do think to avoid hot baths and hot showers, steam rooms/saunas and even hot tubs for this exact reason but do you avoid sunbathing when pregnant? It doesn't involve hot water but heat is definitely involved and according to many research studies, you should 100% avoid this in pregnancy.
Although Babycenter.com suggests that: "Just make sure you do not get too hot and that you protect your skin with sunscreen. During pregnancy your skin may be more sensitive, you may burn easier. If this applies to you avoid sunbathing whenever you can".
So maybe planning a sunny holiday is best after baby is born.
11 Dying Your hair - Yes, With Precautions
In most cases this is safe for pregnant women, and in ALL cases it is definitely safe for the baby. No chemicals from any hair dye are capable of getting to the baby. As for the mother the only reason this could be dangerous is that the smell of hair-dye may cause dizziness as you are more sensitive during pregnancy. Also the change in hormones may cause your hair to react strangely to hair dye, perhaps causing quite a bad hair day.
For this Americanpregnancy.org says: "Although fairly limited, most research indicates that chemicals found in both semi-permanent and permanent hair dyes are not highly toxic and safe during pregnancy. In addition, only small amounts of dye are absorbed into the skin leaving little to none being able to reach the fetus".
10 Sleeping On Stomach - Not Always
Again another that is well known and not usually tried during late pregnancy. Sleeping on the stomach is not always safe during late pregnancy. Early pregnancy when the baby is tiny, when it is unable to harm your baby by sleeping on your stomach, but as your body and the baby grows it will quickly become uncomfortable and unsafe for stomach sleeping to occur. However you can sleep face down or on your side.
According to Babble.com: "It is fine as long as it is comfortable. Early in pregnancy, your little one is tucked way down in your uterus in your pelvis" and Babycenter.com then says "It is unlikely you will be able to sleep comfortably on your stomach as your belly grows, but you can sleep face down for as long as it suits you. By mid pregnancy most women are sleeping on their side".
9 Some Heavy Lifting - No
No, heavy lifting is not safe to do when you are pregnant. Of course I am sure you will have to pick up some things when pregnant, sometimes they may be of some significant weight but anything drastically heavy is a definite no. To be more clear and avoid any confusion, carrying a single bag of groceries, maybe even two depending on what your buying- fine. Moving beds, lifting heavy weights, carrying full large boxes and anything similar is a no.
FamilyEducation.com states that: "Heavy lifting is a concern during pregnancy, but the term heavy lifting is hard to define. Generally it is agreed that pregnant women can lift weight up to 25 pounds all day long without any harm. Also occasionally a 50 pound item would be okay. Anything heavier than this would be considered dangerous".
8 Riding A bike - No
Is riding a bike safe during pregnancy? The answer is unfortunately no. Well definitely not for all stages of pregnancy that's for sure. This activity is unsafe from mid-late pregnancy. Most pregnant women wouldn’t dream of undertaking this activity when heavily pregnant due to the difficulty and discomfort but on top of this, unknown to some people, it is very risky and could potentially cause great harm to both pregnant mother and unborn child. A risk no one wants to take. The research I found clearly explains why this is the case when riding a bike late pregnancy.
Parents.com states: "It is a great form of exercise. However, during the third trimester when your center of gravity shifts and you become more clumsy, riding a bike is probably not a great idea secondary to the risk of falling and harming your unborn child".
7 Amusement Park Rides - Absolutely Not!
Most people would be aware of the negative effects of this thrill-seeking activity but not all, so for those people who do not know, here is the answer. No, amusement park and/or fair ground rides are not safe during pregnancy. In early pregnancy you may get away with a slow, soft ride - a children's one perhaps but as you get further along in your pregnancy this is a no. As for intense rides they are always a no as you can get bashed around and it may cause damage or trauma to your unborn child.
Americanpregnancy.org clearly states: "Amusement parks are usually good at identifying rides that pose a risk to pregnant women. The safest course of action is to avoid rides that pose a risk: you can always return to the park and enjoy the rides once you deliver".
6 Diving - Definitely Not
Although swimming is a great and highly effective form of exercise for everyone including pregnant women, diving into the pool when growing a new life inside you is a big no, no. Diving in all forms (including scuba-diving) is definitely very dangerous and unsafe during pregnancy as it has a high risk factor to it. Both fetus and mother could be in danger through taking part in this activity, which most people are unaware of. The danger being because of the immense pressure of the water when someone is diving in, and for scuba-diving the compressed air you breathe in during the experience can be internally damaging to again, both pregnant woman and baby. Damage that is obviously not wanted. The research done clearly shows why this is the case when it comes to diving during pregnancy.
Diversnetwork.org states: "Diving during pregnancy increases risk of harm to fetus... avoid diving during pregnancy".
5 Taking Meds - Not Always
Taking certain types of medication during pregnancy can vary in safety, meaning that not all medication is safe to take during pregnancy. Something all moms-to-be and women in general should be made aware of. Medication prescribed to you by a doctor or other medical professional who knows you are pregnant and has access to your medical history is of course safe and you can proceed to take it without worry, but over the counter medication is what you must be wary of. For example many cold/flu medicines you can take that are over the counter that are perfectly safe when not pregnant. But when pregnant however these "helpful" medications can contain harmful chemicals to a fetus and pregnant woman. Something you need to look out for.
Consumerreports.org says some of the medications to avoid are "Ibuprofen, Castor Oil, Naproxen.." as they are dangerous. Don't forget to check the back of any medication you take for these.
4 Wearing Stilettos - Best Avoid Them
Sorry to the moms-to-be who love their high heeled shoes or boots, you will have to channel down your inner Kim K as stilettos are a big no, no during pregnancy and are very unsafe. Pregnancy can be uncomfortable enough, most women wouldn't want to be wearing heels on top of carrying a baby around in their body. It just makes things more difficult even to the most skilled heel walker. High heels are never good for your back/posture even when not carrying a child within you, but during pregnancy especially in the later weeks it would be even more harmful.
The information on Babycenter.com states: "During pregnancy, your body releases the hormone relaxin to loosen the tissues that keep your joints stable (ligaments). ... You may also feel more clumsy while you're pregnant. It's common to feel dizzy sometimes, so being in high heels may not be the safest way to get around!"
3 Standing For Long Periods Of Time - No
These next two seem to contradict each other a bit but they will be explained I promise. Standing is obviously safe and unavoidable, you may be pregnant but you have to move around of course. Resting isn't always an option especially for those pregnant women who have a demanding job or have had children before. Both these lifestyles would be constantly keeping you on your feet. But despite this all pregnant women should realize that standing for long periods of time can be unsafe for them and their unborn babies. Standing for long periods of time could cause multiple different problems for baby as well as making the mother feel tired and dizzy with an increaserisk of fainting or falling.
When reading an article on Livescience.com, it was found that: "Standing and working for long hours during pregnancy may slow the baby's growth and compromise blood flow".
2 Sitting For Long Periods Of Time - No
Along with standing for a long period of time being unsafe, pro-longed sitting can be just as dangerous. This is where the information sounds contradictory, but I promise you it makes perfect sense once explained. It is best for the unborn baby and pregnant mom to get the balance right, getting enough rest but also enough motion. Sitting for long periods of time can mean you are not keeping your circulation going and raising the risk of harm to both mother and baby. This can continue after baby is born, especially for mothers who had their baby from cesarean section as they cannot move as much when healing (if this is the case for you, you will be given all the information needed by your doctor).
Livescience.com also states that: "Sitting for prolonged periods may increase the risk of blood clots".
1 Eating Hot Dogs - Nope
This one many pregnant women may be unaware of, the oh so common food source of hot dogs can be unsafe to moms-to-be and their growing baby, inciting some danger. Hot dogs can be harmful as they contain by-products of other meats (chicken, pork, beef and more) and it is unknown what other chemicals or harmful products are in them. Risk of food poisoning is highly increased, which similarly the case for some other processed food too. You really have to be careful what you eat during pregnancy because if you get ill it is likely the baby will get ill too and no one wants that.
"Also known as frankfurters or wieners, hot dogs are cured meat made from pork, beef or poultry byproducts. Women are cautioned against consuming ready-to-eat foods such as cold cuts, soft cheeses and hot dogs during pregnancy because of the possibility of consuming harmful bacteria", states Livestrong.com.
Sources: Babycenter.com, Babble.com, Livestrong.com, AmericanPregnancy.org