11 Surprising Everyday Things Pregnant Women Should Avoid At All Costs

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Most people know the basics: stay away from alcohol, caffeine, and any strenuous activity, as they can be harmful to your unborn child during all stages of pregnancy. However, there are so many new supplements and chemical compounds in our everyday household products that it's hard to keep track of what's safe and what's not -- for you and for your baby during pregnancy. That's why we scoured the internet to find some of the most obscure dangers to pregnant women -- to help educate you, and ensure you're taking the necessary precautions all the way up until the birth of your new child. Here are some things you probably didn't know you needed to watch out for.

1. Saunus, hot tubs, hot baths, hot weather in general

Your body temperature isn’t just your body temperature anymore now that you’re pregnant. It’s your baby’s too. And unlike you, your baby can’t cool down by sweating. So try to keep your body temperature low, under 101 ideally, to keep from causing any complications to your unborn child.

2. Avoid bed rest

While instinct might have you believe that bed rest would be good for you during pregnancy, it’s actually the opposite. Bed rest can heighten your risk of depression, diabetes, and blood clots, and can also cause you to lose muscle. Not only that, but it has some adverse effects for your unborn child as well, by lowering its birth weight.

3. Avoid the litter box

That’s right –even the litter box could be a threat to your child’s health. There’s a chance it contains toxoplasmosis, a disease carried by birds and cats that could cause vision loss and brain damage. As a pregnant woman, your immune system is naturally weakened, therefore you’re at an increased risk for contracting diseases like this one.

4. Pineapple

It’s tasty, it’s tangy, and it’s a great addition to many meals, but it could cause a pregnant woman some complications. Pineapple contains high quantities of bromelaine, which is an enzyme normally used to for anti-inflammatory purposes. It’s best to avoid in your first trimester because of the effect it can have on your cervix – weakening it and possibly leading to early labor.

5. Licorice

Believe it or not, natural licorice contains a harmful component known as glycyrrhizin, which can weaken the placenta and allow for stress hormones to enter your child’s system. Those stress hormones can actually be harmful to your baby’s vocabulary, special, and memory functions later in life by hindering the development of his/her brain. 

6. Herbal teas

They’re caffeine-free, but when you’re pregnant, it’s still best to steer clear. The reasoning behind this is that not much is known about the effects of most of these herbs on women who are expecting. Also, any ingredient that promotes weight-loss in an herbal tea should especially be avoided. Those include but are not limited to: guarana, kola nut, betel, citrum aurantium, yohimbe, theobromine, and garnecai cambosia.

7. Raw vegetable sprouts

Just when you thought you were being extra healthy by adding a heaping pile of sprouts to your sandwich, you might want to think again. According to the FDA, no one, regardless of whether or not they are pregnant, should eat raw sprouts. This is because bacteria can get into those sprouts and it’s nearly impossible to wash out. Keep in mind, cooked sprouts are perfectly fine to consume…it’s just the raw ones that should be avoided. 

8. SCUBA diving

It’s true. You might want to rethink that SCUBA trip you had planned for your next vacation. When you SCUBA, the deeper you dive, the more change in pressure you’ll experience. While our fully-developed bodies can handle that, your unborn child’s cannot, and this may result in complications with his/her development in the womb.

9. Wheatgrass juice

It might be the healthiest thing on this list, but it also might be the most dangerous. Wheatgrass not only contains large amounts of caffeine (an ingredient most women know they should avoid), but it also contains high amounts of bacteria and mold as a result of the climate it grows in. Because of that, studies have suggested that ingesting it can lead to your child being born with a limb impairment, or even cause a miscarriage.

10. Bathroom and furniture cleaners

Many household cleaners can contain creosol, turpentine and sodium phosphate. These are all toxic chemicals that can cause fetal complications by being inhaled, or in some cases even absorbed through the skin. 

11.   Feta cheese

All Greek salad lovers can let out a collective groan. Turns out feta cheese is unpasteurized, and as such is at high risk for passing along the foodborne illness known as listeria. In fact, feta isn’t the only unpasteurized cheese out there, so check your labels before you buy next time you’re in the supermarket. Contracting listeria is not something to be taken lightly, as it can cause premature labor and even miscarriage.