Monday, June 14, 2010

What to Avoid during Pregnancy


Most of us know the basic things to avoid during pregnancy- but the list has changed some over the years and more has been added (like some types of fish, soft cheeses and deli meats). Sorry sushi lovers, you'll need to put down the chopsticks for a bit.

· Alcohol

Can lead to mental retardation, low birth weight, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Alcohol also hinders the body’s ability to absorb folic acid, an essential nutrient during pregnancy.

· Caffeine

Can result in miscarriage, low birth weight, and premature birth. Keep caffeine intake under 300 milligrams a day (2-3 cups of coffee).

· Cigarettes

Can result in pre-term births, low birth weight, and miscarriage. Infants born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are three times as likely to die from SIDs as are those born to non-smokers (1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General—2004. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, Atlanta Georgia, May 2004.).

· OTC or prescription drugs without doctor’s advice

Bodies react differently to drugs (prescription and OTC) and you should always consult with your doctor to verify the safety of any medication for you and your baby.

· Fish with mercury and raw sushi

Mercury can cause brain damage, including developmental delays. Avoid shellfish, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel. Shrimp, catfish, and light canned tuna are acceptable choices. Avoid raw sushi.

· Raw eggs and reptiles

Both pose a risk of exposure to salmonella, which can result in severe illness.

· Saunas and hot tubs

When your body temperature rises above 102 degrees Fahrenheit, there is an increased risk of birth defects for your baby.

· Soft cheeses

Brie, feta, camembert, and Mexican-style cheeses are often made with un-pasteurized milk and can contain bacteria called Listeria. This can cause infection in the fetus, or in worst-case-scenario lead to death if untreated.

· Certain types of herbal tea

Some types, such as raspberry leaf, can cause contractions.

· Hot dogs and deli meat

Both can contain Listeria (see soft cheeses).

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