Sushi, saunas and stilettos: the comprehensive list of things you’ll need to avoid when pregnant

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Calling all pregnant women: with a foetus growing in your belly, you need to take the necessary measures to make sure that their baby develops well and without complications.

We’ve done the dirty work, and put together a comprehensive list of things that all mummies-to-be should avoid when pregnant. It’ll be tough abiding by all these restrictions, but hang in there, and think of what’s best for your baby!

#1: Hot baths and saunas

Top on our list of things to avoid when pregnant is… hot baths and saunas!

We get it – unwinding in a hot bath (especially after a long, hard day of work) feels like pure bliss. For pregnant women, though, hot baths (and saunas!) can increase your core body temperature to an unsafe level, and potentially endanger your foetus. If you must have your night-time soak, make sure you don’t make the water too hot!

#2: Lifting heavy objects

To be clear: you can still lift objects, as long as they’re not too heavy. More specifically, ob-gyns generally recommend avoiding anything that’s 35 pounds (~15 kg) and above. You don’t want to go into labour prematurely, so make sure you remember this particular pregnancy Don’t!

#3: Contact sports

Football, rugby, field hockey – all these sports are strictly not allowed. This isn’t rocket science: contact sports are dangerous, and you risk getting scratched up and hurting your baby if you’re playing while pregnant.

#4: Sushi

If you’re talking about sushi made with non-raw foods (eg tamago sushi), go ahead and chow down as per normal. But if you’re talking about sushi made with raw fish, then you’ll have to give those a miss.

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#5: Handling cat litter

Not many people know this, but cat litter actually carries a parasitic infection termed Toxoplasma gondii, and this infection can be passed on to humans. If a pregnant woman contracts this infection, there’s a possibility that her baby will be born with birth defects – so steer clear of cat litter like the plague!  

#6: Trying a new workout

It’s important to stay active during your pregnancy, but you should not be exploring a new workout during this period of time. So: if you ran regularly before you got pregnant, then by all means, carry on with your daily jog. But if you’re not a runner, then this isn’t the time to try your hand at a 42km marathon.

#7: Insect repellant

Are all insect repellants out of bounds? Nope – the ones that are made using natural, non-artificial ingredients (eg citronella or chrysanthemum) are still safe to use. If you see DEET (also known as N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide and diethyltoluamide) on list of ingredients on your repellant, though, it’s time to throw it out. This chemical has been linked to cardiac birth defects in animals, and it’s better to be safe than to be sorry!

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#8: Stilettos

Love your heels and stilettos? Unfortunately, you’ll have to relegate these to the back of your shoe cabinet during your pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to have poorer senses of balance, and they slip, trip and fall more easily – so you don’t want to be tottering around on sky-high heels.

#9: Coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes

You knew this one was coming. While experts are still divided on whether coffee and alcohol affects a woman’s unborn foetus (or how much coffee or alcohol it takes to affect the foetus), we recommend erring on the side of caution, and cutting back as much as possible. Cigarettes are a no-go as well.

#10: Essential oils and scented candles

We would’ve never thought that essential oils aren’t allowed during pregnancy, but apparently, these can cause uterine contractions, which in turn might send you into labour prematurely. Scented candles are also problematic – if these are made from paraffin wax, they may release carcinogens such as benzene and toluene into the air when burning, and these definitely aren’t conducive for pregnancy.

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