Pregnancy is a crucial phase of every female’s life. It brings with it joy and happiness. However, during pregnancy, certain precautions need to be taken so as to avoid any damage to yourself and your developing baby. As the months pass, any activity that increases your risk of falling or makes you prone to trauma in your abdominal region should best be avoided. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), activities performed at altitudes greater than 6,000 feet may pose risk to a pregnant female, as the amount of oxygen available for both the female and her baby is less. There are lots of other activities and foods that should strictly avoided. Read on to learn what they are.
Activities to Avoid During Pregnancy
The following are the activities that should be avoided during pregnancy:
1. Rides in Amusement Parks
Cycling should be avoided by females who have not done it before; however, if you are an experienced rider, then, you can continue cycling till your second trimester, after which your balance is affected by the shifted center of gravity, making cycling a dangerous activity.
3. Contact Sports
4. Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
According to ACOG, downhill skiing should be avoided anytime during pregnancy as it increases your risk of severe injury and falls. If you still want to ski, chose gentle slopes. You should also be aware that your expanding belly may create balance problems. Cross-country skiing is a safer choice and also helps in improving cardiovascular fitness. You should not ski at altitudes greater than 6000 feet, as there is less oxygen available both for you and your unborn baby.
Snowboarding is also associated with increased risk of falling and associated injury to your abdomen.
5. Gymnastics, Horse-riding and Post-sports Saunas
Horseback riding and gymnastics carry the risk of falling and associated injury to your abdomen. During pregnancy soaking in hot tubs and Jacuzzis or using saunas is not recommended because overheating has been associated with increased chances of development of birth defects in your baby.
Newbies should avoid running during pregnancy. However, females who had been running before they got pregnant can do so in moderation. Caution is needed after second trimester to avoid falling. While running you should ensure that you do not become overheated and drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
7. Scuba Diving, Waterskiing and Surfing
Activities like waterskiing and surfing are also associated with increased risk of falling and increased chances of injury to your abdomen.
For females who have played tennis before they got pregnant, a moderately paced game is fine. However, it becomes difficult to play tennis as your belly grows bigger in the second and the third trimesters.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
Apart from the various activities, there are certain foods that should be avoided during pregnancy. Some of these are discussed below:
1. Seafood High in Mercury
Potentially dangerous levels of mercury are present in some fish and shellfish. Eating these could damage your baby’s brain. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), you should avoid eating Shark, Swordfish, King mackerel and Tilefish during pregnancy.
2. Raw, Undercooked or Contaminated Seafood
It is advised that you should avoid the following so as to avoid eating seafood high in harmful bacteria and viruses-
- Raw fish and shellfish, especially clams and oysters
- Refrigerated smoked seafood, including lox
Seafood should be cooked properly (to an internal temperature of 145 F). If your diet contains local fish, then you should read and understand local fish advisories.
3. Undercooked Meat, Poultry and Eggs
Pregnancy increases your risk of bacterial food poisoning. You should cook all meats and poultry fully before eating. Avoid eating refrigerated meat spreads and pates; cook processed deli meats and hot dogs till steaming hot or don’t eat them; avoid buying pre-stuffed raw poultry and cook eggs till the egg whites and yolks become firm.
4. Unpasteurized Foods
Avoid any food item containing unpasteurized milk. Avoid eating soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, blue cheese, Camembert, and Mexican style cheeses. Don’t drink unpasteurized juice.
Smoking cigarettes is not good for the health of your baby. Smoking cigarettes has been associated to miscarriages and development of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Smoking also increases the risk of your baby being born with a low birth weight, and born prematurely. The baby may be born with problems of the respiratory tract. For females who have been smoking before becoming pregnant, it can be a challenge to quit, but keep in mind that every cigarette you are smoking does harm to your baby.
Government advices that pregnant females should avoid alcohol, especially during the first three months. It is dangerous to drink during pregnancy because alcohol can cross placenta and reach your baby’s liver, which is not able to process it as fast as your liver can do. The risk of miscarriage and your baby being born with low birth weight is increased with excessive alcohol intake during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can also develop in your baby, which can lead to behavioral disorders and heart defects.