When you are pregnant for the first time, it is normal to worry about some subjects. Future moms wonder if they can eat sushi, drink their morning coffee or change the cat’s litter box and they feel guilty when they paint a room! “What if…” Here is a little guide that will help you get your head around all that. What you must keep in mind is that you don’t have to stop living because you are pregnant but it is best for you and for your baby to slightly change your lifestyle and avoid common pitfalls.
Alcohol and tobacco
You must know by now that you should not drink and smoke but I will say it one more time because it is really important for your baby. In addition to causing developmental delays and health issues in your fetus, nicotine and alcohol can make your baby addicted, even in your belly. Don’t forget that if you smoke a cigarette or drink alcohol, your baby will take the same amount as you but your weight is not the same at all. Your baby’s dose will be much more concentrated than yours. Smoking also exposes your baby to second-hand smoke and it can be as toxic as the cigarette itself.
Coffee, Tea, and sodas
Doctors will tell you to avoid caffeine as much as possible. In short, your baby will absorb caffeine and if you drink too much coffee, your baby will become irritable and uncomfortable. Some doctors also say that high caffeine intakes can cause health issues to the fetus. Most doctors agree that it is reasonable to reduce your intake to one cup a day. If you are strong-willed and can give up altogether, it’s even better! The less coffee you drink, the better your baby will feel. Tea also contains caffeine so be careful! As for sodas, they are very sweet, make you gain more weight when consumed in high quantities and contain additives and colorants that are not natural at all. So be reasonable with soda too or try your best to forget them for nine months! Water and herbal teas are pregnant women’s best friends!
In general, you can eat almost anything but you must be careful with a few exceptions such as raw meat and fish. Avoid soft cheeses (Brie, Camembert, and blue cheese) as well as raw cheeses. It is recommended to choose hard cheeses instead, or cheeses made from pasteurized milk. Drinking pasteurized milk is also safer. It will help you avoid listeriosis. Listeriosis is not a common bacteria but it can be dangerous for your baby. I also suggest avoiding buffets… Cooked meats and pates that have not been kept at the proper temperature can develop E. Coli. This bacterium is not common either but it can also be dangerous for your baby. Lastly, if you like eating liver, choose organic liver. Because the liver is a filter, if it is not organic, it can transmit several toxins to you and to your baby!
Two of the worst viral infections that can affect pregnant women are common childhood diseases: chickenpox and rubella. Chickenpox increases the risk of miscarriage in the first eight weeks of pregnancy. Between 8 and 20 weeks, it results in 1-2% cases of the congenital varicella syndrome (abnormalities affecting the limbs, eyes, skin, and brain) and causes serious growth issues in late pregnancy. If you catch rubella for the first time early in your pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage is high. If the pregnancy continues, the effects on the fetus can be severe deafness, blindness, heart defects and mental retardation. Fortunately, this is now extremely rare, since most women of childbearing age have already been infected or vaccinated. Rubella tests are part of the first prenatal blood tests. If you are not immune, you should get vaccinated as soon as you give birth. Through vaccination, mumps, measles, and polio are rarely a problem for pregnant women.