Ditch the bad behaviour! It’s only for 40 weeks of your life, but when you’re finally presented with your healthy bundle of joy at the end of it, you’ll be glad you made the following sacrifices:
1. STOP SMOKING
Smoking is very harmful to you, but it’s especially harmful to your baby during pregnancy. The most serious complications of smoking during pregnancy – including stillbirth, premature delivery, and low birth weight – can be linked to nicotine and carbon monoxide (the two main cigarette ingredients).
These toxins work together to reduce your baby’s supply of oxygen. So if you want your baby to thrive in utero, stub out that ciggie (and never take it up again). Your baby and your body will thank you.
2. SKIP THE WINE
There is no amount of alcohol that is known to be safe during pregnancy. Therefore it is safest not to touch any alcohol during pregnancy.
Because alcohol crosses the placenta, any alcohol you consume is absorbed through your bloodstream and reaches your foetus within 20 minutes. It’s poisonous and toxic to your baby and it may affect any of his or her organs – with the brain being the most vulnerable.
Other effects include facial deformities, heart defects and mental and/or behavioural problems. Foetal alcohol syndrome (from drinking heavily while pregnant) causes irreversible and lifelong damage.
3. EAT WISELY
The rule of thumb is if it’s raw don’t eat it (unless it’s fresh fruit or veggies and then wash them well beforehand).
Uncooked seafood (sushi) and rare or undercooked beef (biltong) or chicken should be avoided because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, such as salmonella (which also occurs in raw eggs), or contracting toxoplasmosis.
Deli meats and unpasteurised foods (for example, soft cheeses such as Camembert and Brie cheese) have also been known to be contaminated with listeria – a genus of bacteria that can cause miscarriage and has the ability to cross the placenta, potentially infecting your baby and leading to infection or blood poisoning.
4. NO PILL-POPPING
All over-the-counter medications such as painkillers (except Panado), antihistamines, anti-inflammatories and decongestants should be avoided.
However, if you’re on prescription medication for allergies, depression or a chronic illness, then you need to speak to your caregiver about what you’re taking. Sometimes, the effects of stopping your medication can be more dangerous than simply adjusting your dosage – get professional advice.
Simply riding out the flu is also not a good idea for your growing baby.