When you’re pregnant, taking care of yourself and your baby should be your top priority. That means avoiding certain pregnancy risks to keep yourself and your unborn child safe.
You’ve probably heard of some of the common things to avoid, like certain foods or physical activities. But, it’s important to look past those common risks and consider some everyday occurrences that could also be dangerous for you and your baby.
Of course, thinking about these things isn’t meant to scare you or keep you in some kind of “bubble” until your baby is born. But, the more you know about the don’ts of pregnancy, the more precautions you can take to give yourself peace of mind.
So, let’s look at a few of those “don’ts” to help you determine which pregnancy risks are riskier than others.
The Things You Eat
Your doctor has undoubtedly gone over a list of things you should and shouldn’t be including in your diet while pregnant. If not, there is plenty of research online about the best and worst foods for a healthy pregnancy. One study found that 83% of women incorrectly identified at least one unsafe food as safe. So, if you are confused about anything before you eat it, it pays to do some digging!
Mothers who partake in an unhealthy diet while pregnant could be putting their children at risk of long-term complications, including everything from obesity to raised blood sugar levels. But, not all “bad” foods are necessarily unhealthy. Some of the riskiest things you can consume while pregnant are:
- Processed meats/deli meat
- Undercooked or raw eggs
- Raw salad greens
Some of these foods pose a greater risk than others. For example, drinking too much caffeine can result in a lower birth weight for your child. But, eating undercooked or raw eggs can make both you and the fetus sick with a bacterial infection. While only about 1 in 20,000 eggs contains salmonella, it’s still a risk. If you’ve never taken the “you are what you eat” saying to heart, it’s time to start when you’re expecting.
Your Daily Chores
Of course taking care of your diet is important. Another aspect of daily life that requires attention is household chores. It’s time to look at which chores you need to avoid for these months of pregnancy.
Some chores you need to delegate include:
- Scooping and changing the cat litter
- Anything requiring chemical cleaners (like oven cleaner)
- Heavy lifting (think loaded laundry baskets)
- Anything that requires you climb a stool or ladder (dusting the ceiling fan for example)
As you can imagine, these chores carry a variety of pregnancy risks. Lifting and climbing can lead to body pains, falls or even pregnancy complications, depending the the situation. You could breath toxic fumes from chemical cleaners, which is never good for anyone, especially not a fetus.
Get your guide about safer driving practices for during pregnancy
And cleaning the litter box can lead to toxoplasmosis. Cats share the parasite via their poop after contracting it from eat rodents, birds, etc. You can also contract the parasite from gardening or eating under-cooked meat (see above). In the US, between 400 and 4,000 babies are born with toxoplasmosis each year, which has the potential to cause birth defects.
Making Home Renovations
It’s not uncommon for expectant mothers to want to get things done around the home, especially during a “nesting” period. Maybe you want to make sure your home is clean, organized, and safe for the baby. Or, maybe you’re excited to completely renovate a room and turn it into a nursery.
But, there are some “don’ts” to be especially aware of when you’re making any home upgrades. First, be aware of any potential dangers already lurking in your house that could become a problem when you start renovating. If you live in an older house, there could be asbestos in the walls. This substance is dangerous for everyone, but especially risky when you’re pregnant. It can lead to respiratory issues and even certain types of cancer. About 90,000 people around the globe die from asbestos-related diseases each year. If you worry about the risk of asbestos exposure, it’s best to avoid things like tearing down walls. Or, leave your house for a while and hire a professional to handle the job and clean up for you.
No matter what, cleanup is important in any home after a renovation job. Certain elements could be dangerous if they aren’t taken care of properly, including:
- Brick and mortar dust
- Drywall and plaster dust
- Fine dust
Breathing these things in while you’re pregnant could cause problems for both you and the baby. Even being around things like wet paint or cleaners with different chemicals could be harmful. So, while you might be tempted to make big changes before the baby arrives, it could be best to hand off those tasks to someone else.
Driving While Pregnant
Driving is something most people do every day, and they don’t stop when they’re pregnant. But, if you’re being cautious of the pregnancy risks associated with your diet and other daily activities, it’s important to take the dangers of driving into account when you’re expecting. While it is impossible to know exactly how many pregnancies are lost because of car accidents, the statistics we do know are quite alarming.
It’s estimated that there are anywhere from 300-5,000 fetal deaths from car accidents each year. That means anywhere from 2-14 fetal deaths occur each day due to injuries sustained from an accident. Even if you only experience a minor injury in a car accident, it can lead to major complications for your baby. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, “Nine out of 10 traumatic injuries during pregnancy are classified as minor, yet 60% to 70% of fetal losses after trauma are a result of minor injuries.”
Abdominal injuries are often delayed symptoms after a car crash. You may not experience any pain there for days, or even weeks after the accident. Even if you don’t, however, it’s critical to go to the hospital right away. There may be complications with the baby or internal bleeding that could put your own health at risk. It’s essential to be aware of some of the most common adverse results and injuries you might sustain when you’re in an accident while pregnant, including:
- Maternal shock
- Placental abruption
- Maternal death
- Uterine rupture
Everyone understands the dangers and problems that can occur from being in a car accident. But, when you’re pregnant, those risks increase exponentially. If you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself and your unborn baby safe, make sure you’re including driving precautions and playing it safe on the road, as well.
Guest post: Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.
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