7 Things to Avoid During Pregnancy

pregnant woman

Becoming a first-time mother can be an incredible experience. During the nine-month journey of pregnancy, it is of utmost importance that you prioritize your well-being. This may mean making lifestyle changes and giving up certain habits or activities that you enjoy, but the joy of motherhood and the arrival of your little bundle of joy will make it all worth it.

Whether you’re a first-time mom or have had children before, taking care of yourself during pregnancy is crucial, not only for your health but also for the health of your unborn child. From avoiding certain foods to steering clear of hazardous activities, it can be overwhelming to know what’s safe and what’s not during this special time. Here are 7 things pregnant women should avoid to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy:

1. Skipping Prenatal Visits

Prenatal care is an important part of pregnancy, and regular check-ups with a healthcare provider are essential for ensuring the health and well-being of both the mother and the baby. These visits allow healthcare providers to understand your medical history and present condition, as well as monitor the mother and child’s health. This way, they can detect and treat any potential issues early on.

Skipping prenatal visits can have serious consequences for both you and your precious little one, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy. Missing these visits increases the risk of poor birth outcomes, congenital disabilities, delivery complications, and childbirth injuries. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, visit Birth Injury Justice Center and learn everything you need about childbirth injuries, causes, treatment options, and legal help.

Regular prenatal care ensures early detection and treatment of pregnancy complications to avoid premature birth, childbirth injuries, and congenital disabilities.

2. Food and Beverages to Avoid During Pregnancy

Eating healthy is important to ensure your baby gets all the nutrients they need to develop. However, certain foods and beverages can negatively affect your pregnancy and fetus development. Here’re some foods and beverages to avoid during pregnancy:


Alcohol abuse is directly linked to various congenital disabilities, fetus development problems, and psychological and behavioral issues in both mother and child. It’s recommended to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy.

Fish with High Mercury Content

Some types of fish, such as swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark, contain high levels of mercury, which can harm the developing fetus. Either limit fish consumption or choose low-mercury fish, such as salmon and tilapia.

Unpasteurized Dairy Products

Unpasteurized dairy products like raw milk, feta cheese, brie, and blue cheese may contain harmful bacteria such as listeria, which can cause infections.

Raw or Uncooked Food

Parasites, viruses, and harmful bacteria present inside semi-cooked or raw food like meat, raw eggs, seafood, sushi, and sprouts can cause food poisoning and be harmful to the developing fetus. It’s important to thoroughly cook these foods until the internal temperature reaches a safe level.

Caffeinated Foods and Beverages

Doctors recommend a safe and limited caffeine intake during pregnancy, as overconsumption can pass through the placenta and cause pregnancy complications. The recommended caffeine intake during pregnancy is up to 200 milligrams, which is equivalent to one 12-ounce cup of coffee.

Sugary and Fatty Foods

Excessive sugar intake, eating fatty foods and consuming artificial sweeteners and canned food result in excessive gestational weight gain (GWC) and other complications such as preterm birth, failed labor, and preeclampsia.

3. Risky Medication

When pregnant, you should avoid unsafe medications and supplements – both prescribed and non-prescribed. Your baby gets all their nutrients and oxygen from your blood supply, so if you take any drugs that end up in your bloodstream, they could cross the placenta and affect your baby’s health. Although some drugs are safer than others and necessary in certain cases, you need to avoid the following medications during pregnancy:

  • Prescription acne medications.
  • NSAIDs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. However, acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken on a doctor’s prescription.
  • Certain over-the-counter drugs like antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, and expectorants.
  • Antidepressants
  • Lithium for bipolar disorder
  • Seizure medications
  • Cancer chemotherapies

We recommend consulting your healthcare provider before taking any prescribed or non-prescribed medicine to avoid complications.

4. Beauty Products and Treatments

Some beauty treatments and procedures have serious repercussions on your pregnancy. These include:

  • Botox and surgical or non-surgical cosmetic or medical procedures
  • Beauty treatments that expose you to high heat or lasers
  • Skincare products containing retinoid, hydroquinone, and formaldehyde
  • Unhygienic piercing and tattoos

5. Vigorous Physical Activity

During pregnancy, it’s important to be mindful of the types of physical activity you engage in, as some types of exercise can harm you and your growing baby. Here are some types of physical activity that you should avoid during pregnancy:

  • High-impact or high-intensity exercises put too much stress on your joints and can cause uterus contractions.
  • Contact or injury-prone sports.
  • Climbing sports or activities with a high risk of falling, such as mountaineering, horseback riding, ice skating, and snowboarding.
  • Hot yoga and hot tubs can raise your body temperature to a dangerous level.
  • Extreme weightlifting exercises.
  • Scuba diving as it increases exposure to hyperbaric oxygen that affects fetal development.

Engaging in safe physical activity is essential for a healthy pregnancy and prepares your body for a normal and natural delivery process. It’s important to consult with your doctor before starting any new physical activity during pregnancy.

6. Exposure to Toxins and X-Rays

It’s crucial to be cautious of environmental toxins during pregnancy. To minimize the risk of congenital disabilities and miscarriage, avoid unnecessary X-rays and minimize exposure to lead, mercury, and pesticides. Paint fumes, fungicides, and toxic home cleansers also contain harmful toxins that can negatively affect your health and pregnancy.

7. Chronic Stress

Chronic stress can lead to increased hormone cortisol levels, which has been linked to preterm labor and low birth weight. High stress levels can also affect your mental health, making it more difficult to cope with the challenges of pregnancy.

To minimize stress, engage in self-care practices such as exercise, meditation, and deep breathing. If necessary, consider seeking help from a mental health professional to manage anxiety or depression.

The Bottom Line

Pregnancy is a special and delicate time for both the mother and the baby. By avoiding the seven things mentioned above, you can help ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy for both of you. Always consult your doctor before making any major changes to your lifestyle during pregnancy so you can make the best choices for yourself and your baby.

About Theresa Duncan

Originally from Detroit, MI, Theresa has been offering health and fitness advice for the last 30 years while working as an engineer. She decided to turn her passion into a profession, and finds nothing more satisfying than helping others reach their health and fitness goals.

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