Pregnancy is a wonderful state full of the joy and excitement of expecting a new human being. Moving from expectation to reality, however, takes an average of 40 long weeks. During this period, vigilance and moderation are key virtues every pregnant woman should cultivate. This involves quitting certain habits.
Medication misuse and drug abuse
These are dangerous habits in any situation, but the danger is several times greater in pregnancy, especially during the first three months (first trimester) of pregnancy. The first trimester of pregnancy marks the period when delicate organs are in the process of being formed – organogenesis, in medical parlance. Do not assume that a medication that you were prescribed before pregnancy is safe for you and/or your baby if you become pregnant. A good example of this is the hypertension drug, lisinopril that is not recommend in pregnant women. Some antidepressants and antibiotics can also expose your growing baby to toxic levels of chemicals. Get your doctor’s approval before taking any medication.
Alcohol consumption is unsafe for pregnant women. And don't try to hide under the guise of "safe drinking" and "not drinking too much" because both terms are futile attempts to justify the dangerous habit. There are no known safe alcohol consumption limits, no safe alcohol consumption time, and no safe alcohol type during pregnancy.
Tobacco smoking: All forms including cigarette smoking are neither safe for mother nor for her unborn baby. Would you deliberately harm your unborn child? That's exactly what you do when you smoke during pregnancy. Did you know that smoking damages your unborn child's tissues including their lungs and brain? Did you know that smoking increases your chances of having a baby with birth defects such as a cleft lip? Are you also aware of the link between smoking and miscarriage?
Did you also know that inhaling exhaled cigarette smoke does even more harm? So, don't smoke during pregnancy and stay away from smokers and cigarette smoke during pregnancy.
You may be a lover of fish and there's no reason not to be! But, you should avoid certain fishes with high mercury content. These include whales and shark. This is because of the harmful effects of mercury on your body and your unborn baby's developing brain. You should choose oily, Omega-3 – rich fish, such as salmon and catfish because it supports your baby's developing brain. Fish like tilapia also contain safer levels of mercury and will make a good treat.
Raw eggs, uncooked meat, or uncanned smoked seafood
Pregnant women should not consume raw eggs or uncooked meat for one simple reason- this can cause potentially life-threatening infections. Raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella while uncooked meat can be the source of Toxoplasma. Avoid uncanned smoked seafood because of the high contamination with Listeria. Canned smoked seafood is safe. Avoid eating uncooked food or ingesting raw eggs under the guise of some unsubstantiated health benefits!
Take-home message: Pregnancy is wonderful with lots of expectations for the unborn child. Pregnancy involves many processes from developing your baby’s organs to building them up and preparing them for life outside the womb. Any habit that disrupts this chain of events puts your baby at risk. Identify these habits and put a stop to them.