What to Avoid During Pregnancy: Tips You Might Know, and a Few You Might Not

By Kara Reynolds | Dec 28, 2020

Whether you’re already expecting or you’re trying for a baby to add to your family, pregnancy is the beginning of a journey into parenthood, and it comes with a lot of changes both emotional and physical. Everyone’s pregnancy is different, and while each experience is unique, there are definitely a few things that stand universal in terms of health. While most expectant parents know to avoid big hitters like cigarette smoke and alcohol, people often have a habit of telling pregnant people about all the things to avoid whether or not they’ve asked — sometimes without knowing the facts.

While some of these tips are common knowledge, there are a few pregnancy no-nos that might seem a bit unconventional, but are nonetheless important. Really, you can never be too careful when it comes to making the right precautions for your own health and the health of your little one. Here are a few things you’ll want to avoid during pregnancy.

The Diet

Ah, the dreaded diet. You knew this one was coming. While it seems like everyone has something to say about what you should and shouldn’t be eating, there are a few things you need to avoid for the safety, health and wellness of you and your child throughout the process. The obvious big ones include raw fish, high mercury fish, alcohol, deli meats, organ meats, caffeine, unpasteurized dairy, unwashed fruits and generally unhealthy processed junk foods. Really, trying to eat a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables with enough calories will probably serve you the best.

Hot Tubs

Hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms may seem relaxing, especially for those pregnancy muscles and aches. However, overheating environments can take your body above safe temperatures for pregnant people, so it’s best to avoid those environments during pregnancy. Instead, taking baths and warm showers can bring some of that ease into your body.

The Litterbox

Yes, this one is true. And it’s important. Cat litter and cat waste contains chemicals that can cause toxoplasmosis, an infection that can bring harm to both mother and child. It’s recommended that you shouldn’t change cat litter during pregnancy, and even for the first few months afterwards. Toxoplasmosis can cause serious harm, so it’s best to be as safe as possible and send someone else in to scoop the litter.

Hair Dye

In another case of possibly harmful chemicals, hair dye can be harmful during pregnancy — especially in the first trimester. Specifically, the harsh chemicals in both semipermanent and permanent color can cause damage when absorbed into the skin — specifically when applied to the root area. If you do need to dye your hair, avoiding harsh dyes, staying away from the roots and waiting at least until the end of your first trimester are the best ways to go about it, though many women would rather be safe than sorry.

Painting the House

Will the chemicals ever stop? Well, not here. You may have heard this one before, but house paints can contain chemicals and fumes that pregnant people should not breathe in. While some people say that house paint might not be that harmful during pregnancy, most people would rather not risk it. If you’re planning on taking on some home renovations, you may want to save them for after the pregnancy.

High Heels

When pregnant, your center of gravity changes — perhaps more than you might realize at first. While everyone’s body is different, and each person has a different pregnancy experience, this can mean a significant shift for many. That being said, heels above three inches can often throw off your balance and center of gravity much easier than normal when pregnant. Your heels may just be better off in the closet for a few months. If not, simply proceed with caution. 

UV Rays

While this one goes on a case-by-case basis, many people find that pregnancy makes them a bit more sensitive to light. Sun protection is always important, whether or not you’re pregnant, but sunburns can be especially uncomfortable for budding bellies and changing bodies. Finding a protective sunscreen is a great idea when pregnant.

Navigating Your Pregnancy

Everyone’s body and pregnancy journey is different, and while each expecting parent will have their own way of doing things and finding comfort, there are a few things that should be avoided in order to keep both mother and baby safe and healthy. Did any of these guidelines surprise you?

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