There are a number of things that you’ll do better to avoid. Substances like alcohol and nicotine are actually poisons that your body can become somewhat accustomed to. But they will have a worse impact on your baby.
If you are a smoker, now is a good time to quit. Smoking raises the odds for miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight. And increases the possibility of your child developing problems later on, like asthma.
If you find that you simply can’t quit, at least try to cut back the number of cigarettes you smoke, and take extra care to eat well. Your health care professional can give you helpful tips on how to quit or reduce smoking. Even if you’re not a smoker, be aware that exposure to second-hand smoke is also hazardous.
Pregnant mothers are also strongly advised to abstain from consuming alcohol. If you drink, you expose your baby to a greater risk of birth defects, infant mortality, and developmental deficiencies.
Babies born to mothers who regularly drink alcohol may suffer permanent physical and intellectual damage, a condition known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Since it is not known whether there is a safe minimum amount of alcohol which can be consumed without risk, it is wisest to avoid alcohol altogether during pregnancy. By choosing not to drink while you’re pregnant, you build your baby’s chances for a healthy, full life.
Medications: use caution
It’s also important to exercise caution when it comes to medication. Some widely-used drugs, including such non-prescription drugs as aspirin, antihistamines and even acne medication, have been linked to birth abnormalities. The same is true for many prescription drugs.
Consult your health care professional before taking any and all drugs, prescription or otherwise. She or he may be able to suggest safe and effective alternatives for drugs that could be harmful to your baby’s development.
Car and traffic safety
Statistically, the greatest health threat to women of child-bearing age actually comes from unintentional injuries, especially from traffic accidents. So, one of the very best ways to guard your health, and that of your baby, is to always buckle up.
Although seat belts aren’t perfectly designed for pregnant women, many studies have concluded that you’re far safer using them. Wear the upper strap over your shoulder, between your breasts, and to the side of your belly. The lap belt should also avoid your belly, while holding down your pelvis.
Beyond wearing a seat belt, every vehicle you get into should be constantly driven with the utmost safety. If you ever feel unsafe, speak up.
Of all the preparations for baby’s arrival, one of the most important things to do is purchase and professionally install an approved infant car seat.
It’s never too early to consider your child’s safety. It’s important to be cautious as a pedestrian too, especially since you can’t get out of the way of oncoming traffic as quickly.
Pediatrician and health communications pioneer Dr. Paul Roumeliotis has produced hundreds of articles, booklets and videos on a variety of child health issues. His highly acclaimed, groundbreaking book for parents focusing on the importance of the first 18 months of life, Baby Come Home, was released in early 2015 and is an Amazon bestseller. Visit www.drpaul.com and follow Dr. Paul on Twitter: @thedrpaul.