A woman's pregnancy should be one of the happiest times in her life. Knowing the proper way to take care of herself and her baby during this exciting time is one of the most important things a woman will ever learn.
Eating a well balanced diet during pregnancy is extremely important to the health of both the mother and the unborn child. The proper vitamins and nutrients can usually be consumed through prenatal vitamins and a careful diet. However, there are some foods that a woman should avoid during pregnancy. Raw meat is unsafe because of the risk of toxoplasmosis and salmonella. Deli meat that contains listeria can cause infection leading to miscarriage. If you plan to eat deli meat, always reheat it until you are sure that it is cooked all the way through. Unpasteurized milk also contains listeria, so it should be avoided as well.
Fish with mercury should also be avoided during pregnancy. Mercury has been shown to cause developmental delays and brain damage in infants. Some fish which might include mercury include shark, swordfish and tile fish. Though it has been proven that caffeine is fine in moderation for women who are pregnant, caffeine should be limited to 300 milligrams per day for optimal health.
Smoking is high on the list of things to avoid during pregnancy. Spontaneous abortion, low birth weights and fetal and infant deaths have all been caused by cigarette smoking. Not only should a pregnant woman avoid smoking, she should avoid secondhand smoke as well.
Alcohol has a large variety of adverse effects on infants and should be completely avoided during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is caused by a pregnant mother consuming alcohol and it results in birth defects, mental retardation and central nervous system dysfunction, among many other threatening problems.
A pregnant woman should avoid getting x-rays during the course of her pregnancy. If you must have an x-ray, try to postpone it until after the pregnancy. If that is not possible, you should wait until the end of the first trimester, which is the most critical time of the pregnancy.
Pesticides should be avoided due to the intensity of the chemicals. Pesticides are widespread, so avoiding them completely may be difficult, especially during the summer. For a fetus or newborn, even small levels of harmful chemicals can lead to learning disabilities later in life.
Stress is defined as physical, mental or emotional strain and is one of the leading causes of disease in America. Stress during pregnancy should be kept at a minimum to ensure the mental and physical health of the mother as well as the physical health of the baby.
Taking some over the counter drugs can be harmful to the baby, too. Drugs that are safe to take at other times are not always safe to take while pregnant. Always consult with your doctor before taking any over the counter drug while pregnant.
One of the most dangerous things a woman can do during pregnancy is consume illegal drugs. Drug exposure to a fetus can cause low birth weight, brain damage, physical malformations and organ or facial abnormalities. A woman who is using illegal drugs and finds out she is pregnant should seek the help of physician immediately in order to take steps to ensure the health of herself and her baby.