There aren’t many hard and fast rules about what not to do during your pregnancy, beyond abstaining from alcohol and drugs, of course. Most women can continue with their everyday activities and only need to make some minor lifestyle changes. However, there are a handful of things a pregnant woman should avoid or at least be cautious of throughout her pregnancy.

1. Painting the nursery

The risk of fumes from modern household paints harming your baby is low, but this is a case of better safe than sorry! If your house was built before 1971 (when lead-based paint was still available), get advice before doing anything that disturbs the paint. Breathing in these toxins during pregnancy (especially the first trimester) can have a major affect on your baby. As a precaution it’s best to avoid painting and decorating until at least the 14th week of your pregnancy. Better yet, have someone else do it!

2. Massages

It may make sense to get a massage while pregnant to relax and decompress, but it’s surprisingly not advised during the first 3 months of pregnancy. This is because the abdomen is a very sensitive area during this time and it’s best not to put too much pressure on it. If you’re considering getting a massage or any type of body therapy, it’s important to check in with a doctor. Also, it’s best to work with massage therapists who are professionally trained in working specifically with pregnant women.

3. Hot tub or sauna

While it might be tempting to relax in a Jacuzzi to ease some discomfort from pregnancy, experts recommend avoiding it. According to the American Pregnancy Association, hot tubs can cause high body temperature, potentially leading to certain birth defects. Skip the hot tub, which usually maintains a water temperature of around 104°F, and try a warm bath instead.

4. Sunbeds

Changes in hormone levels while pregnant can change the intensity level of the skin sensitivity, causing the reaction to process faster. While fake tanning lotions and sprays are a safer substitute, the active ingredient within those lotions and sprays can be harmful by causing allergic reactions in women who are pregnant. It’s safest to just stay away from these fake tanners. Sunbeds can also show a similar effect where the skin is more prone to have a reaction. Sunbeds produce ultraviolet rays that can be very harmful and increase the risk of skin cancer developing.

5. Some exercise

Although doctors suggest that most pregnant women exercise, certain types of exercise are not recommended during pregnancy.

Pregnant women should try to avoid exercise that involves:

  • bouncing, leaping, and jumping
  • sudden changes in direction
  • jarring or jerky movements
  • abdominal exercises on the back, such as sit ups, after the first trimester

Many exercises, such as walking, swimming, and squats, can be beneficial during pregnancy. It’s recommended to speak to a doctor about any existing or new exercise routines.

If you’re interested in the importance of light exercise during pregnancy, check out another one of our blog posts on 6 Reasons to Exercise When Pregnant.