What Foods, Medications, and Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy


What Foods, Medications, and Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy

What Pregnant Women Should Avoid

During pregnancy, every mother should try to keep herself and her baby as healthy and safe as possible. To do that, the mother needs to take certain precautions when eating, moving, working, and socializing.

Below you will find a list of foods, drinks, medicines, vitamins, illnesses, work conditions, and exercises to avoid during pregnancy to keep you and your baby safe and healthy.

Foods to Avoid When Pregnant

During pregnancy, women need to be very aware of what they eat. They are no longer eating just for themselves; anything that is ingested makes its way to the baby as well. To keep the mother and baby healthy, there are certain foods to be avoided during pregnancy.

Here are some foods to avoid and why pregnant women should avoid them:

  • Foods that may contain salmonella: Raw eggs, raw poultry, Caesar salad dressing, cake batter, cookie dough, hollandaise sauce, sunny side up eggs, homemade ice cream
  • Foods that may contain listeriosis: Soft cheeses, undercooked poultry, red meat, seafood, hotdogs
  • Fish that may contain mercury: shark, swordfish, tuna
  • Fish that may contain parasites or viruses: Freshwater fish, sushi dishes, raw shellfish, ceviche, and mahimahi
  • Herbs that cause distress to mother and baby: Echinacea, ginger, raspberry leaf, jasmine, arborvitae, caraway, pennyroyal, wormwood, etc.

What Can You Eat While Pregnant?

You can eat anything healthy for both you and the baby but keep in mind that you should not double your food intake. You should need approximately 300 calories a day, depending on your doctor’s orders.

Keep your diet balanced and nutritional, eating as many fruits and vegetables as you can. You can occasionally indulge in some sweets but be careful not to have too many.

Drinks to Avoid

There are a few drinks to avoid when pregnant to protect the health and well-being of your baby.

  • Alcohol (beer, wine, distilled spirits): There is no set safe amount of alcohol for a pregnant woman to drink. The risk with alcohol is that it can cause FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) so it’s best to avoid all alcohol. Of course, some say that a little wine once in a while might be okay, but in my opinion, why take the risk?
  • Unpasteurized milk, juice, or eggnog: Pasteurization is a process used to reduce the amounts of microorganisms that could make people sick, namely E.coli, listeria, salmonella, and toxoplasmosis. Make sure any milk, fruit juice, or eggnog you drink is properly pasteurized to remove the microorganisms that could make you sick and potentially damage your baby’s neurological system.

Medications to Avoid During Pregnancy

Medications taken by pregnant women do cross the placenta and can affect the growing baby. Any medication taken by the mother can be harmful to the baby, especially if directions are not followed.

Two medications you will be told to avoid are aspirin and ibuprofen, which work by thinning the blood. Avoid taking these for pain.

Other medications to avoid are:

  • Herbal pills, minerals, amino acids, ‘natural’ medicines: Not approved for pregnancy
  • Regular vitamins: Too strong for pregnant women

If you have a condition that requires medication, speak with your doctor. You may have to either continue taking the medication while being monitored or stop taking the medication.

What Can Pregnant Women Take for a Headache?

If you develop a headache while pregnant, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed. Other remedies include using a cold compress on your neck, a gentle massage, and resting when possible.

Work Conditions to Avoid While Pregnant

Most pregnant women can work until they go into labour, but it’s best to be careful when taking on certain tasks or handling materials.

There may come a time when you need to discuss your duties with your boss. Do not be afraid to do so; pregnant women are protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Here are some things to consider:

  • Sitting or standing for long periods. Sitting or standing for long periods can cause muscle strain and cramps, and restrict circulation. Take breaks every 30 minutes.
  • Being exposed to harmful chemicals. Fumes from chemicals can be harmful to you and the baby. Wear the proper protective gear when working with chemicals and talk with your doctor about the risks.
  • Lifting heavy items. Lifting heavy items can cause unnecessary back strain, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters when you’re already carrying extra weight.
  • Travelling. Travelling in the first two trimesters shouldn’t be a problem, but once you enter into the 3rd trimester, you will want to stay closer to home. Plus, sitting in a car or on a plane for long periods isn’t good for circulation.

How to Avoid Fatigue During Pregnancy

  • How to Fight Fatigue While Pregnant
    Pregnancy fatigue is often one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Learn how to fight fatigue during pregnancy and keep your pregnant body feeling refreshed.

Sports and Exercises to Avoid When Pregnant

It is very important to get exercise during pregnancy, but there are a few exercises and sports to avoid.

  • Exercises that require you to lay flat on your back. When you lay on your back, especially in mid to late pregnancy, you are putting pressure on the vena cava, a vein that carries blood back to your heart from the lower half of your body. If you restrict the circulation of blood in that manner, you are also restricting the flow of blood to your baby.
  • Sit-ups, double leg lifts. Aside from the difficulties that you would have simply from the obstruction of your large belly, these exercises require you to lay on your back.
  • Exercises that require jerky, bouncy, or high-impact moves. Any exercises that cause you to move suddenly can cause you to fall and potentially harm the baby.
  • Contact sports. This should be self-explanatory, but any sports that require you to be in contact with an object or other people should be avoided so that neither you nor the baby is injured.
  • Downhill snow skiing, snowboarding, in-line skating, skateboarding, horseback riding, or gymnastics. These sports may cause you to fall and greatly injure yourself or the baby.
  • Water skiing, diving, or surfing. Hitting water surfaces at a high speed can harm you or the baby.
  • Scuba diving. The deeper you go in the water, the more pressure is put on you and your baby. This pressure is not good for the baby and can cause decompression sickness, which is when gases in the body can form bubbles, disrupting skeletal, muscular, and neurological systems in the body.

Best Exercise for Pregnancy

Walking is the best exercise for pregnancy as it poses almost zero risk to the mother and baby. Walking is an aerobic exercise that anyone can do. It helps to improve circulation, helps to prevent fatigue, and helps with the movement in the digestive tract, which is all perfect for a pregnant body.

The only equipment required: A good pair of walking shoes!


Remember, if you are in doubt about anything you think you should avoid, call your doctor for clarification. He or she will be able to give you the most accurate information concerning your particular health condition or question.

Have a healthy pregnancy!

Originally created on ©ThePracticalMommy


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