Pregnancy Information Guide

Things You Should Not Do While Pregnant

Besides the obvious (like skydiving), steer clear of the following things so you can help keep you and your baby safe and healthy.

• Don't eat fish with lots of mercury. Get the low-down on what fish to eat and what fish to avoid when pregnant.

• Don't disregard food borne illness. Eat, cook, handle and clean food safely! For both mother and baby, food borne illness can cause serious health problems - or even death. Follow these simple food safety tips to keep yourself and your baby safe.

• Don't use chemicals. Products including herbicides, pesticides, paint, stains, and some cleaning solutions may be harmful to your baby. If you must use these things, wear gloves, a mask, and keep the room well-ventilated.

• Don't clean or change a cat's litter box. This could put you at risk for an infection called toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite that cats can carry in their feces. Toxoplasmosis can harm a fetus.

• Don't take very hot baths, hot tubs, or saunas. High temperatures can be harmful to the fetus, or cause you to faint.

• Don't use scented feminine hygiene products. Pregnant women should avoid scented sprays, sanitary napkins, and bubble bath. These products might irritate your vaginal area, and increase your risk of a urinary tract infection or yeast infection.

• Don't douche. Douching can irritate the vagina, force air into the birth canal and increase the increase the risk of infection. Find out why you should always ask your doctor before douching.

• Don't have optional x-rays. X-rays are a form of radiation that is linked to a very small risk of cancer for an unborn baby. But x-rays are usually safe during pregnancy. So if your doctor says you need x-rays for a health problem you should follow her advice. But sometimes doctors can use other tests in place of x-rays. And other times, x-rays can wait until after the baby is born.

• Don't smoke tobacco. Tell your doctor if you smoke. Quitting is hard, but you can do it. Ask your doctor for help. Smoking during pregnancy passes nicotine and cancer-causing drugs to your baby. Smoke also keeps your baby from getting needed nourishment and raises the risk of stillbirth and premature birth (a small baby born too early).

• Don't drink alcohol. Stop drinking alcohol if you drink it regularly. Experts are still unsure of the exact amount of alcohol needed to cause problems in your baby. But, both drinking every day and drinking a lot of alcohol once in a while during pregnancy can harm the baby.

• Don't use illegal drugs. Tell your doctor if you are using drugs. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, speed (amphetamines), barbiturates, and LSD are very dangerous for you and your baby.

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