The would-be mother has to be careful about choices she makes with respect to foods, activities and many other things she does during her pregnancy, just as there are quite a few things that she should incorporate in her lifestyle during pregnancy to improve her and the baby's health.
Likewise, there many other things to avoid when pregnant that can cause serious complications even in a normal pregnancy. So it becomes essential to know what things to avoid during pregnancy with regards to diet, activities, etc. to overcome the risks of any adverse effects on the baby as well as the mother.
Deli meat like bologna, hotdogs, turkey, etc. or any type of overcooked meat can prove to be detrimental to the baby and can even lead to miscarriage.
Likewise, unpasteurized milk and soft cheese such as feta, brie and camembert cheese, blue-veined cheeses, queso blanco, queso fresco, panela etc. are few of the foods to avoid during pregnancy as they can lead to serious bacterial infections like Listeria infection and blood poisoning in the developing fetus.
Excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol is a big no-no as this can cross the placenta and cause serious effects in the developing fetus. Besides this, herbal tea although not harmful, but in some cases can cause untimely contractions and so should be avoided. Clover, alfalfa, radish and other raw sprouts are also a big no-no during pregnancy.
Some herbs like passionflower, pennyroyal, black cohosh, ephedra, goldenseal, saw palmetto, yohimbe, blue cohosh, etc. should be avoided by the expecting mother as these herbs are known to cause premature birth, fetus injury, uterine contractions and even miscarriage. Hence, these should only be taken under a doctor's recommendation.
Although natural sources of vitamin A are healthy for a would be mother, artificial vitamin 'A' supplements can bring about some birth defects and so, should also be avoided.
Studies reveal that a pregnant woman requires 300 calories more than what she consumed in her pre-pregnancy period. Since diet during pregnancy differs slightly from a normal healthy diet, a mother has to be cautious before selecting foods for her.
Activities to Avoid
The foremost important thing that a pregnant woman should refrain from is smoking and drinking alcohol. These ill habits can lead to prenatal defects in the baby like retarded growth, damaged central nervous system and organ dysfunction.
A pregnant woman should not use electric blankets and water beds as they give off low-level electromagnetic fields which can be harmful to a developing baby. Likewise exposure to X-rays can also increase the risks of certain complications in the fetus growth, hence should be avoided.
Although yoga and meditation benefit the pregnant woman by calming her mind and body and releasing physical as well as mental pressure; some yoga exercises such as Pranayama (rapid and deep breathing), Navasana and Cobra that exerts undue pressure on the belly; and Bikram Yoga which raises the temperature of the body should be avoided when pregnant.
Drugs or Chemicals to Avoid
Although, it is difficult to say which drug or medicine should be avoided during pregnancy, it is recommended that a pregnant woman should stay away from medications and chemicals throughout her pregnancy especially during the first trimester when the brain and the heart of the baby is developing.
Even over the counter medicines including Aspirin should be avoided or should be taken only under a doctor's recommendation as it can lead to some adverse effects to the developing fetus.
To conclude, the expecting mother should avoid stress and depression, excessive or prolonged exposure to pesticides and X-rays or factors that may contribute to various infections and diseases. Hence, healthy diet, some pregnancy exercises and regular checkups can help a pregnant woman have a safe and normal pregnancy. Take care.