Pregnancy is a beautiful thing but it isn’t always planned. Sometimes you have everything sorted out from start to finish.
But sometimes, it just sort of happened. Bewilderingly popular shows such as Teen Mom prove as much, and surely many readers can find examples of “surprises” in their own social and professional circles. And so it goes!
Planned or not, though, once a mom knows the big news, it’s time to get real — and real fast, that is, if she hasn’t had the luxury of reading up on all of this stuff before “trying.”
Some very common practices are now total no-gos.
So, go ahead: Check it before moms wreck it. Here are 15 damaging things pregnant women need to stop doing immediately.
15. Neglecting Nutrition Means Neglecting The Baby
It’s a vital time! Intaking healthy vitamins and nutrients means giving that little baby the building blocks she or he needs for a thriving future. And the way I see it, hey, at least it’s something you can actually control. (By the way, this is not the case with many things in life once the baby actually comes out, so enjoy it.)
14. Having Unprotected Encounters — STDs Are Still So Real
Oh, condoms — a classic for preventing pregnancy. No doctor’s note needed. Just buy ‘em and keep ‘em handy. But these are of course very much NOT just for avoiding making babies, and are very much also for preventing dangerous diseases from being spread, which yes, may affect a mother’s unborn baby.
13. Starting Brand-New Workout Routines — They’ve Missed Their Chance
Check with your own doctor. Hard period on that one. But the general advice is that if it’s something you were adept at before you became pregnant, it may very well be okay to keep up with it (if it’s not something physically dangerous or too extreme). Keeping up some simple cardio, stretching, and strength-building may be just the ticket. Otherwise? Nah.
12. Guzzling Grown-Up Grape Juice
It’s sort of weird that I even have to type this one, but I have met — in my own, real life, not in the vastness of the Internet — people who claimed they 100 percent believed it was okay to have a bit of this or that adult beverage while expecting. No medical source I’ve ever encountered has supported this.
11. Caving On Those Caffeine Cravings
“It’s a stimulant and a diuretic, which means drinking your usual few cups of coffee every day will increase your blood pressure, heart rate, and the number of trips you make to the restroom. Plus, caffeine crosses the placenta,” says Healthline. They say that the baby’s metabolism can’t exactly handle all that just yet, so it’s good to stick to only a “moderate” amount of caffeine, which is listed as 150 to 300 mgs a day. (Check with your own doc!)
10. Putting Themselves And The Baby In Danger By Ditching The Doctor’s Appointments
I totally get that it can all be totally overwhelming. Even if you have excellent healthcare and insurance and it’s all essentially free, it can be a lot to trek down to the doc’s office for increasingly frequent prenatal appointments, then be judged and prodded, poked and questioned. But it’s how they make sure everything’s on track — and intervene as needed!
9. Playing In Cat Piss (AKA Changing The Litter Box)
There’s a very special (and to my ears, very yucky-sounding) type of bug that people can pick up from handling the waste of their feline friends, often by doing things such as changing the litter box. And it can very much negatively impact their pregnancy, so this is why it’s very commonly recommended to avoid such pursuits. Hand over the scooper, mama.
8. Would Be A Shame To Be So Vain That You Keep Using Wrinkle Creams
This one really blew my mind when I was an expectant first-time mother frantically and excitedly googling: Salicylic acid, the ingredient very commonly found in creams and such that give the outer layers of skin a little nudge to peel away faster, thus (many products claim) reducing the appearance of crow’s feet and the like, may have very negative effects during pregnancy, so many say to skip it.
7. … Or Acne Attacking Gels, Creams, Soaps, And Makeup
That bad boy mentioned above is also found in a great number of very popular and long-lived products marketed to combat acne, that skin condition that plagues many a teen and beyond. Check the labels of any medicines you are taking, as well as the gels, creams, soaps, and also makeup that you regularly use — it might be a very important catch.
6. Pretending Painful Peeing Isn’t Happening
Ever seen a lady chugging cranberry juice like it’s going out of style? UTI, aka urinary tract infection, aka bladder infection, aka hurts really bad / urgency when ya pee, which may (especially if you’re pregnant) lead to further and more complicated infections. This is part of the reason they’ll check your urine at every prenatal appointment.
5. Believe It Or Not, Deli Sandwiches Can Be Really Bad News For Baby
I LOVE deli sandwiches… No joke: I don’t think I enjoy any food more than a lovely bread topped with a scrumptious mustard and some fantastic combo of meat, cheese, and veg. Mmm… But I digress. Deli meat has nitrates, generally, so not great for those preggo times. Plus, preg women may easily become infected with stuff that might barely bother them usually but leads to serious complications when expecting.
4. Living In A Cloud
Some people form bad habits or even just occasional indulgences at some point in their lives. Perhaps it’s a thing picked up from a particular work scene or lifestyle, or maybe it’s something they’ve convinced themselves helps them relax, but whatever it is, pregnancy is clearly NOT the time to partake in it. Inhale fresh air only, mama — and save your money, too.
3. Nomming Raw Meat, Fish, Or Eggs Like Some Kind Of Animal
Uncooked seafood such as is commonly found in some types of sushi? Nope. Raw eggs, which are quite often found in homemade Caesar salad dressings and other sauces? Nuh-uh. You got to skip that stuff, mama, because toxoplasmosis and salmonella are so real, and they can so affect that pregnancy / baby in a bad way. Don’t worry, 40 weeks go faster than you might think.
2. Being All About Advil And Other OTCs
“Some medications can be harmful to your growing baby,” reports Healthline. “Before taking any over-the- counter or [Rx] medications and supplements, speak to your doctor.” Probably a good rule of thumb to think about what meds you’re taking all the time, no? But really common stuff like Advil is often considered a total no-go, so seriously, be very mindful of this important point.
1. You Can’t Even Take A Bath
I remember the look on a particularly zealous and expressive pregnancy class member sitting across from me when she heard that hot baths were now considered too dangerous. She was SO bummed.
“If you’re feeling aches and pains during your pregnancy, relaxing in a hot tub may seem ideal. But an elevated body temperature during the first trimester can lead to certain birth defects,” says Healthline. Same goes for hot baths or long hot showers.