Things to avoid during pregnancy

Pregnancy changes your body and makes you responsible for the health of another human being. For many women, this leads to behavioral changes and a healthier lifestyle.

If you want to have the healthiest pregnancy possible, speak with your doctor about your specific needs and the needs of your baby during pregnancy. Some of the most common recommendations from doctors include avoiding:

Raw Seafood
Unfortunately, if you love sushi, you’ll need to wait nine months to indulge. The same is true for raw oysters, clams, carpaccios, and ceviches. Exposure to the bacteria and parasites sometimes found in uncooked foods can make you sick and harm your baby.

In addition to uncooked seafood, it is also a good idea to avoid smoked seafood and undercooked meats.

There are also several cooked fish you will want to avoid because of their high mercury content. This includes swordfish, king mackerel, and shark. Albacore tuna, farmed salmon, red snapper, grouper, orange roughy, Atlantic halibut, and blue marlin are also high in contaminants.

If you love fish, safe choices during your pregnancy include wild salmon, rainbow trout, arctic char, tilapia, shrimp, scallops, sole, and Pacific halibut.

Luncheon Meats and Hot Dogs
In addition to uncooked meats, you also need to steer clear of the deli counter. These foods contain nitrates and nitrites, which are dangerous for an unborn baby. They are also high in other preservatives and fat, so they are poor choices for a healthy diet even if you are not pregnant.

Cigarette Smoke and Alcohol
Pregnancy is a great time to make healthy improvements in your life. Now is a great time to kick your cigarette smoking habit. If quitting for the good of your own health was not enough, now you have your baby’s health to consider.

Most evidence shows that women who drink heavily during pregnancy are putting their babies at risk. Studies conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that alcohol consumption during pregnancy can have an adverse affect on a baby’s health and that the best means of preventing these health problems is to educate expectant mothers.

One of the most common problems for babies exposed to excessive amounts of alcohol in-utero is a condition known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Newborn babies can also suffer withdraw effects if their mother used alcohol during pregnancy.

Raw Sprouts
Raw sprouts have been linked to salmonella and E. coli, so you should avoid them just to be safe while pregnant. Chances are the sprouts you normally eat are safe, but it is not worth the risk when you are eating for two.

Some Vitamin Supplements
Speak with your doctor about what supplements are recommended and which ones present a danger to a developing fetus. Vitamin A is known to increase the risk of birth defects. Natural vitamin A in food is safe, but supplements can be dangerous.

The same can be true for vitamins D, E, and K in supplement form. Review your supplement plan with your doctor before pregnancy and determine if your usual selection of vitamin supplements is necessary once you conceive.

This is not inclusive of everything that can present danger during pregnancy. Other potential dangers can come from caffeine, unpasteurized dairy, exposure to reptiles, cleaning the cat litter box, x-rays, tap water, and exposure to chemicals.

Some of these things are safe when you are not pregnant, but become an issue after conception. When in doubt, err on the side of caution to protect your health and your baby’s during pregnancy.

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