What to Avoid During Pregnancy

afp test results risk of having a baby

Parenting in training

Pregnancy is parenting in training. There is much to learn over the course of nine months. Mothers and fathers alike are usually bombarded with information from the doctor, books, magazines, and well-meaning friends and family, and it may seem overwhelming. While training for parenthood, there is also immediate training needed. There are things that each mom must immediately learn to avoid for the health and well-being of her child. To simplify it for the mother-to-be, below is a basic list of things to avoid while pregnant.

Please note that each health care provider’s opinion may differ. Always be sure to speak with your him or her first and convey any questions or concerns you might have.


Pregnant women must avoid certain foods

If you are one of the “lucky” ones to experience morning sickness, food may be the furthest thing from your mind, and even though you might feel that you cannot eat anything anyway, just note that there are foods that you should not eat while pregnant as they can harm your baby.

It is recommended that you stay away from certain types of fish due to the high levels of mercury that they might contain. Avoid lunchmeats, and these do include hot dogs, unless you heat them enough to kill the bacteria. Avoid eating anything raw, including eggs, fish, and vegetable sprouts. Avoid anything that is unpasteurized, including milk and juice.

Prevent toxoplasmosis during pregnancy

Toxoplasmosis is a serious disease as it can cause serious birth defects or even fetal death. How can you contract this disease? Simply put, if you are around an animal, such as a cat that has been in contact with this disease, it is possible for you to contract it, but cats are the only animals that pass the disease through their feces. Cats acquire the disease through eating raw meat, birds, and rodents with toxoplasmosis, and contaminated dirt.

Known ways to contract toxoplasmosis are through cleaning a cat’s litter box, getting into sand or dirt that cats might have used as a litter box, eating undercooked meat, or from a simple cat scratch. If you own a cat, it is strongly advised that you have someone else tend to the litter box. Put your passion for gardening on hold until after your baby is born to stay out of potentially contaminated dirt.

If you are planning to get pregnant or are pregnant, it is advised to have simple blood work drawn to see if you have the toxoplasmosis antibody. If you do, you either have had the disease prior to or after getting pregnant. The risk lies with the woman whom has never had the disease or acquired the disease while pregnant.

Indoor cats that do not have the disease pose no risk to you or your unborn child. If your cat is an outdoor cat or is an indoor cat that occasionally goes outside, he or she runs the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis. To put your mind at ease, you can have your cat tested for toxoplasmosis at his or her veterinarian clinic.

Expectant mothers should avoid certain medications, alcohol, and illicit drugs

There are certain prescription and over-the-counter medications that you may be taking that need changed over to a safer drug of choice. You need to contact your health care provider. According to the March of Dimes article entitled “Things to Avoid,” the following are medications that may need to be switched:

  • ACE inhibitors (i.e.: enalapril or captopril)
  • Androgens and testosterone by-products
  • Anticancer drugs
  • Antifolic acid drugs, like methotrexate or aminopterin
  • Carbamazepine
  • Levothyroxine
  • Lithium
  • Phenytoin
  • Streptomycin and kanamycin
  • Tetracycline
  • Trimethadione and paramethadione
  • Valproic acid
  • Warfarin and other coumarin by-products

There are some medications that need stopped immediately if you are pregnant, according to the March of Dimes. Call your health care provider if you are taking the following:

  • Isotretinoins such as Amnesteem, Claravis, Accutane and Sotret and other retinoids
  • Soriatane (acitretin)
  • Thalomid (thalidomide)
  • Revlimid (lenalidomide)
  • Soriatane (acitretin)
  • Thalomid (thalidomide)
  • Revlimid (lenalidomide)

It is strongly advised to avoid alcohol and illicit drugs as these may cause birth defects. If you need help quitting, please contact your health care provider.

Drink water, not coffee when pregnant

According to the March of Dimes in the article entitled “Caffeine” “up to 12 ounces of caffeinated coffee a day may be okay during pregnancy.” Do not be fooled by decaffeinated products as they “contain small amounts of caffeine.” Balance is key. Water is the best thing that you can drink before, during, and after pregnancy.

Take heart in knowing that many babies are born healthy and without any complications. It is important to note that as humans, we cannot prevent everything, but it is important to do all that we can. Relax, follow the above information, and enjoy your pregnancy!


What to Avoid During Pregnancy

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