Staying Safe During Pregnancy: What Birth Moms Need to Know

Many women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant may feel like they don’t have the resources to know what to do to care for themselves or their baby during pregnancy. You might have a lot of questions, and people you know may give you advice on things you should and shouldn’t do during pregnancy. 

Some things that aren’t safe for you to do when pregnant. There are other things that you can and should continue to do during pregnancy, even though many people mistakenly believe they could be harmful. Here’s what you need to know about keeping yourself and your baby safe during your pregnancy.  

Strenuous Activity

In decades past, many people believed that pregnant women should simply rest as much as they could. Women were prevented from lifting heavy loads or even walking far distances. However, modern research shows that moderate exercise is healthy for you during pregnancy, and exercise is perfectly safe for the baby. However, you should know about some risks. 

For example, if you are teenager currently playing sports for a school team, you need to speak with a school counselor about your pregnancy and let your coach know. Some sports, like track and field, are fine to continue as long as you are healthy. Others like soccer, volleyball, and softball are riskier because of the chance of injury or collision.  

You also might not be able to continue with certain activities as your pregnancy progresses. For example, some pregnant women enjoy riding a bike, but this can get harder to do when your center of gravity changes.

Be sure you talk to a doctor about any concerns you might have. If you experience abdominal pain, dizziness, breathing problems, or if you see lights in your vision, you should stop activity until you have been seen by a health professional.

Working

Many birth moms have full or part-time jobs to try and make ends meet. Working while pregnant is usually perfectly fine, but you have some things to keep in mind.

Fatigue

You may feel more tired than usual at work, especially during the first trimester. If you have trouble staying awake or feeling energized, try not to rely on caffeine too much. A limited amount (less than 200mg) is generally considered safe. One cup of coffee (or a similar amount of caffeinated soda) daily should be your limit.

To help with tiredness, try to get more sleep when you are not at school or work. You might go to bed an hour earlier each night, or take a 20 minute power nap in the afternoon.    

Foot and Joint Pain

If you spend a lot of time on your feet, you should try to wear supportive shoes as your pregnancy progresses. This can help with joint pain and swelling in your feet. Compression stockings can also help with swelling and foot pain. 

If you spend a lot of time sitting, like at a desk job, you can prevent strain on your legs by getting up every so often to walk around. If you can, try to sit with good posture to help reduce strain on your back.  

Exposure

Some jobs require the use of chemicals, industrial strength cleaners, or other strong materials. Use increased caution when you’re working with paint thinners, lead, oil-based paint sealers, pesticides, and cleaning products. Wear gloves, long sleeves, pants, eye protection, and a breathing mask when working in an environment that might expose you to toxins. 

Wash your hands often if you work in food care or hospitality to prevent illness.   

Food Habits

More people are aware of things they can and can’t eat during pregnancy, but some girls are surprised at some of the things that are not as safe. Be sure to avoid:

  • Alcohol. Some people who will tell you a little is okay now and then, but for the safety of the baby, pregnant women should not drink at all. 
  • Sushi and any raw fish. Some sushi, like those rolls made with cooked crab meat, are safe, but any with raw fish could risk food poisoning, which is much more serious when you are pregnant. 
  • Raw sprouts. These are also a risky food for food poisoning, so leave them off your sandwiches.  
  • Fish. Some fish types are fine for pregnancy, but others are high in mercury. Swordfish, marlin, tuna, and other predatory fishes have high levels of mercury.
    Salmon is usually safe.  

Low-income mothers can often receive assistance for healthy foods during pregnancy. Your local WIC office can provide classes on nutrition during pregnancy and give vouchers for wholesome foods like whole-grain breads, cheese, and fresh vegetables and fruits. 

Hygiene

Your basic hygiene routine can stay the same for the most part during pregnancy. However, you should not go tanning or use tanning lotions when pregnant, nor should you use any herbal supplements without speaking to your doctors. Herbal skin care regimens and essential oils can seem healthy, but some are still not tested or deemed safe for pregnant women.  For more information on preparing for adoption and taking care of yourself during pregnancy, contact us at A Child’s Dream.

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