13 Things to NOT Do When You’re Pregnant

In the majority of cases, women can go about their daily activities as they normally would when they become pregnant, with the exception of a few minor lifestyle changes. That being said, there are things that women commonly do that can have detrimental effects.

Health and safety are paramount during pregnancy; you don’t want to put yourself or child at risk for problems or complications. As such, it is best to avoid certain behaviors to ensure that your pregnancy goes smoothly and you deliver a healthy and normal little boy or girl.

Read on for 13 things that you should NOT do when you’re pregnant…

Do Not: Eat Certain Foods

During pregnancy, it is not uncommon for women to avoid specific foods due to changes in their sense of smell or taste. When you’re pregnant, though, there are some foods that are actually risky to eat.

Foods that can be harmful when you’re pregnant include raw meat and seafood, lunch meats and deli salads, and raw eggs. Soft cheeses and unpasteurized dairy and juices should also be avoided.

Do Not: Smoke

Smoking cigarettes is harmful in general, but it’s especially important to kick the habit when you find out that you’re pregnant because smoking puts you and your baby at risk for all kinds of problems.

Miscarriage, premature birth, issues with the placenta, and congenital abnormalities are just some of the problems that can result from smoking during pregnancy. Smoking also increases the risk of SIDS.

Do Not: Breathe Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is harmful during pregnancy, too. In fact, other people’s tobacco smoke increases your and your baby’s risk for many of the same issues as firsthand cigarette smoking.

Pregnant women who breathe other people’s cigarette smoke are more likely to miscarry, deliver children prematurely, and have babies who are born with birth defects and health issues.

Do Not: Drink Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcohol (wine, spirits, and beer) when you are pregnant. It passes through to your baby via the placenta and umbilical cord, which can damage your growing child’s organs.

Other risks associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy include miscarriage, stillbirth, and congenital defects, as well as premature birth and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Do Not: Take Certain Medications

Some over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs can be harmful to the developing fetus when you are pregnant. Thus, medical professionals recommend avoiding these medications.

On the list of drugs to avoid are ibuprofen and NSAIDs, ACE inhibitors, and certain cold and flu medications. Some acne medications and most herbal remedies can also be dangerous.

Do Not: Consume Too Much Caffeine

Caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and much more, is a stimulant. It’s also a diuretic. This means that it raises blood pressure and heart rate while increasing trips to the bathroom.

Your baby is also affected when you consume caffeine as it crosses the placenta. Large quantities of caffeine can cause dependency during pregnancy and lead to irregular heart rhythms.

Do Not: Wear Stilettos

Heels are fine during pregnancy, but it is best to avoid stilettos with a heel of three inches or longer because your center of gravity changes. This causes unsteadiness and can lead to injuries.

If you must wear heels, then opt for wedges, platforms, or kitten heels. These are easier on your feet and ankles and are safer to wear. Your best option may be a pair of flip-flops, though.

Do Not: Do Certain Types of Exercise

While doctors typically recommend that healthy women exercise during pregnancy, there are exercises that can be harmful, such as sit-ups and anything that involves jumping or jerky movements.

Instead, engage in exercises that are safer and better suited to pregnancy, such as walking, swimming, stationary cycling, and squatting. Talk to your doctor for valuable advice in this regard.

Do Not: Lift Anything Heavy

Whether it’s at home or at work, pregnant women should not lift heavy objects, according to the American Pregnancy Association, particularly after the first trimester.

Heavy lifting can be hazardous. It increases the risk of pulling muscles and developing a hernia. It also increases your risk of preterm labor and having a child with low birth weight.

Do Not: Perform Dangerous Activities

For safety reasons, women who are expecting should not engage in activities that carry the risk of falling or injury, such as ice skating, rock climbing, skiing, and contact sports.

As mentioned, with the expansion of the belly during pregnancy, one’s center of gravity changes. This makes it more likely that you will fall and sustain injuries performing risky activities.

Do Not: Take Long, Hot Soaks

Soaking in a relaxing hot tub or sauna may seem like a great method for relieving the discomfort that comes with pregnancy, but medical experts warn that this can be dangerous.

The hot water in hot tubs can raise body temperature and lead to hyperthermia, according to the APA. This can cause congenital defects in your baby and other problems. It can even be deadly.

Do Not: Sit or Stand for Long Periods

Waddle, don’t run.

Sitting or standing in one position for extended lengths of time isn’t recommended during pregnancy because it can cause swelling of the ankles and problems with your veins.

To prevent issues with your feet and legs, take short walking breaks regularly when you are seated and sit down often (with your legs up, if possible) when you are standing.

Do Not: Change Kitty Litter Boxes

Woman cleaning cat litter tray at home, closeup

Get somebody else to change the kitty litter box when you are pregnant if you can, as handling cat feces puts you at risk of contracting a parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis.

Toxoplasmosis is rare, fortunately. However, if a woman contracts it and it passes to the fetus, then your child could develop serious problems like brain damage or damage to the eyes.