Activities and Substances to Avoid

These are things you should stay away from when you are pregnant.


  • Drinking while pregnant may result in your baby being born with learning and behavioral problems and, in very bad cases, even harm your baby's brain.
  • It isn't known what amount of drinking will harm the baby, so it's best to avoid it.
  • The sooner you avoid drinking, the better.
  • Any drinking you did before you found out you were pregnant (about three to five weeks in) is often not harmful.
    • Let your doctor know if this is the case.


  • Smoking while pregnant can cause premature birth or low birth weight.
  • Stay away from all smokers while you are pregnant, because secondhand smoke can be just as harmful to your baby.
  • If you were a smoker before getting pregnant and need help quitting, think about a program to help break the habit.


  • Marijuana lowers your oxygen level and, in turn, lowers how much oxygen your baby gets.
  • Crack and cocaine can cause the womb and placenta to part too early, which cuts off your baby's oxygen and food.
    • This can result in an early birth and can kill your baby.
    • You or your baby can also have a heart attack or stroke if these drugs are in your body.
  • Methamphetamines may cause your baby to have a low birth weight, rapid heartbeat or be very testy after birth.

Environmental substances and toxins

  • Pesticides (weed and bug killers)
  • Strong cleaning agents
  • Lead in paint or water
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Paint and paint thinners
  • Mercury
  • Benzene
  • Formaldehyde

The above products can be found in the house and may hurt your baby. Here are some tips to help you and your baby avoid harm:

  • Air out the rooms in your house after cleaning or painting.
  • Wear a mask if you must be in a room with cleaning goods or fresh paint for a long time.
  • Try to avoid that part of your house until the fumes are gone.

Hot tubs and saunas

  • Temperatures over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit may cause birth defects in your first three months.
  • Very hot temperatures can lower blood flow to the baby.
  • Avoid hot showers and baths and get out if you start to feel too hot.

Cat poop, raw meat and unwashed vegetables

A parasite that can harm your baby (causing toxoplasmosis) can be found in cat poop, raw meat and garden soil. If you've had this bug in the past, you may be immune and your baby will not be harmed. But it's hard to know if you've had this before because its signs can often be the same as having the flu.

To avoid this parasite, be sure to wash all fruits and veggies and cook your meat well. If you have a cat, try these steps to be safe:

  • Ask someone else to clean the litter box.
  • Wash your hands after touching the cat.
  • Do not work in the garden if any cats may have gone to the bathroom there.
  • You can also test your cat for this parasite at the vet.
  • If your cat is an outdoor cat, keep in mind that the parasite could be picked up after your vet visit.

[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth

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