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孕妇不宜吃的20种食物(附孕妇饮食禁忌及Top Pregnancy Hazards)
作者:home99
发表时间:2008-09-10
更新时间:2008-09-10
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写给准妈妈1
宝宝护理与成长3
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看到不少JM关心怀孕时的饮食问题, 有些很可能会影响到宝宝的食物, 还是要尽量少吃或不吃比较好. 现将我看到的有关资料贴出来, 供JMs参考啊! 祝JMs好孕!


一、容易流产食物:

1.螃蟹:它味道鲜美,但其性寒凉,有活血祛瘀之功,故对孕妇不利,尤其是蟹爪,
有明显的堕胎作用。
    
2.甲鱼:虽然它具有滋阴益肾的功效,但是甲鱼性味咸寒,有着较强的通血络、散瘀
块作用,因而有一定堕胎之弊,尤其是鳖甲的堕胎之力比鳖肉更强。
    
3.薏米:是一种药食同源之物,中医认为其质滑利。
    
药理实验证明,薏仁对子宫平滑肌有兴奋作用,可促使子宫收缩,因而有诱发流产的可
能;     

4.马齿苋:它既是草药又可作菜食用,其药性寒凉而滑利。实验证明,马齿苋汁对于
子宫有明显的兴奋作用,能使子宫收缩次数增多、强度增大,易造成流产。

二、对胎儿有害的食物
    
5.罐头食品
    
罐头食品在制作过程中都加入一定量的添加剂,如人工合成色素、香精、防腐剂等。尽
管这些添加剂对健康成人影响不大,但孕妇食入过多则对健康不利。另外,罐头食品营
养价值并不高,经高温处理后,食物中的维生素和其他营养成分都已受到一定程度的破
坏。
  
6.菠菜
    
人们一直认为菠菜含丰富的铁质,具有补血功能,所以被当做孕期预防贫血的佳蔬。其
实,菠菜中含铁不多,而是含有大量草酸。草酸可影响锌、钙的吸收。孕妇体内钙、锌
的含量减少,影响胎儿的生长发育。
  
7.巧克力和山楂
    
过多食用巧克力会使孕妇产生饱腹感,因而影响食欲,其结果是身体发胖,而必需的营
养却缺乏。孕妇较喜欢吃酸东西,山楂便成了首选果品。山楂对子宫有兴奋作用,孕妇
过食可使子宫收缩,导致流产的可能,故要少吃。
  
8.猪肝
    
芬兰和美国已向孕妇提出了应少吃猪肝的忠告。
    
因为在给牲畜迅速催肥的现代饲料中,添加了过多的催肥剂,其中维生素A含量很高,
致使它在动物肝脏中大量蓄积。孕妇过食猪肝,大量的维生素A便会很容易进入体内,
对胎儿发育危害很大,甚至会致畸。

9.久存的土豆
    
土豆中含有生物碱,存的越久的土豆生物碱含量越高。过多食用这种土豆,可影响胎儿
正常发育,导致胎儿畸形。当然,人的个体差异很大,并非每个人食用后都会出现异常,
但孕妇还是不吃为好,特别是不要吃长期贮存的土豆。
  
10.热性作料
    
孕妇吃热性作料小茴香、八角、花椒、胡椒、桂皮、五香粉等容易消耗肠道水分,
    
使胃肠分泌减少,造成肠道干燥、便秘。发生便秘后,孕妇必然用力屏气解便,使腹压
增加,压迫子宫内的胎儿,易造成胎动不安、早产等不良后果。
  
11.味精
    
味精的主要成分是谷氨酸钠,血液中的锌与其结合后便从尿中排出,味精摄入过多会消
耗大量的锌,导致孕妇体内缺锌。而锌是胎儿生长发育之必需品,故孕妇要少吃。
  
12.桂圆、荔枝:性温热易致胎热;
  
13.石榴:贫血者要少吃;
  
14.腌制酸菜:含有亚硝胺,可导致胎儿畸变。
  
15.西瓜:每天吃水果不宜超过250g,限量吃西瓜,因为西瓜是利尿剂,容易造成孕妇
脱水。

16.饮浓茶。
    
英国的一位医生发现茶叶中含有不少氟化物成分,一杯浓茶中氟化物含量可达1.25毫克。
如果用来喂养孕鼠,则发现所生小鼠有骨骼方面的畸形,氟对胎儿的危害虽然尚未肯
定,但还是不饮浓茶为好。孕期饮浓茶,不仅易患缺铁性贫血,影响胎儿的营养物质供
应,由于浓茶内含有咖啡因,还会增加孕妇的心跳和排尿次数,增加孕妇的心脏和肾脏
负担,有损母体和胎儿的健康。>>孕妇应少饮或不饮茶
  
17.饮咖啡和可乐型饮料。
    
咖啡和可乐的主要成分为咖啡因、可乐宁等生物碱。咖啡因和可乐宁是一种兴奋中枢神
经的药物。据测定,一瓶340克的可乐型饮料中含咖啡因50~80 毫克,如果一次饮用含
量达1克以上的咖啡因饮料,就会导致中枢神经系统兴奋,表现为躁动不安、呼吸加快、
肌肉震颤、心动过速、期外收缩及失眠、眼花、耳鸣等。即使服用1克以下,由于对
胃黏膜的刺激,也会出现恶心、呕吐、眩晕、心悸及心前区疼痛等中毒症状。胎儿对咖
啡因尤为敏感,咖啡因能迅速通过胎盘而作用于胎儿,使胎儿受到不良影响。有人对孕
鼠注射咖啡因实验证实,仔鼠易发生腭裂、脑膜膨出、脊柱裂、无下颌、无眼、骨骼异
常、矮小、四肢畸形等现象。为了下一代的健康,孕妇应当慎饮或禁饮咖啡及可乐型饮
料。
  
18.饮酒。
    
研究表明,孕妇饮酒是造成婴儿畸形和智力迟钝的重要原因。这是因为任何微量酒精都
可以毫无阻挡地通过胎盘而进入胎儿体内,使得胎儿体内的酒精浓度和母体内酒精浓度
一样。法国医学博士曾对127名有饮酒癖的妇女所生的孩子进行观察,发现他们都有共
向的缺陷:单眼皮,即使双眼皮也不明显,鼻子扁平,内侧眼角眼皮外翻,脸蛋扁平且
窄小,鼻沟模糊,上嘴唇薄且紧,下巴短。这种受酒精毒害、面部发育不健全的孩子约
占饮酒母亲所生孩子的1/3。更为严重的是酒精对大脑和心脏的危害,孕妇饮酒导致婴
儿患心脏病的约占30%。孕妇饮酒过多,生下的孩子不久就夭折的屡见不鲜。对死婴的
解剖结果表明,其大脑不仅小于正常儿,而且脑发育不全或呈明显畸形状态。不少国家
曾对胎儿期受酒精毒害的儿童进行智力测验,发现他们的智商都低于一般水平,大多数
表现为反应迟钝、智力低下或者白痴。

19.孕妇忌贪吃冷饮

20.孕妇谨慎食用土豆制成食品


★★ 孕妇饮食禁忌

1.想要孩子的夫妻忌饮“可乐”

美国哈佛大学医学院的科学家们,对目前出售的三种不同配方的可口可乐饮料,进
行了杀伤精子的试验,得出的结论是,新婚男子饮用可乐型饮料,会直接伤害精子,影
响男子的生育能力。

若受损伤的精子一旦与卵子结合,可能会导致胎儿畸形或先天不足。

医学家们将成活的精子加入到一定量的可乐饮料中,一分钟后测定精子的成活率。试
验表明,新型配方的可乐饮料能杀死58%的精子,而早期配方的可乐型饮料可全部杀死
精子。

他们对新婚女子饮用可乐型饮料也提出了忠告,奉劝她们少饮或不饮为佳。因为多数可
乐型饮料都含有咖啡因,它在体内很容易通过胎盘的吸收进入胎儿体内,危及胎儿的大
脑、心脏等重要器官,同样会使胎儿致畸或患先天性痴呆。

因此,专家门建议新婚夫妇以及想要孩子的夫妻,除应禁忌烟酒外,还不宜饮用可乐型
饮料。

2.孕妇不宜营养过剩

孕妇适当地改善饮食,增加营养,可以增强孕妇体质,促进胎儿发育。但若营养过剩,
危害非浅。

单纯地追求营养,使营养过剩,结果孕妇出现血压偏高,胎儿过大 (超过3500克,成为
巨大儿)。我国孕产妇死亡率为0.488‰,其主要原因是妊娠高血压引起的;另一原因是
“巨大儿”造成的难产,分娩期延长,引起产后大出血。因此,孕妇不宜营养过剩。

3.孕妇不宜只吃精制米面

人体中含有氢、碳、氮、氧、磷、钙等ll种多量元素(占人体总重量的99.95%), 还有
铁、锰、钴、铜、锌、碘、钒、氟等14种微量元素(只占体重的0.01%)。这些元素虽然
在体内的比重极小,但却是人体中必不可少的,一旦供应不足便可产生一系列疾病,甚
至出现死亡。

人体必需的微量元素,对孕妇、乳母和胎儿来说更需要,因为他们缺乏微量元素时会
引起更严重的后果。人们在生活中注意不偏食,尤其是孕妇,尽可能以“完整食品”(
指未经细加工过的食品,或经部分精制的食品)作为热量的主要来源。例如,少吃精制
大米和精制面等。因为“完整食品”中含有人体所必须的各种微量元素(铬、锰、锌等)
及维生素Bl、B6、E等,它们在精制加工过程中常常被损失掉,如果孕妇偏食精米、精
面,则易患营养缺乏症。

4.孕妇不要过多喝茶

孕妇如果喝茶太多、太浓,特别是饮用浓红茶,对胎儿会造成危害。

茶叶中含有2~5%的咖啡因, 每500毫升浓红茶水大约含咖啡因0.06毫克,如果每日喝
5杯浓茶, 就相当服用0.3~0.35毫克的咖啡因。咖啡因具有兴奋作用,服用过多会刺
激胎动增加,甚至危害胎儿的生长发育。日本专家的调查也证实,孕妇若每天饮5杯浓
红茶,就可能使新生儿体重减轻。

此外,茶叶中还含有多量的鞣酸,鞣酸可与孕妇食物中的铁元素,结合成一种不能被
机体吸收的复合物。孕妇如果过多地饮用浓茶,还有引起贫血的可能,也将给胎儿造成
先天性缺铁性贫血的隐患。科学家们进行过多次对照试验。用三氯化铁溶液作为铁质来
源给人服用,发现饮白开水者铁的吸收率为21.7%,而饮浓茶水者,铁的吸收率仅为6.
2%。 因此,孕期的妇女最好不要饮茶或饮少量淡茶为宜。

5.孕妇忌喝烈性酒

据美国的统计数字,因母亲怀孕期间饮酒而造成婴儿畸形,每年大约有5万人。医生将
这种因孕妇饮酒给胎儿造成的严重损害,称为胎儿酒精综合征。据调查,在美国所有的
智力迟钝者当中,胎儿酒精综合征就占了20%,因而成为威胁美国儿童智力发育的第一
位疾病。胎儿酒精综合征对婴儿的损害非常大。因为,酒精不像巴比妥类和鸦片类药物
那样,只影响中枢神经的发育,它对身体任何部位的组织细胞都能造成损害,从而引起
发育迟缓,颜面畸形,智能低下等严重后果。由于怀孕最初3个月,正是胎儿形成的重
要阶段,这时饮酒,对胎儿的损害特别严重。整个孕
期都贯穿了胎儿大脑的发育过程,胎儿生长的高峰是在妊娠的6个月以后,这时如继续
饮酒,将会给胎儿带来更严重的损害。

在妊娠初期的1~2个月,孕妇即使少量饮用一些含酒精饮料,也会影响胎儿发育及出生
后的智力。因此,孕妇不要喝烈性酒,最好是其它酒也不喝。

育龄妇女在孕前有饮酒习惯者,如在计划怀孕前就停止饮酒,其所生的子女可免遭酒精
的危害。

6.孕妇不宜多食酸性食物

—般来说,妇女在怀孕初期,常会出现恶心、呕吐等反应,而我国民间历来有用酸性食
物来缓解孕期呕吐的做法,甚至有用酸性药物止呕的做法。这些方法是不可取的。

近年来,国外研究指出,酸性食物和药物是导致畸胎的元凶之一。研究人员分别测定
了不同时期胎儿组织和母体血液的酸碱度,认为,在妊娠的最初半个月左右,不食或少
食酸性食物或含酸性的药物(如维生素C、阿司匹林等)为佳。因为,大量的酸性食品,
可使体内碱度下降,容易引起疲乏、无力。长时间的酸性体质,不仅容易使母体罹患某
些疾病,更重要的是会因此而影响胎儿正常、健康地生长发育,甚至可导致胎儿畸形。
因此,孕妇不宜过多食用酸性食物。

7.孕妇不宜多吃油条

在美国长岛地区,长期流行着一种震颤麻痹性神经系统疾病,后经过科学家试验,发现
当地土壤中含铝的成分高得惊人。又有人用含铝高的饲料喂养动物或直接把铝注入猫的
脑内,结果这些动物都变成了痴呆。也有科学家解剖了一些因痴呆而死亡的病人,同样
发现其大脑中含有高浓度的铝元素,最高者可达正常人的30倍以上。由此判断铝的超量
对人的大脑是极为不利的。

在油条的制作时,须加入一定量明矾,而明矾正是一种含铝的无机物。炸油条时,每
500克面粉就要用15克明矾,也就是说,如果孕妇每天吃两根油条,就等于吃了3克明
矾,这样天天积蓄起来,其摄入的铝相当惊人了。这些明矾中含的铝通过胎盘,侵入胎
儿的大脑,会使其形成大脑障碍,增加痴呆儿的机率。

8.孕妇不宜吃桂圆

桂圆中含有葡萄糖、维生素、蔗糖等物质,营养丰富,有补心安神、养血益脾之效。但
性温大热,一切阴虚内热体质及患热性病者均不宜食用。妇女怀孕后,阴血偏虚,阴虚
则滋生内热,因此孕妇往往有大便干燥、口干而胎热、肝经郁热的症侯。

我国医学一贯主张胎前宜清热凉血,桂圆性甘温,如孕妇食用桂圆,不仅不能保胎,反
而易出现漏红、腹痛等先兆流产症状。

因此,孕妇是不宜吃桂圆的。


9.孕妇不宜多吃菠菜

90年前,由于印刷上的错误,把菠菜含铁量的小数点右移了一位数,从此人们一直都认
为菠菜含有大量的铁,具有补血功能,把菠菜当做孕妇、儿童、病人理想的补血食品。
其实,菠菜中铁的含量并不多,其主要成分是草酸,而草酸对锌、钙有着不可低估的破
坏作用。

锌和钙是人体不可缺少的微量元素,如果人体缺锌,人就会感到食欲不振、味觉下降;
儿童一旦缺钙,有可能发生佝偻病,出现鸡胸、罗圈腿以及牙齿生长迟缓等现象。如果
孕妇过多食用菠菜,无疑对胎儿发育不利。

★★ What Are the Top Pregnancy Hazards?

You should be particularly mindful of a handful of things during your pregnancy, some of which are more harmful than others. Your doctor (or other health care provider) will likely talk to you about — or give you information on — which should be avoided altogether, dramatically reduced, and/or carefully considered during pregnancy.

Hazardous or Harmless?
● Alcohol
● Caffeine
● Certain Foods
● The Litter Box
● Medications
● Recreational Drugs
● Smoking
● Artificial Sweeteners
● Computer Monitors
● Flying
● Hair Dyes
● High-Impact Exercise
● Household Chemicals
● Bug Sprays
● Lead
● Microwaves
● Overheating
● Tanning
● Sex
● Drinking Water
● Teeth Whitening
● Vaccinations
● X-Rays

● Alcohol
Should I avoid it? Yes! Although it may seem harmless to have a glass of wine at dinner or a mug of beer out with friends, no one has determined what is a "safe amount" of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is caused by the consumption of a large amount of alcohol during pregnancy. What that amount is versus a safe amount is really not known. Because of the uncertainty, it's always wise to err on the side of caution and not drink any alcohol at all while you're pregnant.

What are the risks to my baby? One of the most common known causes of mental and physical birth defects, alcohol produces more severe abnormalities in a developing fetus than heroin, cocaine, or marijuana.

Alcohol is easily passed along to the baby, who is less able to eliminate alcohol than the mother. That means an unborn baby tends to develop a high concentration of alcohol, which stays in the baby's system for longer periods than it would in the mother's. And moderate alcohol intake, as well as periodic binge drinking, can possibly damage a baby's developing nervous system.

What can I do about it? If you had a drink or two before you even knew you were pregnant (as many women do), don't worry too much about it. But your best bet is to not drink any more alcohol for the rest of your pregnancy.

If you're an alcoholic or think you may have a drinking problem, be sure to talk to your doctor about it. He or she needs to know how much alcohol you've consumed and when during your pregnancy to get a better idea of how your unborn baby may have been affected. Your doctor may also be able to start you on a path to getting the help you need to stop drinking — for your sake and your baby's.

● Caffeine
Should I avoid and/or limit it? Yes. It's wise to cut down or eliminate caffeine intake. Studies indicate that caffeine consumption of more than 150 milligrams a day (about 1 1/2 cups of coffee) puts the pregnancy at higher risk. Less than that amount is probably safe.

What are the risks to my baby? High caffeine consumption has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.

What can I do about it? If you're having a hard time cutting out coffee cold turkey, here's how you can start:
――Cut your consumption down to one or two cups a day.
――Gradually reduce the amount by combining decaffeinated coffee with regular coffee.
――Eventually cut out the regular coffee altogether.

And remember that caffeine is not limited to coffee. Green and black tea, cola, and other soft drinks contain caffeine. Try switching to decaffeinated products (which may still have some caffeine, but in much smaller amounts) or caffeine-free alternatives.

If you're wondering whether chocolate, which also contains caffeine, is a concern, the good news is that you can have some of the scrumptious treat in moderation. Whereas a cup of brewed coffee has 95-135 milligrams of caffeine, the average chocolate bar has between 5-30 milligrams. So, small amounts of chocolate are fine.

● Certain Foods
Are there some I should avoid? Yes. Foods that are more likely to be contaminated with bacteria or heavy metals are ones to try to avoid or limit your exposure to. Those you should steer clear of altogether during pregnancy include:
――soft, unpasteurized cheeses (often advertised as "fresh") such as feta, goat, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, and Mexican queso fresco
――unpasteurized milk, juices, and apple cider
――raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs, including mousse, tiramisu, raw cookie dough, eggnog, homemade ice cream, and Caesar dressing
――raw or undercooked fish (sushi), shellfish, or meats
――paté and meat spreads
――processed meats such as hot dogs and deli meats (these should be very well cooked before eating)

Also, although fish and shellfish can be an extremely healthy part of your pregnancy diet (they contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and are high in protein and low in saturated fat), you should avoid eating:
――shark
――swordfish
――king mackerel
――tilefish
――tuna steak (limited amounts of canned, preferably light, tuna is OK)

What are the risks to my baby? Although it's important to eat plenty of healthy foods during pregnancy, you also need to avoid food-borne illnesses, such as listeriosis, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella, which can be found in the foods listed in the first set of bullets. These infections can be life-threatening to an unborn baby and may cause birth defects or miscarriage.

And the types of fish mentioned above may contain high levels of mercury, which can cause damage to the developing brain of a fetus.

What can I do about it? Be sure to thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables, which can carry food-borne illnesses or be coated with pesticide residue. And be mindful of what you're buying at the grocery store or when dining out.

When you choose seafood, eat a variety of fish and shellfish and limit the amount to about 12 ounces per week — that's about two meals. Common fish and shellfish that are low in mercury include: canned light tuna, catfish, pollock, salmon, and shrimp. But because albacore (or white) tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna, it's best to eat no more than 6 ounces (or one meal) of albacore tuna a week.

You may have to forego a few things during pregnancy that you normally enjoy. But just think how delicious they'll taste after waiting 9 months!

● Changing the Litter Box
Should I avoid it? Yes. Pregnancy is the prime time to get out of cleaning kitty's litter box. But that doesn't mean that you have to keep away from Fluffy!

What are the risks to my baby? An infection called toxoplasmosis can be spread through soiled cat litter boxes and can cause serious problems in a fetus, including prematurity, poor growth, and severe eye and brain damage. A pregnant woman who becomes infected often has no symptoms but can still pass the infection on to her developing baby.

What can I do about it? Have someone else change the litter box, making sure to clean it thoroughly and regularly, then wash his or her hands well afterward.

● Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medications
Should I avoid them? Some — yes; others — no. There are many medications you should steer clear of during pregnancy. Be sure to talk to your doctor about which prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs you can and can't take, even if they seem like no big deal.

What are the risks to my baby? Even common OTC medications that are generally safe may be considered off-limits during pregnancy because of their potential effects on the baby. Certain prescription medications may also cause damage to the developing fetus. (The type of harm and extent of possible damage depends on the kind of medication.)
Also, although they may seem harmless, herbal remedies and supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means that they don't have to follow any safety standards and, therefore, could be harmful to your baby.

What can I do about it? To make sure you don't take anything that could put your baby at risk talk to your doctor about:
――any medications you're taking — prescription and OTC — and ask which are safe to take during pregnancy
――any concerns you have about natural remedies, supplements, and vitamins

Also, be sure to let all of your health care providers know that you're pregnant so that they'll keep that in mind when recommending or prescribing any medications. If you were prescribed a medication before you became pregnant for an illness, disease, or condition you still have, your doctor can help you weigh the potential benefits and risks of continuing your prescription.

If you become sick (i.e., with a cold) or have symptoms that are causing you discomfort or pain (i.e., a headache or backache), talk to your doctor about medications you can take and alternative ways to help you feel better without medication.

● Recreational Drugs
Should I avoid them? Yes!

What are the risks to my baby? Pregnant women who use drugs may be placing their unborn babies at risk for:
――premature birth
――poor growth
――birth defects
――behavior and learning problems

And their babies could also be born addicted to those drugs.

What can I do about it? If you've used any drugs at any time during your pregnancy, it's important to inform your doctor. Even if you've quit, your unborn child could still be at risk for health problems. If you're still using drugs, talk to your doctor for help on how to quit. Health clinics such as Planned Parenthood also can recommend health care providers, at little or no cost, who can help you quit your habit and have a healthier pregnancy.

● Smoking
Should I avoid it? Yes! You wouldn't light a cigarette, put it in your baby's mouth, and encourage your little one to puff away. As ridiculous as this scenario seems, pregnant women who continue to smoke are allowing their fetus to smoke too. The smoking mother passes nicotine and carbon monoxide to her growing baby.

Likewise, you should steer clear of people who are smoking, whether they're coworkers, friends, family members, or other diners at a restaurant (if your state still allows smoking in public places).

What are the risks to my baby? If a pregnant woman smokes, it could cause:
――stillbirth
――prematurity
――low birth weight
――sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
――asthma and other respiratory problems

And the risks to a fetus from regular exposure to secondhand smoke include low birth weight and slowed growth.

What can I do about it? If you smoke, having a baby may be the motivation you need to quit. Talk to your doctor about options for kicking the habit.
If you spend time with people who smoke, ask them nicely to do it outside — and away from you if you're outside as well. And, of course, request the nonsmoking area whenever you dine out.

But What About...?
Whether you read it on an online pregnancy chat board, heard it from your best friend's coworker's cousin, or aren't sure where that nagging doubt came from, worries about what's OK during pregnancy abound. Here's the lowdown on some common ones that many expectant women wonder about.

● Artificial Sweeteners (Sugar Substitutes)
Should I avoid them? Although some are OK, one in particular isn't so clear-cut.
Aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame-K have been found to be safe to use in moderation during pregnancy. However, you should avoid aspartame if you or your partner has a rare hereditary disease called phenylketonuria (PKU), in which the body can't break down the compound phenylalanine, which is found in aspartame. In that case, you should avoid aspartame altogether since your baby may also be born with the disease.

But the jury still seems to be out on whether saccharin, which is found in some foods and in the little pink packets, is safe to use during pregnancy or not — it can cross the placenta and could stay in the fetus' tissue. (Also, a sweetener called cyclamate was banned in the United States because of concern about cancer.)

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? Although some people have alleged that the artificial sweetener aspartame is linked with birth defects and illnesses ranging from multiple sclerosis to Parkinson's disease, government authorities and medical groups throughout the world have evaluated aspartame and approved it as safe for human consumption, including during pregnancy.

Research done during the 1970s suggested that saccharin caused bladder cancer in lab rats when given in large quantities. Since then, though, those studies have often been called into question. Also, a warning saying that it could cause cancer was removed from all saccharin-containing products' labels in 2000.

What can I do about it? With aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame-K, moderation is the key. It's OK to have an occasional diet soda or sugar-free food with these sweeteners here and there. But if you're really craving something sweet, it's probably better to have the real thing, as long as it's in moderation.

If you've already consumed something with saccharin in it during your pregnancy, don't obsess about it. It's highly unlikely that small amounts could do any harm to your baby.
Still, it's wise to check product labels and try to avoid — or at least limit — anything with artificial sweeteners (especially saccharin), just to be safe. After all, this is one time in your life when you have a good reason to avoid diet foods! And the more naturally flavored whole foods you eat during pregnancy, the better.

● Computer Monitors (VDTs)
Should I avoid them? No. There is no evidence that computer monitors (also called video display terminals, or VDTs) cause any problems in unborn babies.

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? There's been speculation since the 1980s that VDTs are unsafe for pregnant women because of low levels of radiation (electromagnetic fields). But according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), computer monitors have not been found to cause low birth weight or preterm births.

What can I do about it? You don't need to do anything. Before you quit your office job or sit 10 feet away from the screen using a pool stick to type, rest assured that computer monitors are OK.

● Flying
Should I avoid it? No, not unless your due date is near or your doctor tells you that you or your baby has a medical condition that warrants keeping you near home. You can fly up to 4 weeks before your due date and that cut-off time is not because flying can cause problems, but because it's just best to stay close to home and your doctor in case you deliver.

However, pregnant women who shouldn't fly include those with:
――high blood pressure (or hypertension) during pregnancy
――sickle cell disease
――gestational diabetes that hasn't been well-controlled
――abnormalities of the placenta
――the risk of going into premature labor

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? For women with healthy pregnancies, there are no significant risks. However, women who have difficult pregnancies, especially involving their cardiovascular system, could be compromised by air flight and should discuss any flying plans with their doctor.

What can I do about it? Discuss any plans for lengthy or distant travel with your doctor during your last trimester, just in case. If he or she says it's OK, check with the airlines to find out what their policies are regarding flying during pregnancy. (Most airlines will allow pregnant women to fly up until week 36 for domestic flights and week 35 for international travel.)

To make sure your flight is as comfortable as possible, you may want to:
――Move your lower legs regularly and/or get out of your seat (especially during long flights) to promote blood circulation and help prevent blood cots.
――Wear support stockings to further prevent clotting in your legs.
――Keep your seatbelt on when you're seated to keep the jostling of turbulence to a minimum.

● Hair Dyes
Should I avoid them? No. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), because very little dye is absorbed through the skin, dying your hair is "most likely safe" during pregnancy, despite what doctors in years past may have advised. That's good news for many expectant women — coloring your hair can be a great little confidence boost when everything else going on in your body feels so out of your control.

Having said that, though, very few studies have closely examined the many different kinds of hair treatments and their potential effects on a fetus. What we do know indicates that hair treatments are most likely safe.

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? None that are currently known.

What can I do about it? If you're still concerned, ask your doctor about natural, non-chemical dyes that could give you the little makeover you may need without the added worry. Also, having your hair highlighted (rather than dyed) uses far less chemicals.

● High-Impact Exercise
Should I avoid it? Yes. For most pregnant women, low-impact exercise is a great way to feel better, look better, and help prepare the body for labor. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, stick to low-impact exercise. It's wise to avoid some exercises and activities such as:
――weight training and heavy lifting (after the first trimester)
――sit-ups (also after the first trimester)
――contact sports
――scuba diving
――bouncing
――jarring (anything that would cause a lot of up and down movement, such as horseback riding)
――leaping
――a sudden change of direction (such as downhill skiing)

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? High-impact exercise can cause increased pressure on the structures within the uterus that could lead to problems such as premature labor or bleeding.

What can I do about it? Some of the healthy ways pregnant women can stay fit include walking, swimming, water aerobics, yoga, and Pilates. But be sure to talk to your doctor before starting — or continuing — any exercise routine during pregnancy.

● Household Chemicals (Cleaners, Paint, etc.)
Should I avoid them? Some — yes; others — no. While chemicals like ammonia and chlorine may make you nauseated because of the smell, they're not toxic, says the March of Dimes. But others, such as some paints, paint thinners, oven cleaners, varnish removers, air fresheners, aerosols, carpet cleaners, etc., may be.

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? It depends on the product. Some household chemicals may have no effect, while others in high doses could potentially be harmful.

What can I do about it? Here a few tips to help keep household chemicals in perspective during your pregnancy:
――Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have with chemicals you use at home or at work.
――Look at product labels before using any product. If it's unsafe to use during pregnancy, the label should say that it's toxic. Find out not only if it's safe for you to use, but if it's safe for you to be around when being used by someone else. If the label doesn't specify, contact the manufacturer.
――Open windows and doors, and use rubber gloves and a mask when cleaning with or using any chemical.
――Wash your hands and arms, even if you wore gloves, after using any chemical.
――Opt for natural products like baking soda, borax, and vinegar for cleaning.
――Have someone else paint the baby's nursery, as much you'd probably like to do it yourself. And definitely don't help with the removal of paint if your home was built before 1978 as it may contain lead-based paint. Although many paints today are considered safer than those of the past, it's still a good idea to let someone else handle painting. You can always take over the decorating duties after the paint dries!

● Bug Sprays (Insecticides/Pesticides/Repellants)
Should I avoid them? Yes. They're considered poisons and pregnant women should stay away from them as much as possible.

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? Although there's no evidence that the typical occasional household use of insecticides does any damage to a baby, it's best to err on the side of caution. High levels of exposure may cause:
――miscarriage
――premature delivery
――birth defects

As for insect repellants (which may contain DEET, or diethyltoluamide), the risks aren't fully known. So, it's best to either not use them at all during pregnancy or to wear gloves to place a small amount on socks, shoes, and outer clothing instead of putting repellants directly on your skin.

What can I do about it? If you have a real problem with pesky bugs around your home, the March of Dimes suggests the following:
――Use safer methods of removal such as boric acid, which you should be able to find at your local hardware store.
――Make sure someone else applies the pesticides.
――When pesticides are sprayed outside, close all windows and turn off air-conditioning units and window fans to prevent the fumes from entering your home.
――Remove utensils, food, and dishes from areas where the chemicals will be used.
――Stay away from the treated area during the application and afterward for the amount of time specified on the product label.
――Have someone else wash any treated area where food is prepared or served.
――Wear rubber gloves when gardening outside where pesticides have been used.
――Have your water supply tested regularly if you have well water and use pesticides, fertilizers, and weed killers.

● Lead
Should I avoid it? Yes. However, exposure to high lead levels is rare for women in the United States.

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? Exposure to high levels of lead can cause:
――miscarriage
――premature delivery
――low birth weight
――developmental delays

But even low levels of lead can cause subtle problems with behavior and learning in children.

What can I do about it? If your home was built before 1978, it could have lead-based paint. But it only becomes a problem if the paint is chipping, peeling, or being removed. Some homes also may have lead pipes or copper piping with lead solder that can allow lead to enter the tap water.

If you have an older home or think that you may have lead piping or soldering and are concerned about lead exposure, you can have a professional come out to test your water, the dust in your home, the soil outside, and/or the paint around your home for lead.

Make sure that anyone who removes any potentially lead-based paint from your home:
――is a professional trained in removing lead paint (getting rid of lead-based paint isn't a project for a do-it-yourselfer!)
――removes it when you're not there
――doesn't scrape, sand, or use a heat gun to remove the paint (these methods may send lead dust into the air)
――thoroughly cleans the area immediately afterward

To help reduce potential lead levels in your tap water, you can run the water for 30 seconds before using it and/or buy a water filter that specifically says on the packaging that it removes lead.

● Microwaves
Should I avoid them? No. Nuke away! After all, for pregnant women on the go, especially those with other kids, microwaves are usually a must.

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? There are no medically proven risks. Microwaves don't leak radiation, and any that did would emit extremely small amounts that are virtually undetectable.

What can I do about it? If you're still concerned, you might want to make sure your microwave is working properly and isn't leaking or damaged. Researchers have determined that if a microwave does leak any radiation, it diminishes exponentially with distance from the microwave. In other words, if you have any concerns, stand a few feet away instead of immediately in front of the oven.

● Overheating (Hot Tubs, Saunas, Electric Blankets, etc.)
Should I avoid or limit it? Yes. You should limit activities that would raise your core temperature above 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius). They include:
――using saunas or hot tubs
――taking very hot, long baths and showers
――using electric blankets or heating pads
――getting a high fever
――becoming overheated when outside in hot weather or when exercising

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? If your body temperature goes above 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius) for more than 10 minutes, the elevated heat can cause problems with the fetus. Overheating in the first trimester can lead to neural tube defects. Later in the pregnancy, it can lead to dehydration.

What can I do about it? Instead of hot tubs or saunas, take a dip in a cool pool. And it's probably a good idea to stick to warm or slightly hot baths and showers. If you have a fever during your pregnancy, talk to your doctor about ways to lower it. And follow your body's cues that you're getting overheated when exercising or enjoying the great outdoors in the warmer months.

But if you've already become overheated during your pregnancy, don't worry too much about it. Chances are, you removed yourself from the uncomfortable situation before any damage was done.

● Self-Tanners/Sunless Tanners
Should I avoid them? Maybe. Although there's no proof that self-tanners are harmful to an unborn baby, there haven't been many studies done on their effects to a fetus.

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? No risks specific to tanning have been documented.

What can I do about it? For a summer glow, skip the self-tanner and apply some bronzer to your face, neck, shoulders, and chest. And if you do decide to try a self-tanner, that's far safer than lying out in the sun and becoming potentially overheated. Overheating in the first trimester, as discussed above, can lead to significant problems for the baby; later in the pregnancy, it could lead to dehydration in the mother. Still, ask your doctor before applying any"tan in a bottle."

● Sex
Should I avoid it? No. Most pregnant women having a "normal" pregnancy can continue having sex — it's perfectly safe for both mom and the baby, even up until the delivery. Of course, you'll probably need to modify positions for your own comfort as your belly gets bigger.

However, your doctor may advise against sexual intercourse if he or she anticipates or detects certain significant complications with your pregnancy, including:
――a history or threat of miscarriage
――a history of pre-term labor (you've previously delivered a baby before 37 weeks) or signs indicating the risk of pre-term labor (such as premature uterine contractions)
――unexplained vaginal bleeding, discharge, or cramping
――leakage of amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the baby)
――placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta (the blood-rich structure that nourishes the baby) is situated down so low that it covers the cervix (the opening of the uterus)
――incompetent cervix, a condition in which the cervix is weakened and dilates (opens) prematurely, raising the risk for miscarriage or premature delivery
――multiple fetuses (you're having twins, triplets, etc.)

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? You should not have sex with a partner whose sexual history is unknown to you or who may have a sexually transmitted disease, such as herpes, genital warts, chlamydia, or HIV. If you become infected, the disease may be transmitted to your baby, with potentially dangerous consequences.

What can I do about it? Talk to your doctor about any discomfort you experience during or after sex or any other concerns.

● Tap/Drinking Water
Should I avoid it? Not necessarily. Before you go out and buy a 9-month supply of bottled water, tell your doctor where you live and whether you have public water or well water.

It's also important to note that just because water is bottled doesn't necessarily mean it's safer. Although bottled water (which is regulated by the FDA) may often taste better or just different, tap water meets the same Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? Different studies show different things, according to the March of Dimes. Some have found that the chlorine used to treat public water can turn into chloroform when it mixes with other materials in the water, which can increase the risk of miscarriage and poor fetal growth. But other studies have found no such links. Also of concern to some is the potential for the water to be contaminated by things like lead and pesticides. If you have well water you should probably have it checked regularly, such as once a year, whether you're pregnant or not.

What can I do about it? If you're concerned, contact your local water supplier to get a copy of the annual water quality report. If you're still concerned and/or have private well water, have your water tested by a state-certified laboratory. This can cost anywhere from $15 to hundreds, depending on the number of contaminants you want to have your water tested for.

To help ease your mind, you could also buy a water filtration system to help reduce the levels of lead, some bacteria and viruses, and chemicals such as chlorine. But be sure to read the product's label thoroughly, as some do more than others.
Countertop pitcher and faucet-mounted units are fairly inexpensive (some for under $50), whereas systems used to treat your entire home's water supply are much pricier (up to thousands of dollars). You can also have refillable water coolers delivered to your home, often through wholesale — or bulk items — stores.

● Teeth Whiteners/Teeth Bleaching
Should I avoid them? Maybe. As with self-tanners, no good studies have been done on teeth whiteners that definitively say whether they're safe to use if you're expecting. And some makers of whitening products do caution against using them during pregnancy. Some dentists encourage waiting until after pregnancy to get your teeth whitened and others say that the procedures are safe. The concern is primarily about the chemicals used in teeth whitening products that could be swallowed and the potential effect on a fetus.

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? There's currently no evidence that teeth whitening can harm a fetus.

What can I do about it? Talk to your doctor before plunking down the cash on whitening products. If you'd rather wait until after your pregnancy to try to make your teeth pearly white, simply brush regularly with whitening toothpaste, which may give a little extra kick to your smile.

● Vaccinations
Should I avoid them? Many — yes; others — no. It's best to wait until after your pregnancy for most vaccines, but a few are considered safe. Your doctor may say it's OK to get a vaccine if:
――there's a good chance that you could be exposed to a particular disease or infection and the benefits of vaccinating you outweigh the potential risks
――an infection would pose a risk to you or your baby
――the vaccine is unlikely to cause harm
However, the CDC recommends only these vaccines as safe during pregnancy if they're truly necessary:
――influenza (the flu) — but only the shot made with the inactivated virus
――hepatitis B
――meningitis
――rabies
――tetanus/diphtheria

What are the risks, if any, to my baby? Live-virus vaccines — those containing a live organism — aren't recommended for pregnant women because of the risk that the actual infection or disease the vaccine is meant to prevent may be passed along to the unborn baby. However, this depends on the circumstances and whether the vaccine would ultimately be safer to receive than being exposed to the actual disease. For example, the chickenpox vaccine may be safer to your unborn baby than getting the infection. So, it's important to speak to your doctor if you believe that you may have been exposed to a disease.

For the most part, though, researchers don't know what the risks of some vaccines may be to a fetus. So, it's wise to just wait to be vaccinated unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

What can I do about it? Be sure to talk to your doctor before getting any vaccination during pregnancy. It's also a good idea to inform your doctor if you became pregnant within 4 weeks of having a vaccine. And if your workplace requires certain vaccines, be sure to let them know you're pregnant before agreeing to be immunized.

● X-Rays
Should I avoid them? Yes and no. If your doctor thinks it's truly necessary — for your own well-being or your baby's — to get one during your pregnancy, then it's highly unlikely that low levels of X-ray radiation will be harmful. However, if you can safely wait to get an X-ray until after your baby is born, then that's probably the best way to go.
What are the risks, if any, to my baby? According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), X-rays are most likely safe during pregnancy. Most diagnostic X-rays emit much less than 5 rads, which is the limit of what the FDA suggests a pregnant woman should be exposed to.

Different imaging studies emit different amounts of radiation and the direction of the X-ray beam also affects the possible exposure to the fetus. Dental X-rays, for example, aren't cause for much concern because the X-ray area is far from your uterus. However, researchers believe that a fetus is more susceptible to damage by radiation because of the rapid rate with which their cells are dividing.

What can I do about it? First, make sure that all of your health care providers (including your dentist and the X-ray technician) know about your pregnancy before you get an X-ray. Also make sure that your stomach is covered with a lead apron.
If you're concerned and would rather not get an X-ray at all during pregnancy, your doctor may be able to use an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) test during the first trimester or an ultrasound anytime.


Although some things are certainly considered unsafe during pregnancy, try not to spend too much time wondering and worrying. When in doubt, just use common sense — if it seems like a bad idea, doesn't need to be done right now, or might be risky, hold off at least until you've had a conversation with your doctor about it. He or she can likely help ease your mind and may even give you license to do something you never expected to be able to do until after your special delivery.

Above all, make sure to follow the most important healthy pregnancy habits — eat right; get plenty of rest; steer clear of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco — and you'll be well on your way to keeping both you and your baby healthy.

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