I Can't Do THAT! - Pregnancy No Nos
Pregnancy is supposed to be this luxurious, glorious, wonderful time. A time of abundance where rules get to go out the window. For the majority of us, that holds true, but there are some hard line no-nos. (Actually, quite few.)
What one should not do during pregnancy is unique to each person, as our pre pregnancy lives will determine a lot of what is safe in your pregnant life. For example, if you were lifting weight before, it is probably safe to continue. If you are a couch potato and aren’t entering the strong woman competition, I wouldn’t start that goal while pregnant. This is just one example of limitations during pregnancy that can differ from person to person. But, there are some universal guidelines that every pregnant woman should follow.
Let’s start with an easy one. Watch your medications. Not only are we honestly overdoing it on pharmaceuticals, but many can be harmful during pregnancy and breastfeeding as they either cross the placenta or are excreted in breast milk. So before taking anything, I would speak to your midwife. This caution also includes medications you can grab over the counter.
Another guideline I hope everyone knows is concerning alcohol. Just no. Don’t drink during pregnancy; it’s that simple. Is it possible a glass of wine or a single beer could be harmless? Sure. But, is it more possible that there are effects? Probably. So my recommendation is to avoid alcohol. It goes from your mouth to your blood to the placenta and umbilical cord, and now your baby is consuming exactly what you just did. Alcohol can have long lasting effects on baby’s brain and other organs. Additionally, it can cause premature birth, miscarriage, fetal alcohol disorders, and stillbirth.
Now that I’ve told you to put your glass of wine down and you’ve tuned me out, let me add some awesome foods that you have to say no to.
Deli meat, for one, you need to avoid during pregnancy. Deli meats can be contaminated with a horrid bug, Listeria. It’s a nasty bacteria which can have bad affects for baby.
Raw meat and shellfish are also a no no. Actually, any uncooked seafood or meat. Sorry sushi lovers or bloody steak eaters. Under cooked beef, seafood, and poultry can be teaming with salmonella and toxoplasmosis, neither of which do you want to get a hold on your body.
Anything high in mercury isn’t good to eat during pregnancy or breastfeeding, either. These include shark & swordfish. Tuna is okay to eat occasionally, but I wouldn’t overdo it. Avoid most smoked seafood as well because of listeria.
Do not eat raw eggs or anything with raw eggs. You have to get crafty here with consideration, because some salad dressings and sauces, and even mayonnaises have raw eggs. All create a risk for salmonella.
Soft cheeses are a risk for listeria so, stay away from feta, Gorgonzola, Camembert, and Brie. Also, some Mexican cheeses, when not made with pasteurized milk, should be avoided. These include queso blanco and fresco.
Speaking of unpasteurized milk, Listeria lurks in unpasteurized dairy. So, be careful if you decide to consume this.
How else can we break your heart?
Kiss Starbucks good bye. That will help your bank account, so that’s a win. Don’t overdo it on caffeine. You wouldn’t want to anyway because caffeine is both a stimulant and a diuretic. This can increase blood pressure, heart rate, and peeing. Also, any caffeine you consume goes straight to your baby. Always consider this when you are eating and drinking – “Would I feed this to my baby?” Well, you are feeding it to them. While you may like the way your body feels after a few cups, your baby’s body doesn’t. Research does show that a small amount of caffeine is okay during pregnancy. About 150-300 mg of caffeine a day is considered acceptable.
Here’s a simple one, and I hope no one is struggling with this because it’s awful for ALL people. Put your cigarettes away! No vaping, cigars, weed, tobacco, etc. is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Not any of it. Additionally, don’t breathe secondhand smoke, as it’s nearly as bad as smoking personally. So, ask everyone around you to just STOP. We know it is linked to cancer, but for baby smoking can cause SIDS, miscarriage, premature delivery, low birth weight, and learning or behavioral issues.
Another good guideline, and we get questions about this all the time, concerns sitting during pregnancy. Don’t sit or stand for long periods of time. If you sit stagnant for too long during pregnancy, you will get edema, or swollen feet, and have issues with your veins. So every hour, move your body.
As you begin nesting and creating honey-do lists, take yourself off of the painting duties. There isn’t enough research out there about exposure to paint and the toxicity levels from paint during pregnancy. I also feel it safe to say that people know, while we are talking about toxicity, ingesting things like bleach or any other dangerous chemical would be hazardous while pregnant, too, just as it would be if not pregnant. Let that be a rule. Dangerous before remains dangerous after.
I would also be weary of hot tubs during pregnancy. I know they are a wonderful place to get romantic and also help those achy backs, but the temperature in the hot tub is just too hot for pregnancy. High temps can affect the brain for baby. Instead, try a warm bath with Epsom salt.
Fashionista moment! So sorry to my runway walkers. Heels really need to be appropriate for walking. Your weight shifts as your belly gets bigger, and a fall during pregnancy wouldn’t be good for you or baby. Pick shoes that add to your comfort and balance during pregnancy.
I always said I would never be an animal lady, but we have a dog now, a Frenchie, who is hysterically funny, and I adore him. I say that because before having a dog, I couldn’t understand why this rule could be a tough one. But now, I do understand. If you have a cat, do not change the litter during pregnancy. Leave that job to someone else. If you absolutely have to do it. wear gloves, and wash your hands. Cat poop can carry a parasite called toxoplasmosis, which can be very harmful to your baby. This rule also applies to gardening, where you may find cat poop. Always wear gloves when gardening.
Lastly, and I think this may be the most important, don’t let anyone tell you what to think, choose, or do during pregnancy. The internet is inundated with falsities and just plain crap. Don’t believe it all. Do you research, and find credible information. Trust yourself. Ask your midwife questions. And then, make a decision.