Pregnant? Here Are Some Things You Should Avoid

Pregnancy is full of excitement but also so, so many questions. Of course, every mom-to-be wants the absolute best for her growing family, so we’re here to help a momma out by reviewing some foods, products, and lifestyle choices that are best avoided during pregnancy.

High-Mercury Fish

Mercury is a highly toxic element with no known safe element of exposure. When consumed in higher amounts, it can be harmful to your nervous system, immune system, and kidneys. For soon-to-be moms, higher amounts can lead to serious developmental problems. High-mercury fish include:


  • Tuna (specifically bigeye)
  • Swordfish
  • King mackerel
  • Marlin
  • Tilefish
  • Orange roughy
  • Shark

If you’re especially fond of fish, don’t fret; there are lower-mercury fish options. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 8-12 ounces (or two or three servings) of seafood a week during pregnancy.

  • Anchovies
  • Cod
  • Catfish
  • Herring
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Salmon
  • Tilapia
  • Trout

Certain Cleaning Products

Make sure to check the labels of cleaning products and be aware of any warnings to those who are pregnant. Follow the safety directions on the label, and anytime you’re cleaning, ensure the room is well-ventilated by opening doors and windows.

Raw Eggs

Raw eggs can be contaminated with salmonella bacteria, which can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. It’s no fun – even for healthy individuals – but in rare cases, the infection can cause uterus cramping, leading to premature birth or stillbirth.

Foods that commonly contain raw eggs include:

  • Poached eggs
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • Some homemade salad dressings
  • Homemade ice cream
  • Homemade cake icings

Intense Workouts

Before hitting the gym while you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor to make sure there are no health problems that would prevent you from exercising. Getting regular moderate exercise like walking or swimming will keep you relaxed, decrease pregnancy discomfort, and keep you strong and fit. But always listen to your body and don’t overdo it.

Raw Sprouts

No matter how badly you may be craving a big salad full of greens, raw sprouts, including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts, may not be the best choice because they could be contaminated with bacteria like E.coli and listeria. These sprouts are safe to consume when cooked through.

Prescription Acne Medications

Prescription acne treatments such as isotretinoin and spironolactone have been linked to severe congenital disabilities, so if you’re taking these, you’ll want to stop using them as soon as you find out you’re pregnant and discuss acne treatment options with your ob-gyn or dermatologist.

Beauty Treatments That Involve High-Heat

During pregnancy, you can easily overheat. The scary part is when your core body temperature goes up and stays up too long, which can cause birth defects. Tanning salons, hot stone treatments, body wraps, saunas, hot spas and steam rooms should all be avoided while pregnant.

Environmental Exposures

There are a number of things we can lump into this one. For instance, avoid unnecessary X-rays and lead, mercury, and pesticide exposure. You should also wear gloves to garden or change your cat’s litter box or wash your hands thoroughly after these activities to avoid toxoplasmosis, a disease that results from infection with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite.

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