Things to avoid during the 1st trimester
Here are things you should stay away from during your first trimester:
1. Avoid over-the-counter medications
Medicines taken by you can cross the placenta and enter the bloodstream of your baby. Hence it’s best to know the safety of any medications you’re taking during pregnancy – especially in the first trimester.
There are certain medications like anti-epileptic drugs which can cause genetic defects in the baby. If you are already on medication for a previous health condition talk to your doctor regarding its safety or alternatives.
Your doctor will replace more toxic drugs with milder ones so that the baby is affected as little as possible.
2. Be cautious with food intake
Foods to be avoided during pregnancy include raw/undercooked meat, soft cheese, seafood and raw eggs. They could be possible sources of harmful bacteria and parasite.
Bacterial infection may cause severe food poisoning. If you get infected for the first time with toxoplasmosis parasite during your first trimester of pregnancy, it can cross the placenta and harm your baby.
Keep away from seafood that is high in mercury which can damage the developing nervous system of your baby and cause developmental delays and brain damage.
3. Reduce exposure to environmental pollutants
We are exposed to lots of potentially toxic pollutants every day. Try and avoid the obvious ones as far as you can.
Limit your exposure to household cleaning products and paints which contain harmful toxins that may be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and put your baby’s health at risk.
Clean your vegetables thoroughly to rid them of the pesticides which have been linked to neural tube defects, limb deformities, etc.
According to a study, women exposed to elevated levels of air pollution (smog) in the first three months of pregnancy may be at increased risk for complications such as pre-eclampsia and premature birth.
Another study claims that pregnant women who drink water with traces of arsenic may give birth to babies who have increased odds of respiratory infections.
4. Quit smoking
When you smoke your unborn baby gets affected by the chemicals from the cigarette.
There is an increased risk for premature rupture of the amniotic sac, placenta previa (a condition where the placenta is placed in an unusual position in the uterus), miscarriage, and neonatal death.
It has also been found that newborns whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have the same nicotine levels in their bloodstream as adults who smoke. The child goes through withdrawal symptoms from the first day of its life, just like an adult would.
Passive and active smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of health and behavioural problems in the baby and is linked to infant mortality.
According to a British research, pregnant women who puff can triple their baby’s chance of developing meningitis. Chewing tobacco during pregnancy decreases the gestational age at birth and decreases birth weight.
5. Avoid alcohol
Excessive drinking impairs the mental and physical development of your baby, in what is known as fetal alcohol syndrome.
It is known to cause a range of health problems from behavioral disorders and impaired IQ to facial disfigurement in unborn babies.
It may also be a contributing factor for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Alcohol could give rise to fetal alcohol syndrome in your baby.
6. Manage stress effectively
High levels of stress can affect the unborn baby’s health and increase your chances of miscarriage.
Stress and depression stimulate the production of certain chemicals and hormones in your body that can constrict blood vessels and decrease oxygen supply to the uterus and affect your baby’s growth.
7. Stop dieting
You may end up with deficiency of iron, folic acid, vitamins and minerals which can potentially harm you and your baby.
If you are morbidly obese when you get pregnant your doctor may advise you to lose weight. But it should be done only under his/her supervision.
8. Avoid hot tubs and sauna
Stay out of saunas and hot tubs. They have been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage. They can raise your core body temperature which can cause dehydration and threaten the developing baby.