Written by Dr.M.D.Mazumdar, MD
Pregnancy is one of the most important times in one's life. But it is also a time when care should be taken to ensure that both the mother and the baby remain healthy and safe throughout the pregnancy.
Diet in pregnancy plays a prime part in ensuring health and vigour. But food can also be the source of many toxins and it is best to know which foods may be dangerous to eat at this time.
Raw uncooked foods may be the source of many bacterias and parasites. Undercooked meats, fish, and poultry may contain bacterias like salmonella, coliform bacteria and listeria. These infections occurring during pregnancy can cause abortion / miscarriage, preterm labor or stillbirth. Click here to read about the ideal pregnancy diet .
Seafood may be contaminated with heavy metals like mercury, PCBs, and other toxins. Swordfish and sharks contain especially high levels of mercury. While fish does not need to be avoided completely, seafood is better avoided
Soft cheeses like Feta, Camembert and Brie, and unpasteurized milk can cause listeriosis.
Excessive caffeine can sometimes cause miscarriage and low birth weight. Coffee should be limited to 2 cups per day and sodas to one or two 12-ounce cans. Chocolates can be taken but should also be limited.
Alcohol should be completely avoided, especially in the first trimester. It can cause a syndrome called Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the main symptom of which is mental retardation.
Herbal medicines should be avoided. Most herbal medicines are not regulated and the ingredients not listed, It is diifficult to know what effects the various herbs can have on the developing fetus.
Medicines, including Over the counter medicines should be taken only after consulting the doctor as some of these medicines may be unsafe in pregnancy.
As your pregnancy progresses, the center of gravity of the body shifts forward, and it gets more and more difficult to maintain the balance of the body. To improve stability and avoid falling, the following safety tips should be followed.
Indoor Safety Tips in Pregnancy
Keep the floor of your house free from clutter, especially the areas that you use most frequently. Tie up loose wires and cords. This will prevent you tripping and falling.
Keep all carpets, including those on the stairs, mats and rugs tacked to the floor or at least have skid-proof backing.
Keep stairwells well-lighted at all times and install strong grab bars on both sides.
Install grab bars on the bathroom walls beside the tub, shower and toilet. Keep a non-skid mat in the shower or in the tub and near the toilet.
You can also use non-skid cushions like soapy soles to prevent slipping in the bathroom or while under the shower.
Place light switches within reach of your bed. Place a nightlight between your bedroom and the bathroom.
Keep a flashlight and fresh batteries handy near your bed.
Wear supportive, low-heeled, rubber soled shoes. Avoid walking in socks. These can cause you to be unsteady and slip, especially if you should have a bout of sudden dizziness.
Gloves should be worn while working. Aerosols should be avoided as far as possible since they disperse chemicals into the air.
Outdoor Safety Tips
The floors of many shopping malls or hospitals have visually confusing patterns. Be careful while walking on them and do not hesitate to ask for help if you want it.
Wear strong, supportive shoes.
Do not go out of doors in the sun as far as possible. The sun is strongest between 10 am and 3pm.
Keep important necessities like your mobile phone, identification card, hospital registration card and contact information handy in your bag if you go out of doors alone. You never know when you may need them.
Do not exercise in very hot humid weather. Drink liquids before, during, and after the exercise and take frequent rests in between the different exercises.
More Safety Tips in Pregnancy
Avoid handling cat litter as far as possible. Cats can be a host to a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis wch they excrete in their feces. Infection with this parasite can cause miscarriage or preterm labor. If you do need to handle cat litter or care for your cat, wear gloves to avoid contamination. You can also get your cat checked up by a veterinarian to be on the safe side.
Stop smoking if you smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. The dangerous effects on the fetus are the same.
If you are advised to get xrays during your pregnancy for any reason, please inform the doctor. The xrays will either be postponed or a lead apron will be draped over the abdomen to prevent the fetus from receiving any xrays.
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