It’s the New Year and most resolutions revolve around being healthier. While pregnant, there are some things that are important to cut out. Below is a list of things that are strongly recommended mothers-to-be avoid while pregnant.
Things to Cut Out When Expecting
It’s extremely important to quit smoking when pregnant for the sake of your baby’s health. Smoking while pregnant puts a baby at a greater risk for premature birth, low birth weight (which has tons of additional complications), miscarriage, and even still birth. Even if you don’t smoke, it’s important to avoid being around those who are smoking. Second hand smoke has negative health risks as well for both you and your baby.
It can be hard to quit smoking. Here is an online resource to help. Additionally, many health insurance companies offer programs and incentives for their patients to help kick the habit.
Alcohol is the leading known preventable cause of developmental and physical birth defects in the United States. Some studies show that an occasional glass of wine causes no harm however fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is an extremely serious condition which can lead to disabilities and mental retardation. There is no evidence clearly determining how much alcohol ingestion will produce birth defects however both chronic alcohol use, binge drinking and even occasional drinking has all resulted in children with FAS therefore there is no guarantee that any amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. Because alcohol can be passed on to your unborn baby, it’s best to eliminate all alcohol intake during pregnancy.
If you have a headache or sinus congestion, before you reach for relief contact your doctor. Not all medications pose a risk to your baby however many medications, even over the counter ones, can be potentially dangerous to take while you are pregnant. Always consult your doctor to find out what is safe.
It is recommended by doctors to limit your caffeine intake to 200mg or less per day which is equivalent to about two 8-oz cups of regular coffee. Heavier caffeine intake has been linked to a slight increased risk for premature birth and miscarriage. Remember to take into account all the things that you eat as well because caffeine can also be found your candy bar and chocolate flavored ice cream. If you find yourself struggling to limit your caffeine intake, here is a great resource from WhatToExpect.com that may help.
Unpasteurized foods & drinks
Unpasteurized food may contain harmful bacteria so it’s important to steer clear or the soft cheeses (brie, feta, blue cheese, queso blacno or fresco and panela), raw milk and even fresh squeezed juices from food stands, in restaurants and juice pars. Turn instead to pasteurized cheese and juice from your store shelf for the next few months.
Listeria is a bacteria that can cause food poisoning and the temperatures inside your fridge are perfect for their growth which is why it’s important to pass on the deli meat during your pregnancy. And just in case you are a fan of eating hot dogs right from the fridge, they are also a no no while pregnant. However if you are craving these foods there is a way to make them safe! Heat them until they are steaming hot and eating them right away.
Say goodbye to ordering your burgers medium or rare during pregnancy. Undercooked meat can have toxoplasma and other harmful bacteria that can put you and your baby at risk. So while you have a bun in the oven, make sure to order your food well done.
Craving some goodies? When you are baking, make sure not to taste test the batter or dough if it contains raw eggs. The Center for Disease control estimates that 1 in 20,000 eggs contains salmonella bacteria. There are about 40,000 new cases of salmonellosis each year in the U.S. It can lead to health complications during pregnancy such as vomiting and dehydration, bacteremia which can lead to meningitis which is an infection that causes swelling in the spinal cord and brain, or reactive arthritis which causes swelling and pain in joints. Not only can you get sick but your baby is at risk too. You can pass salmonellosis on to your baby as well. So for the next few months, avoid tasting the dough and wait to indulge in the baked goodies.
Raw fish and Smoked Seafood
Because sushi is uncooked fish, it can heighten your risk for food poisoning. Other kinds of fish may contain high levels of mercury such as swordfish and king mackerel which can be harmful to your baby. You can safely eat up to 12oz of seafood a week however if you are craving canned tuna, try to limit it to 6oz a week. Also check with your doctor before you take fish oil supplements while pregnant. Smoked ready-to-eat seafood such as lox (smoked salmon) as well as trout, cod, tuna and mackerel taste great on a sandwich but it is vulnerable to listeria and can put you and your baby at risk. It is safe to eat smoked seafood in a cooked dish such as a tuna casserole.
Unwashed Fruits & Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a great source of lots of the nutrients you and your baby need. Just make sure to give them a good washing before eating as toxoplasma, a parasite, can live on fruit and vegetables and can be very harmful to your baby. No need to use soap, just scrub it with a vegetable brush under warm water. If you see bruising, cut that away as well to ensure that you have removed any trace of bacteria. Avoid raw sprouts all together such as radish, clover, alfalfa as bacteria can actually grow in the seeds making it impossible to rid the sprout of the harmful bacteria unless they are cooked thoroughly.
Here is something you have to give up during pregnancy that you might be happy about!
Cleaning the litter box
Sorry, tell your family that someone else will need to scoop the litter each day! Cat poop can contain a parasite called toxoplasma which can cross the placenta and can infect your unborn baby. If your cat relies solely on you for fresh litter, always wear a face mask and gloves.