What can I do about it? If you smoke, having a baby may be the reason 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. Some are OK, others are best to avoid.
Aspartame , sucralose, stevioside, 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. Experts are still unsure about whether saccharin, which is found in some foods and in the little pink packets, is safe to use during pregnancy — it can cross the placenta and could stay in the fetus' tissue. Also, a sweetener called cyclamate is banned in the United States because of concerns about a possible link to cancer.
What are the risks, if any, to my baby? Although some people say that the artificial sweetener aspartame is linked to birth defects and illnesses, 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 s 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 With aspartame, sucralose, stevioside, 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 had something with saccharin in it during your pregnancy, don't obsess about it. It's highly unlikely that small amounts could harm 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. 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. Women with certain health conditions — like high blood pressure hypertension or blood clots, a history of miscarriage, premature labor, ectopic pregnancy, or other prenatal complications — are encouraged not to fly.
Otherwise, most healthy pregnant women can fly up to 4 weeks before their due date. After that, it's best to stay close to home in case you deliver. 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.
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 To make sure your flight is as comfortable as possible: 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? 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 with your body feels so out of your control. None that are currently known. If you're concerned but want to give yourself a little lift, try having your hair highlighted. This uses far fewer chemicals than dying your entire head of hair. High-Impact Exercise Should I avoid it? For most pregnant women, low-impact exercise is a great way to feel better and help prepare the body for labor.
Low-impact exercise increases your heart rate and intake of oxygen while helping you avoid sudden or jarring actions that can stress your joints, bones, and muscles.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, stick to low-impact exercise. How much is enough? Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least minutes that's 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week for healthy women who are not already highly active or used to doing vigorous-intensity activity.
If you were very active or did intense aerobic activities before getting pregnant you may be able to continue your exercise routine, as long as your doctor says it's safe for you and your baby. It's wise to avoid some exercises and activities, such as: High-impact exercise can cause increased pressure on the structures within the uterus that could lead to problems such as premature labor or bleeding. 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 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.
It depends on the product. Some household chemicals may have no effect, while others in high doses could be harmful. Here a few tips to help keep household chemicals use safe 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 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! They're considered poisons, and pregnant women should stay away from them as much as possible. Although the occasional household use of insecticides might not be dangerous, it's best to be careful. High levels of exposure may cause: 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 repellents directly on your skin.
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 after for the amount of time specified on the product label. After pesticide use indoors, 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, or weed killers. Lead Should I avoid it? However, exposure to high lead levels is rare for women in the United States.
Exposure to high levels of lead can cause: If your home was built before , 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. Make sure that anyone who removes any potentially lead-based paint from your home: Should I avoid or limit it? Overheating in the first trimester can lead to neural tube defects and miscarriage.
Later in the pregnancy, it can lead to dehydration in the mother. 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.