Things You Can and Can't (Or Shouldn't) Do During Pregnancy

  • Smoking and second hand smoke: If you smoke, get help trying to stop. Secondhand smoke is also dangerous for you and your baby. Ask others to smoke outside.
  • Personal care products: Reduce how much you use and to choose the safest products -- ones with fewer ingredients or the USDA Certified Organic Seal.
  • Paint fumes: Look for low VOC paints when decorating your nursery. Or have your partner or a friend paint for you.
  • Garden and lawn: Watch labels on products and try to avoid contact with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
  • Household cleansers: Basic ingredients like baking soda and vinegar can tackle most household chores. Avoid products that say poison, warning, or danger and products with unidentified "fragrance."

glass of wineAlcohol and Drugs
The placenta doesn't filter all chemicals. Substances that can pass through to your baby and can be damaging include:

  • Alcohol: Alcohol can have a variety of negative effects on your developing baby. The bottom line is researchers have never been able to establish what is a "safe" amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy.
  • Illegal drugs: The use of street drugs during pregnancy is associated with developmental impairment for the baby and pregnancy complications for the mom.
  • Use prescription or over-the-counter drugs with caution: Drugs that are safe to take when not pregnant can cause devastating effects to your baby. Talk with your midwife or doctor before using OTC drugs.

bulldogPet Precautions
From flea collars to taxoplasmosis, pet sprays to salmonella, your furry (or not so furry) friends bring challenges along with their love and companionship.

  • Reptiles: Lizards, iguanas, turtles, or snakes may transfer salmonella bacteria through their feces. Use gloves and wash well after handling.
  • Cat litter: Let your partner handle it or wear disposable gloves to lower the risk of toxoplasmosis.
  • Avoid Tick Bites: Tick bites open you to the risk of lyme disease. Proper clothing and a "tick check" after hiking reduce risk.

cooling fanDon't Overheat
Your baby doesn't have the ability to sweat and cool down in the womb. Higher temps can raise the baby's temp to dangerous levels. Try to keep your temp below 101°F.

  • Sauna and Hot Tubs: Hot tubs and hot baths have a tendency to raise your body temperature.
  • Check your core temperature during workouts every 20 minutes using a rectal thermometer. You might not feel hot, but remember your baby can't cool down by sweating. Slow down or rest if your temperature reaches 101°F.
  • Hot weather: Drink plenty of water and plan work early in the day during extreme temperatures.

dark chocolateWatch Out for Stress
Try to avoid major upheavals like moving or changing jobs while you're pregnant. If stress creeps into your life, minimize it with these relaxation tips.