Usually, while pregnant, most women can continue with most of their everyday activities as usual. However, it would be best if you made at least some lifestyle changes. As a pregnant woman, there are certain activities you should avoid during pregnancy. Getting informed about those activities and why they could harm you or your child is the first step toward a smooth and non-problematic pregnancy.
Physical Recreation Activities to Avoid
Some Types of Exercise
In general, doctors recommend exercise to most pregnant people. However, if you’re pregnant, you should first consult with a doctor to ensure that rule applies to you. If a doctor says it’s okay, you should keep inquiring.
There may be some exercises that are personally not suitable for you during your pregnancy. There are other forms of exercise that every pregnant person should generally avoid. These commonly include exercises that demand that you lay on your back or run the risk of losing balance, tripping, and falling.
Good mental health is a significant component of a good pregnancy. While working out has many significant mental health benefits, sometimes pregnancy requires you to cut back a bit.
Contact sports such as football or boxing are very risky for a pregnant person and should be avoided. They greatly increase the risk of placental abruption – the premature separation of the placenta from the uterine wall.
The hormonal changes that are present in the body during pregnancy cause the ligaments to become looser. This makes you more prone to injury, which is another reason why contact sports are activities you should avoid during pregnancy.
Activities With a Risk of Falling
After the first trimester, it’s very important for you to avoid any activity that carries the risk of falling. The reason for this is that your body’s center of gravity shifts as the belly expands. This makes it so that even a minor fall may result in injuries.
Activities Which Involve Heavy Lifting
It is imperative that you avoid heavy lifting while you’re pregnant. For most pregnant people, lifting heavy objects can increase the risk of things like:
- Pulled muscles,
- Low birth weight,
- Preterm labor.
An example of an activity like this would be moving. It’s very common for pregnant people to be moving to a bigger home to accommodate their new family members. To stay healthy during this process, you must take some precautions. The best thing you can do is avoid being a part of it altogether and rest. However, minor tasks, such as decorating, are okay if you want to contribute.
Social Activities You Should Avoid During Pregnancy
Going Out for a Drink
Alcohol crosses the placenta and can affect the fetus. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy could cause fetal alcohol syndrome. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a spectrum of conditions that may lead to the following health issues for your baby:
- Physical abnormalities,
- Intellectual disabilities,
- Behavioral problems,
- Poor growth,
- Developmental delays,
- Reduced coordination and fine motor skills.
Most researchers are not sure how much, if any, alcohol is safe to drink during pregnancy. So most doctors will recommend that pregnant people avoid alcohol altogether.
Going out for a drink with friends is, in a way, necessary for pregnant people. But it’s not the drink that’s important; it’s the socializing. If you feel like going to the bar with your friends, it’s okay. Just get a soda instead of an alcoholic drink.
Eating Out and Ordering Food
It is common for pregnant people to drastically change their diet during pregnancy. This either happens due to a change in their sense of smell or because the food makes them feel ill. And while pregnancy is a very individual journey, there are some foods that all pregnant people should avoid eating:
- Lunch meat and deli salads – may contain bacteria harmful to the fetus;
- Unwashed produce – may contain a parasite harmful to both the fetus and the pregnant person;
- Unpasteurized juice and dairy – a person’s immune system is weaker during pregnancy, so relatively common bacteria found in unpasteurized products that usually wouldn’t harm them can be harmful;
- Some soft cheeses – may contain unpasteurized dairy;
- Fish high in mercury – unusually high levels of mercury in the mother’s blood may cause brain damage or hearing and vision problems for the fetus.
- Raw meat and fish – may contain both salmonella and toxoplasmosis (they very rarely do, but it’s not worth the risk)
- Raw eggs and foods which may contain them (ex., unbaked cookie dough) – are very likely to contain salmonella.
Considering all of these risks, eating at home during pregnancy is much safer. They are the reason why one of the most considerable activities you should avoid during pregnancy is eating out. The risk isn’t worth it.
Other than avoiding these foods, choosing healthier food options is also essential. You now have to incorporate healthy eating habits into your lifestyle is a great learning opportunity. If you’re successful in learning what’s healthy and what isn’t, you can pass those healthy habits onto your child when they are born.
Hot Tubs and Saunas
While hot tubs and saunas may sound like an effective way to ease the discomfort that comes with pregnancy, they can actually cause many problems. Hot tubs and saunas can cause hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature). This may lead to congenital abnormalities.
Some other activities you should avoid during pregnancy that may cause your body temperature to get too high are:
- Hot yoga or pilates,
- Sunbathing for too long,
- Exposure to extreme heat,
- Strenuous exercise,
Other Activities to Avoid
- Drinking coffee – The reason for this is similar to the reason for avoiding alcohol. Just like alcohol, caffeine can cross the placenta and affect the fetus. Much of the research regarding this topic suggests that coffee doesn’t have to be completely cut off, just reduced to about a cup of coffee per day.
- Smoking – Smoking during pregnancy has the potential to cause harm to both the pregnant person and the fetus in a multitude of ways. A person should generally stop smoking as soon as they find out they are pregnant. Quitting can be difficult, and that’s normal. Talking to your doctor about available resources and learning how to stay positive during addiction recovery can be of great help.
- Cleaning a litter box – This one might sound funny and surprising, but it is also very important. Doing this can expose you to the risk of developing toxoplasmosis. If you were to pass toxoplasmosis to the fetus, the baby might develop severe symptoms.
As we have previously stated, most expecting mothers can carry on with the majority of their daily activities. As long as you take some of the necessary precautions, you’ll be fine. And, if you’re ever unsure of whether something is safe, make sure to check with a doctor before doing it. If you were told that you have a higher risk of preterm labor or other complications, there might be some other activities you should avoid during pregnancy that didn’t make it onto this list. Pregnancy is a beautiful and individual journey for the expected mother and the fetus that comes with individual challenges too. So make sure to stay safe, informed, and in touch with your doctor.