When you’re pregnant, you’re responsible not just for your own self but also for your unborn child. Therefore, many things and activities that you’re going through or would like to do have to be thought through thoroughly. As far as possible, it is crucial to avoid risks that can harm the baby and complicate or terminate your pregnancy.
As your pregnancy progresses, you should avoid any activity that puts you at risk of falling or increases the chance of trauma to your abdomen and threatens a miscarriage.
Here’s a guideline to ensure that you have a smooth and safe pregnancy!
1. Avoid smoking and stay away from people who do
Smoking is dangerous to both the mother and her baby. Secondhand smoke from smokers who live or work with a pregnant women can also affect the fetus. Exposure to smoke can result in spontaneous abortion, pre-term births, low-weight full-term babies and fetal deaths.
2. Avoid alcohol
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been associated with birth defects like poor growth, mental retardation and learning disabilities.
3. Avoid being stressed
Studies have shown that babies actually experience the emotional environment of the mother. Pre-natal stress suffered by the pregnant mom will “trigger negative messages to the fetus” and will affect the baby later on in his childhood.
4. Avoid exposure to pesticides and cleaning detergents
Pesticides and all these cleaning agents contain various toxic chemicals that can affect your unborn child. Although there are debates about the extent of damage that they can do to the baby, the best solution is to try limiting your exposure to them.
5. Avoid amusement park rides
Dr Sean Daneshmand, a renowned American obstetrician warns expectant mothers not to assume that your baby is well protected just because he is “well-cushioned by the amniotic fluid”. No matter what, he says, “there’s still a risk to your placenta – since a forceful landing or sudden start or stop could harm your baby. As with car accidents, roller coaster rides sudden movements are associated with a condition called placental abruption. This can happen when the placenta prematurely separates from the uterine wall, potentially having major negative effects on your pregnancy outcome”.
6. Avoid using a sauna, hot tub or take long hot baths
Hot tubs and hot baths have a tendency to raise your body temperature, thus making them dangerous to your developing baby because overheating has been linked to birth defects.
7. Avoid eating junk food
Not only is junk food not healthy, it does not provide vitamins, protein or nutrients. Junk food fills up your tummy quickly and prevents you from eating proper healthier foods that you really need for your and your baby’s health.
8. Avoid canned tuna
Tuna contains some mercury and it is known that mercury can damage the fetus’ developing nervous system.
9. Avoid standing for long hours
Pregnancy results in an increase in blood volume. Added pressure on the veins in the legs by the weight of the growing uterus can result in varicose veins – a state when veins (most commonly found in the leg area) become abnormally thick, full of twists and turns, or enlarged. Therefore, avoid prolonged standing. It’s best to rest, sit and lie down when pregnant.
10. Avoid having X-rays
Although this is controversial, it is still advisable that X-rays should be avoided. The radiation exposures can contribute to birth defects and lead to genetic damage and death in the fetus.
11. Avoid doing tattoo
Having a tattoo done during pregnancy could increase the risk of contracting an infection, such as Hepatitis B and HIV and there’s also the worry about the dyes used for tattooing. The chemicals which are present in the dyes may affect the development of the baby especially during the first 12 weeks.
12. Avoid extreme exercise and sports
Sports like tennis, gymnastics, horse riding, surfing, running, jogging, cycling, mountain trekking and scuba diving are best to be omitted while you’re pregnant as they put you at a high risk of a fall and increased chance of trauma to your abdomen.
Also, do not exercise lying on the stomach as this can cause injury to your baby; not to mention giving you a very uncomfortable posture. Overall, keeping fit and healthy are encouraged throughout your pregnancy. However, do opt for safe exercises like swimming, yoga, pilates and walking.
Some of the signs of alarm listed here require immediate attention and you should consult your gynecologist immediately when you experience the following:
- vaginal bleeding
- acute dizziness
- severe headache
- chest pain
- muscle weakness
- decreased fetal movement / no movement
- fluid leaking from the vagina
Each and everyone’s pregnancy is different. What is suitable for another pregnant lady might not be suitable for you. The activities mentioned above is a general guideline for pregnant women. If unsure, always consult your gynecologist. It is safer to wait till baby’s out before embarking on the activities.
Written by Noreen Yek Boussetta.
This article was first published in New Age Pregnancy.
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