Six things that are dangerous when you’re pregnant

Just found out you’re expecting a baby? Here are six dangerous things to avoid when you’re pregnant.

Discovering you’re pregnant with a wanted child is an exciting time. But, as thrilling as being pregnant is (once the morning sickness has abated…) it’s also a time of caution – and making you do everything possible to keep your baby safe and healthy.

Too, while you’re pregnant, there are some activities and foods you need to avoid. To help you, here are six dangerous things you need to avoid when you’re expecting a baby.

1) Substance abuse

When you see the term ‘substance abuse’ you may assume it refers just to illegal drugs. But in fact, it covers alcohol and drug abuse, and even smoking.

When you’re pregnant, everything you ingest impacts not just on your own health, but your baby’s too. So it’s important that you avoid any form of substance abuse.

It has been proven that substance abuse during pregnancy can potentially have a lifelong affect on your baby, including:

  • Your baby may be born premature or too small.
  • Your baby may be more susceptible to asthma, obesity, and have a higher likelihood of dying from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
  • Your baby may be born with life-long Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders, which is manifested by behavioural and learning problems, and even physical abnormalities.

If you’re pregnant right now and struggling with substance abuse, it’s not too late for you to attend a rehab for pregnant women.

2) Some cheese, fish and meats

As a pregnant woman, there are specific foods that you’re told to avoid, because of the underlying health risks that they contain.

These are foods that are usually safe to eat when you’re not pregnant, but have the potential to harm your unborn child, so are best avoided.

Here are some types of food you are recommended to avoid when pregnant:

  • Soft cheeses, unpasteurised dairy, deli meat, and smoked seafood. These can contain listeria, which is a bacterium that can infect your baby.
  • Raw meat, shellfish, rare and undercooked meat, and eggs. These can have salmonella.
  • Fish with high levels of mercury, such as swordfish, shark, and king mackerel.

3) Acupuncture and massage

Acupuncture and massage are generally safe during pregnancy, as long as your pregnancy is without complications. However, as much as possible, these forms of therapy are best avoided around your abdominal area during your first trimester. 

If you really want massage and acupuncture, make sure it’s performed by a qualified professional who is familiar with working with pregnant women. And inform them that you are pregnant so they can avoid any areas of your body that may be risky during pregnancy.

4) Painting and decorating

One of the most exciting parts of expecting a baby for many parents is getting their nursery ready.

And, while some parents hire a professional to decorate it for them, many more go down the DIY route. But be wary of getting your hands too dirty if you’re an expectant mother.

Generally, paint has minimal toxicity levels based on the solvents and chemicals that are present. But, it’s always good to be extra careful.

So, if you can, get someone else to do the actual painting. If this isn’t an option, make sure you take adequate precautions to protect your baby from any toxins.

5) Interacting with cats

While dogs are generally safe to be with around when you’re pregnant, cats can be dangerous. A bacteria known as toxoplasma gondii causes Toxoplasmosis, which is a severe bacterial infection that can affect mammals, including pregnant women. This can be found in cat feces, soil, or cat litter. 

Although the chance of getting infected by this bacteria is very low, it’s not one you want to gamble on, as the consequences are severe. For pregnant women on their first trimester, this infection can lead to a possible miscarriage or birth defects. 

6) Taking certain medications

If you’re unfamiliar with the chemical composition of the medicines that you’re taking, it’s best that you ask for professional medical advice from your doctor. Some medications may be harmful to a baby during pregnancy, so it’s wise to be extra careful.

This same rule applies when purchasing prenatal vitamins without the advice of a health professional.

Take extra care when you’re pregnant

The rules as to what you can and can’t do when pregnant aren’t always black and white. There’s no universal law as to what to avoid if you’re pregnant (apart from abstaining from drugs and excess alcohol). 

But it’s always good to be cautious, as the health and safety of yourself and your baby is of paramount importance. It’s still better to be safe and needlessly avoid something for a few months, than to spend a lifetime regretting.