Your body goes through tremendous changes throughout the pregnancy. This means you need to be cautious about what you can and should not do.
Even in the first trimester when you do not ‘look’ pregnant yet, hormonal and internal changes are in full swing. And also Your Child’s brain is growing faster than at any other point in life.In short, you are fully pregnant and Your Child is alive and you should try to take responsibility for this new situation.
Foods to avoid
When you’re expecting, everything you eat and drink gets consumed by your child around an hour later. Some ingredients inside the food you consume can damage Your Child’s development and cause complications later in life. Foods to avoid during pregnancy include:
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is poison for Your Child and can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). Alcohol should be strictly avoided at all times.
Drugs: Although most over-the-counter drugs have an excellent safety profile, some have unproven safety, or are known to affect the fetus. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or a health practitioner before taking any kind of medication.
Raw meat and shellfish: Uncooked seafood such as oysters, mussels, clams, and raw or undercooked beef, pork or poultry should be avoided because of the risk of contamination with toxoplasmosis and salmonella.
Certain seafood and fish: Fish that contain high levels of mercury should be avoided. Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. A sample of these types of fish
Lifting heavy objects: Lifting heavy includes shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and other big fish.
Some sushi: It’s fine to eat raw fish in sushi when you’re pregnant, as long as any raw fish used to make the sushi has been frozen first. Freezing kills the small parasitic worms and makes raw fish safe to eat.
Deli meat: Deli meats can be contaminated with listeria, bacteria that can cross the placenta and infect your developing baby. Infection in utero could lead to blood poisoning and could be life-threatening for your baby.
Raw eggs: This also includes foods that contain raw eggs; so, be wary of homemade Caesar dressings, mayonnaise, ice cream, and custards. Raw eggs can pose a risk of salmonella.
Unpasteurized cow milk: Unpasteurized cow milk may contain listeria. Make sure that any cow milk you drink is pasteurized. Or switch to plant based options, besides milk from soy there are also good alternatives from rice, oats, almonds or pistachio.
Caffeine: High doses of caffeine from coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy beverages, and other sources may increase the risk of miscarriage, reduced birth weight, and stillbirth, but the research is conflicting. As a general rule, caffeine should be limited to fewer than 200 mg per day, which is around 2 cups of coffee.
Unwashed Vegetables: Vegetables are a necessary part of a balanced diet. However, try to ensure they are washed under running water to avoid potential exposure to toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis may contaminate the soil where the vegetables were grown. Better avoid raw sprouts altogether because bacteria inside sprout seeds are nearly impossible to be washed out.
Being pregnant makes you more susceptible to injuries and infections. Therefore, there are certain activities you should avoid.
objects, such as furniture, a baby, or heavy groceries repeatedly for long periods of time could increase your chance of miscarriage, preterm birth, or injury. If you have a job with high physical demands, have a discussion with your supervisor.
Exhausting yourself physically: Apart from heavy lifting, repeatedly bending at the waist, stooping, squatting, and lifting overhead can also cause miscarriage, preterm birth, or injury. If possible, try to find someone else to do the tasks for you, or take a lot of sitting-down breaks in between.
Sitting or standing for too long: Staying in the same position for too long may lead to all sorts of issues, such as venous congestion and swollen ankles. Try changing position (move about if you have been sitting or rest the legs if you have been standing) as often as is necessary to enhance blood flow.
Going in hot tubs: Avoid hot tubs sauna, hot yoga, or hot pilates. Being at a temperature over 40 celsius (104 Fahrenheit) can cause overheating, dehydration and fainting. Elevated body temperature during the first trimester can also lead to certain birth defects. If you have aches and pains, try a warm bath instead.
Getting a massage: Avoid massages, especially ones which involve heavy bending and deep tissue pressure, which are not suitable for pregnant women. If you need to relieve aches and pain and do not have a medical condition, a prenatal massage from a certified therapist is a much safer choice.
Cleaning cat litter boxes: Don’t change the kitty litter, because cat feces can carry toxoplasma, the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. But if you must, make sure you wear gloves and wash your hands well afterward.
Regular exercise in a normal pregnancy has many benefits. It can help lower the risk of excess weight gain, gestational diabetes, and postpartum depression, resulting in better health overall for both you and Your Child. However, some modifications are needed to
accommodate your changing body and some sports should be avoided altogether.
Don’t exercise outside when it is very hot or humid: To avoid being overheated, exercise in the morning, evening, or in a temperature-controlled room.
Avoid contact sports: Football, basketball, volleyball, or boxing put you at risk of getting hit in the abdomen. These should be avoided for now.
Avoid exercises with risks of falling: Activities that may result in a fall, such as surfing, off-road cycling, gymnastics, and horseback riding should be avoided.
Avoid lying flat on your back: Yoga is a healthy way to exercise during pregnancy, but don’t lie on your back later in the pregnancy. When your belly gets very big, the weight of your bump presses on the main blood vessel and this can make you faint.
Don’t go scuba diving: Your Child has no protection against decompression sickness.
Don’t exhaust yourself: Try to be mindful of your body and rest when needed. Warning signs include dizziness, feeling faint, shortness of breath, and a racing heartbeat.
Beauty and cosmetics
While most over-the-counter brands are safe, certain ingredients can be absorbed into your body, harming the little one.
Avoid retinoids: Retinoids, or Vitamin A, are commonly used in skincare products to treat fine lines and acne. As retinoids are linked to birth defects, all products are advised against.
Be careful with nail polish: Your nail polish may contain phthalates, which are endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in many beauty and personal products. Look for a phthalate-free one, or avoid painting your nails for now. If you are working in a nail salon, ask if you can move to a position where you are not exposed to the toxics in nail polish.
Ideally, you should switch to maternity-friendly clothing once your regular ones feel uncomfortable. Here is a list of some clothing to avoid.
Tight clothing: Tight clothes hinder blood circulation to the vagina, and may even lead to yeast infection. Clothes that are tight also aggravate heartburn and indigestion, a condition experienced by many pregnant women.
High heels: It is ok to wear low, sturdy heels in the first trimester. Later in your pregnancy, you will gain a considerable amount of weight in the front. Wearing high heels alters your posture, increasing the chance to lose balance. Heels also put pressure on your lower back and pelvic joint, resulting in back pain.
Sleeping is an essential part of prenatal care. Here are things to beware of regarding sleep.
Get adequate sleep: Pregnant moms need a few more hours of sleep each day.
Research has shown that women who sleep less than six hours at night had longer labors and were more likely to have cesarean deliveries.
Don’t sleep on your back: By your second trimester, refrain from sleeping on your back.
This position puts the weight of your midsection on your main veins, and may result in difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, decreased circulation, digestive problems, and hemorrhoids.
Sleeping on your back can also aggravate back pain.
Don’t sleep on your stomach: While this position does not harm your baby due to the thick uterus wall, it may be uncomfortable in later months. If you are a stomach sleeper, using a donut-shaped pillow may help.
Don’t sleep on one side for too long: Even though sleeping on your left side is recommended, try to switch between both sides to improve blood circulation.
As many as 1 in 5 women has mental health problems during pregnancy or after birth. The most common problems are depression and anxiety. Prolonged stress can be toxic for Your Child and negatively affects the baby. If you find yourself in this situation, here are some things you can do.
Don’t compare yourself to others: Everyone experiences pregnancy in a different way. Instead, focus on your well-being as much as you can.
Don’t be ashamed: In certain cultures, you may be made to feel ashamed if you have mental health problems.
However, most mental health problems arrive out of your control from childhood trauma or have genetic roots — there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Don’t hesitate to get help: If you feel that your mental health is affecting your daily life, talk to a doctor or therapist. They can recommend treatments such as prescriptions or therapy. You need to remember that keeping it all to yourself may make matters worse for you and Your Child. Talking to a friend, family member, professional or faith leader can help you feel better. Many women also find comfort in meditation, yoga, or exercises. Sunlight and adrenaline can scientifically improve your mental health.
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat (OB-GYN) (1 May 2022)
- 11 Things Not to Do While Pregnant, Healthline,
- Sleep and pregnancy
- Physical Demands (lifting, standing, bending) – Reproductive Health
- Best Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy
- Is massage safe during pregnancy?
- Traditional Thai Massage Can be Dangerous for Pregnant Women
- Exercise during pregnancy
- Your guide to a pregnancy-safe skincare routine
- Everything you need to know about maternity clothes.
- Is it true that I shouldn’t wear heels when I’m pregnant?
- Taking care of your mental health during pregnancy