Things you should beware of during pregnancy

Pregnancy is the time when you should be cautious and careful about every thing that you do. From your diet to your daily mundane activities everything have an effect on growth and development of your baby. However, there are so many myths surrounding the well-being of an expectant mother that it can get confusing at times. Still there are a few things that you should avoid completely during pregnancy and add them to your ‘not-to-do’ list. Wondering what they should be? Sonali Shivlani, an internationally certified pregnancy, lactation and child nutrition counsellor lists some of the pregnancy unsafe activities that you should stay away from, during those nine crucial months.

1. Alcohol consumption: When it comes to drinking during pregnancy, nobody knows how much is too much and there are no defined guidelines on alcohol consumption for pregnant women. However, many studies and observations have led to a conclusion that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can result in birth defects like poor growth, mental retardation and learning disabilities. In fact, excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy is associated with a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome in the baby.

2. Smoking: Smoking can result in premature delivery and early rupture of membranes in the mother. It also leads to restricted oxygen intake of fetus, affect organ development, increases risk of congenital defects and reduces weight and size of fetus. One study have also indicated that maternal smoking could lead to early puberty in boys and increase the chances of drug dependence in girls significantly. Here are five more reasons why smoking during pregnancy is harmful for you.

3. Drug abuse: Use of drugs like cocaine, marijuana, etc can cause serious damage to the unborn child. It can result in low birth weight, and various other serious complications before and after delivery.

4. Hot baths and sauna: Excessive use of sauna, steam and heated pools aren’t good during pregnancy; even excessive use of hot water bags in the torso region can result in the uterus getting overheated and in extreme cases can result in fetal death. In fact, a study indicated that excessive exposure to heat through hot baths, sauna and also fever, especially during the first trimester, could increase risk of neural tube defects in baby. Here are eight other things in the environment that can harm your baby.

5. Extreme exercises:Though moderate amounts of exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, exercises where your heart rate exceeds 160 bpm can result in less oxygen to the baby leading to fetal hypoxia which means that oxygen to the fetal brain is restricted and can result in brain damage. Here are few exercises that you should avoid during pregnancy.

6. Massage at home: Going to spas which have trained professionals and masseuse are fine but don’t just go to any salon or get one from your maid at home for relaxation. Massage if undertaken by an untrained therapist can trigger certain uterine pressure points which can result in preterm labour contractions. Here are six signs of preterm labour you should know about.

7. On your feet 24×7: Standing for long hours can result in varicose veins as well as edema (abnormal accumulation of fluid) in the legs and feet. It is best to rest, sit and lie down when pregnant.

8. X-rays: It is advised that X-rays should be avoided unless the abdomen is protected with a lead apron else radiation exposure to the fetus can contribute to birth defects. Radiation due to x-rays could lead to genetic damage, intrauterine death and malignancies in the fetus.

9. Stress: Stress is a trigger for various problems and can be bad for both mother and baby’s health. Research has shown that babies actually experience the emotional environment of the mother. In fact, one study has also indicated that prenatal stress due to strain in relationships could also alter mental development and can make the child fearful to some extent during adulthood.

10. Unbalanced diet: Not eating a balanced diet will result in non-optimum fetal development and can be bad for mother’s health. She will have difficulty in shedding the kilos piled on during pregnancy postpartum.

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