Pregnancy Don'ts

January 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Eat right ? exercise ? sleep well. Many pregnant women know what they should do. But what's off limits? Here are five things pregnant women may want to avoid.In just a few days, Anne Kush will have a 2 year old and a newborn. With a new baby comes new concerns.

"I'm guessing that pretty much every mom worries," Kush told Ivanhoe. "I don't know. I know I do."

Like most moms-to-be, Kush has heard a lot about what she shouldn't do.

"Some people tell you there's certain exercises you can't do, foods that you shouldn't eat, and things like that," Kush said.

The latest research suggests pregnant women may want to steer clear of too much caffeine. Those who consumed 200 milligrams or more a day had twice the risk for miscarriage.

"Aim for less than 100 milligrams a day," Christine Isaacs, M.D., an OB/GYN at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, Va., explained.

Researchers from the Netherlands found eating peanuts every day during pregnancy raises your child's risk for asthma by almost 50 percent! Experts say limit your nut intake to three servings a week.

Most know alcohol is a no-no during pregnancy, but a new study shows the effects start very early. The risk for a premature baby doubled even if a mother stopped drinking before the second trimester.

"Binge drinking at any point, before, during or after pregnancy is not advised," Dr. Isaacs said.

One study found women exposed to high levels of hairspray in the workplace were up to three-times more likely to have babies with a genital birth defect. Experts say it's not time to give up your spray ? just use common sense.

"In areas where high levels of hairspray are used, make sure there's good ventilation, the windows are open," Dr. Isaacs explained.

Lastly are water bottles. In animal studies, those exposed to the chemical BPA are more likely to have offspring with fertility defects.

"This is a hot topic at the moment and there's a lot of research and investigation going into the use of water bottles," Dr. Isaacs said. "Like all things in pregnancy, they should do it in moderation."

Kush ate better, exercised more and gave up caffeine.

"You worry until, you know, until you see the child, until you know that everything checks out okay," Kush said.

She's hoping her healthy habits will pay off for her new baby boy.

There are several medications out there that shouldn't be taken during pregnancy. Some, like antidepressants, may cause heart problems in babies. Others, like a common epilepsy drug, may increase the risk of autism. A recent study also shows a woman's risk for premature birth quadruples if she consumes flaxseed oil in the last two trimesters of pregnancy.

If you would like more information, please contact:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's National Women's Health Information Center
(800) 994-9662
http://www.womenshealth.gov


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