Pregnancy is a time that is so exciting, but it can turn the best of us into worry-warts. Bringing life into the world is an experience incomparable to any other.
Your body goes through many stages during this time, and certain things from your pre-baby life may not be safe for you or your baby.
There are certain foods, drinks and activities that should be avoided during pregnancy, as they may carry a risk (although often small) of infection, poisoning or other harm to you both.
Food and Drink
Raw fish – Raw fish can cause several infections, such as Salmonella, Vibrio and Listeria. Pregnant women are up to 20 times more likely to get infected by Listeria than the general population, so hold off eating that sashimi until after birth.
Soft cheeses – Avoid mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie and camembert. The mould can, again, contain Listeria, so it’s important to take precautions. However, you can still eat hard cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan (phew).
Raw or partially cooked eggs – You may want to avoid ordering eggs benedict next time you’re at brunch, as there is a risk of Salmonella poisoning.
Liver products – Liver pâté or sausages may contain a lot of vitamin A, too much of which may harm your baby.
Alcohol – There is no safe level of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, so it is safest to have none at all as even the smallest amount can negatively impact your baby’s brain development.
Don’t paint the nursery – Exposure to toxicity from the paint may harm your unborn baby. Just find someone else to do the painting; win-win.
Don’t change the kitty litter – Cat faeces may carry toxoplasmosis, a rare parasitic disease. While rare, it’s better to be safe than sorry – and if you must do it yourself, wear gloves and thoroughly wash your hands afterwards.
Don’t go on any rides – Steer clear of those rollercoasters and any other rides that involve forceful take off and landings, especially if you are prone to nausea.
Don’t go in hot tubs or saunas – As tempting as it may be to soothe your aching body, soaking in a hot tub or relaxing in a sauna can be harmful as it raises your body temperature, which has been linked to birth defects.
Certain exercises – Staying active while pregnant is great and carries many health benefits for you and therefore your baby, but not all exercises are safe. Avoid repetitive high impact exercises, avoid contact sports and activities that have a risk of falling, such as cycling, horse riding or gymnastics.
If you are unsure what exercises are safe for you, a doctor or physiotherapist will be able to point you in the right direction.
Steer clear of the above, and you should be a-okay. It’s completely normal to be worried about the things that may potentially harm your baby, so if you are ever in any doubt, ask your doctor.