- Women's Health
The Worst Things You Can Do While Pregnant
If you are pregnant or know someone that is, you must read this article now! It is very important to be aware of the things you should not do during your pregnancy so that you can protect your unborn child and avoid birth defects or a potential miscarriage. Here are some of the worst things you can consume while pregnant:
1) Cigarettes – Apart from smoking being a very unhealthy habit, smoking while pregnant affects your unborn baby in a number of ways. The carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke has been known to attach to the red blood cells, reducing their oxygen carrying ability and depriving the fetus of the necessary oxygen it needs to develop. Smoking has also been linked to underweight babies and a significantly increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
2) Illicit drugs – A famous effect of drug use during pregnancy is the thalidomide children born without arms in the late 1950s. It is not known what effects or birth defects drugs may have on a fetus, if not miscarriage. It is important to check with your doctor before taking any drugs while you are pregnant, including over-the-counter medications. (Note that a healthy fetus is considered a “person” under some jurisdictions and women who take illegal drugs while pregnant could be charged with “abuse”.)
3) Alcohol – When you have alcohol, so does your baby. Some studies show that alcohol can damage or affect the growth of cells in the fetus, especially brain and spinal cord cells. It is not known whether drinking a small amount of alcohol is safe or not for a pregnant woman, so it is best to avoid this at all costs.
4) Deli & Junk Foods, Raw Fish & Soft Cheeses – Junk food basically fills you up, satisfying you in the short term while providing you with very little nutritional benefits. Deli foods are generally prepared early in the day and remain outside on display for much of the morning making the food are perfect breeding ground for listeria. Raw fish and soft cheeses are in the same boat. Listeria is a disease which is bad for both mother and baby. It is passed down to the baby through the umbilical cord and the baby can contract respiratory problems or meningitis. Make sure the food you eat is cooked and hot. Food stored outside or even in the fridge longer than 12 hours is not recommended to be eaten. Practice good hygiene in the kitchen and wash all raw fruits and vegetables.
5) Insufficient folic acid – Folic acid is extremely important in the early stages of pregnancy for the development of the baby’s spinal cord and prevention of spina bifida. It aids with cellular regeneration and development, in adults as well as babies. In fact, it is also thought to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and Cervical Cancer. Many breakfast cereals contain folic acid as well as leafy green vegetables and orange juice.
6) Insufficient calcium – if your baby doesn’t calcium from your diet, it will take it from your bones. Pregnancy is a time when the body needs an increased amount of calcium, especially as you begin to produce milk in preparation for breastfeeding. Ask your doctor about the amount of calcium you require. Supplements may be required if you are not getting enough from your diet which should include low-fat dairy products and broccoli.
7) Parsley / Celery – Some women are told to stay clear of parsley and celery while pregnant. Both are sometimes used to aid in menstruation and therefore can cause contractions of the uterus and premature labor or abortion. As soon as you find out you are pregnant, you should visit a health care professional to discuss a diet that suits you individually. This will be based on your current diet and family history to ensure you provide the best possible protection to your baby.