11 Seemingly Harmless Things You Should Avoid Doing While Pregnant

Written by Niharika Nayak, BA (Media & Communication)  • 

We all know that you should quit drinking and smoking while you are pregnant, but did you know that there are plenty of seemingly harmless activities that you should avoid doing too? Of course, none of these activities are anywhere as dangerous to you or your baby as drinking and smoking, but they can be pretty bad. Since it is essential to ensure not just your own safety but your growing fetuses as well, here are eleven harmless things that you should avoid doing while you are pregnant:

1. Eating Uncooked Fish/Meat (Yes Sushi Too)

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If you are a fan of sushi, then we understand that giving it up really does suck, but it’s only for the time being. Avoiding uncooked seafood also includes avoiding mussels, clams, and oysters. This is because raw seafood can be heavily contaminated with salmonella and toxoplasmosis. It’s also important to avoid raw eggs as they too pose a risk of salmonella. This includes caesar salad dressings, hollandaise sauce, certain types of custards, and mayonnaise (1).

2. Sleeping On Your Back

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As your uterus increases in size, it can get big enough to rest against your inferior vena cava. This is an important blood vessel that helps bring blood flow back to your heart. If you sleep on your back, you risk blocking your inferior vena cava with the weight of your uterus. This would mean that you’d have less blood flow to your heart and hence less blood flow for both yourself and your fetus.

3. Painting Your Walls

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There are quite a few paints on the market that have fumes that are toxic for pregnant women to inhale. Although the paints people use at home have reduced levels of toxicity, the safest and best option is to avoid exposing yourself to the chemicals altogether. Rather than painting the nursery by yourself, hand the paintbrush to your partner or another loved one.

4. Stilettos And Other High Heels

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Sure, we all love stilettos and looking like a million bucks in high heels, but it’s terrible on your back, your feet, and more. It also affects your center of gravity and might leave you feeling a little unsteady on your feet. Considering the fact that you will probably have swollen ankles because of pregnancy, you’d rather just spend time in flats and flip-flops. If you absolutely must wear heels, stick to wearing wedges, platforms, and kitten heels.

5. Cleaning Your Cats Litter

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If you absolutely have to change your cat’s litter, wash your hands well, wear gloves and then rewash your hands. Cat’s feces can contain a parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis, which is rare but fatal. While you are more likely to contract this condition through eating raw meat or even through gardening, it is still a great idea to have someone else do it for you.

6. Sitting Or Standing Too Long

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During your pregnancy, it’s vital that you move around and don’t stay in the same position for too long. Always remember that you are carrying the weight of two and not just one person. Staying in the same place for too long can be problematic and cause all kinds of issues revolving around veins and swollen ankles. You should take short breaks every now and then, and if you’ve been on your feet for a long time, you should put your legs up and relax.

7. Lounging Around In A Hot Bathtub

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If you are suffering from pains and aches while pregnant, you probably think that a nice hot bath would be perfect for soothing the soreness. Well, it’s not the best idea, as an elevated body temperature can harm your fetus. So instead, skip the hot tub and consider having a nice lukewarm bath instead.

8. Certain Types Of Medication

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Certain types of medications like (some) antibiotics, lithium, and even high doses of vitamin A can be harmful to your growing fetus. Before getting on any medication, you must speak to your doctor first.

9. Drinking Too Much Caffeine

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Caffeine is a diuretic and a stimulant. This means that if you drink more than two cups of coffee a day, it will increase your heart rate, blood pressure levels, and the number of times you visit the restroom. Caffeine can also cross its way over to your fetus through the placenta, and while you may function normally on caffeine, your baby just might not. This is because your baby’s metabolism is still in its developmental stage. Caffeine can be found in not just coffee and tea but also in sodas, specific over-the-counter medication, and even chocolate.

10. Consuming Soft Cheese Or Unpasteurized Dairy

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Certain imported soft cheeses might contain listeria, so you should make sure you steer clear of any soft cheeses like Feta, Brie, Camembert, Roquefort and Gorgonzola, Queso Blanco and Queso Fresco. All of these cheeses run the risk of being contaminated with listeria. Listeria bacteria can lead to a woman suffering from listeriosis. This can massively harm the baby and may even result in a miscarriage or premature labor (2).

11. Contact Sports

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If you are pregnant, it’s crucial that you avoid contact sports such as boxing and football. Playing contact sports will increase the risk of you suffering from placental abruption. This is the premature separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus. It is a severe condition that can lead to pregnancy loss, preterm birth, or even stillbirth. Pregnant women run a higher risk of getting injured since the hormonal changes in the body cause ligaments to become looser.

Just remember that your pregnancy will not last forever. In nine months’ time, you will have a healthy bouncing baby in your arms, and it will all be worth it! All you need to do is hang in there and stay off these foods and activities for some time. Do let us know all of your thoughts in the comment section below.

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