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Pregnancy Lifestyle Don'ts

Katlyn Joy |22, July 2011


You've found out it's true; you're going to be a mother and now your mind is jumbled with thoughts of changes you need to make. Where do you start and what's truly important for to avoid or start in order to give baby the best beginning?

No more alcohol

Forget the margarita over lunch at the Mexican restaurant, unless it's virgin. No safe limits exist for alcohol and the pregnant woman. No, don't stress over that brew you had at the barbeque but now that you know your pregnant, there is no drinking for the next several months.

Why? Alcohol is a known teratogen or a substance that causes birth defects. Some 40,000 babies are born each year in the US with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. FASD can cause physical, mental and neurobehavioral disorders.

Cut the nicotine habit

Smoking is not an activity that a woman does alone. When she smokes, so does her baby as the nicotine, carbon monoxide and other poisons crosses into the placenta and affects the baby. While quitting is a stressful thing, and stress is not good for baby or mother, smoking is more harmful so get some support and help, as well as advice from your doctor on how to quit now.

Why? Smoking accounts for nearly a third of all low birth weight babies, up to 14 percent of preterm births and 10 percent of infant deaths.Smoking leads to breathing difficulties, learning disabilities and growth problems.

Drop all drugs not OK'd by your doctor

This includes illegal substances, herbal preparations, over the counter meds and even your regular prescription medications that are not specifically approved for use while pregnant by your physician. Sometimes the most mild or seemingless substances can be dangerous to your baby. Things like aspirin, some herbs or supplements or even your acne medication can hurt the growing fetus.

Why? Recreational drugs can cause preterm labor, birth defects or even cause a miscarriage. Over the counter medications or herbal remedies can do similar damage. If you have an illness, medical issue or condition consult with your doctor before taking anything. If you have a problem with drugs, get help. Substance abuse or addiction in pregnancy can be, and should be, treated immediately and never ignored or suffered in silence.

Skip the sauna, hot tub and tanning

While a warm bath is relaxing and not a problem for pregnant women, saunas and hot tubs may elevate the body temperature to dangerous levels. Tanning, whether in a tanning bed or or poolside, is not a good idea. Opt for a natural safe skin shade or a self-tanning preparation.

Why? A raised body temperature may lead to birth defects, particularly those of the spine. UV rays may also affect folic acid levels, and folic acid is important in preventing neural tube defects.Also, during pregnancy the skin is more susceptible to problems like splotches or rashes and sun exposure will worsen this.

Keep your feet on the ground and protect that tummy

Exercise and play throughout your pregnancy, but make sure you participate in activities that will not have the potential to cause falls, bumps to the belly, or any other injury. For instance scuba diving, high altitude climbing, or horseback riding are pretty much off limits. Other obvious no-nos would also include boxing, skiing and weight lifting. Jarring amusement park rides are likewise prohibited.

Why? Any falls that are particularly hard may have the potential to cause a miscarriage, and blows to the abdomen could do the same. Jarring or jostling that is intense has the possibility of causing the placenta to separate from the uterus.

Avoid piercings and tattoos

Pregnancy is not the best time to get new ink or to make additional holes in your body. Don't worry about removing present piercings unless they become troublesome during the pregnancy, but don't get new ones either. It's just not the best time with all the many changes in your body. Tattoos are also not the best idea while expecting.

Why? Piercings can lead to infection and that's not a risk worth taking while expecting. Tattoos are more of a mystery, but there is a question about the safety for baby especially in the first several weeks in regards to dyes. Also there is a small risk of infection with potentially serious illnesses such as hepatitis or HIV.

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