Avoid alcohol if possible because it can pass from the mother’s bloodstream through the placenta
to the baby. However, an occasional alcoholic drink will not do any damage. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk to the baby of the foetal alcohol syndrome
. This increases the risk of mental retardation, retarded growth, stillbirth
and damage to the central nervous system.
can come from close contact with lambs
and their mothers and in results can cause miscarriage.
from cat faeces
can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or blindness
in the baby. Litter tray
s should be emptied carefully, if at all, and mothers should be careful if they are gardening
, trying to avoid anything that could have cat faeces on.
Some essential oils
may cause miscarriage, however others can be used to help minimise discomfort during pregnancy, such as backache
, swollen legs
and ankles and nausea
. The oils which suit you and your needs can be very different from another mothers so it is best to check with a doctor
before you use any type of essential oils.
During pregnancy the abdomen
gets bigger so clothes must either be loose or expandable around the waist. Some are designed with adjustable fastenings or built in growing room to allow for expansion. Many women simply buy baggier clothes
in larger sizes to accommodate their bump
. The days when pregnancy was hidden have disappeared and some women choose modern, stretch fabrics, which emphasise the figure. Good fitting bras
, which offer support to the breasts
, are important. They should be correctly fitted, not squash the nipple
, and have wide straps for comfort. Low or medium heeled shoes prevent backache and help the mother retain her balance. No stilettos
Most drugs can cross the placenta and may harm the foetus or cause withdrawal symptoms when the baby is born.
and the fumes from solvents
such as glue and aerosols) can cause withdrawal symptoms. Drug addicted babies are typically smaller than average, irritable and much more difficult to settle. Many have a characteristic high-pitched cry.
If the mother is taking prescribed drugs
for a pre-existing condition such as diabetes
the GP should be informed of her pregnancy so that the foetus is not harmed. Over-the-counter medicines such as travel sickness pills
and some indigestion
remedies can be damaging to the foetus. No medicines should be taken during pregnancy without the advice of the GP
should not interfere with a woman’s normal exercise regime. Activities such as aerobics
, dance classes
can be continued until birth
unless they before uncomfortable in any way. It would be unwise to ski
or do high-risk activities such as hand gliding
! If exercise has not been part of a woman’s routine before pregnancy she should check with her midwife about starting to exercise gradually.
During pregnancy some foods should be avoided and these are: Eggs
, products containing raw egg, unpasteurised milk
or products made from this, cook-chill foods, pâté
, undercooked meat
on and peanuts
and peanut products. There are many reasons for a pregnant mother to avoid these types of foods, these are: food poisoning
, severe illness
, miscarriage, stillbirth, baby born with listeriosis
, overdose of vitamin A
, baby born blind or an allergic reaction which may cause death
for a child.
Food hygiene and personal hygiene
are important even if a woman is not pregnant but during pregnancy it is essential to be hygienic. If a mother is not hygienic she could contract an infection
, which can cause a miscarriage.
Minor infections cannot be avoided in everyday life and during pregnancy this is still the case, however, minor infections will not harm the baby in anyway. Contact with Rubella
) and Chicken pox
, however, can be dangerous to the mother and the baby – these infections should be avoided at all times but a mother must be particularly careful during the first three to four months of her pregnancy.
The muscles around the vagina
openings need to be strengthened to cope with the strain of pregnancy and childbirth
. Exercises are given to the mother to perform, usually when on the toilet
, by the midwife. The exercises that the mothers are given to do usually depend on how their pregnancy is going and how strong their muscles are.
If a pregnant woman stands and sits with her weight
evenly balanced her posture will be good
, however if she does not do this her posture will be bad
which can lead to backache. It can take time to adjust to the additional weight, which a mother has to carry during pregnancy, but getting it right means no backache during pregnancy and later in life. When bending over or preparing to lift
something heavy the mother should bend from the knees
to avoid any strain.
This is very important especially during the last three months of pregnancy. A mother is encouraged to have a rest for at least an hour everyday as this can prevent backache and varicose veins
. Relaxation helps to reduce stress so the mother she do any activities that she enjoys to aid this.
At the beginning of pregnancy a mother should sleep as much as she can as she may well feel unusually tired
. After twenty-three weeks her sleep maybe disturbed by the baby kicking or by a need to urinate
more often because of the baby pressing on her bladder. Her change in shape may make it more difficult to get comfortable but she may get support by using extra pillow
s to prop her up.
Chemicals from cigarette smoke
pass to the baby from the mother’s blood
via the placenta. One of these, nicotine
, increases the baby’s heartbeat. The other, carbon monoxide
, decreases its oxygen level
, which affects its growth and development. Passive smoking
can be equally as damaging. Smoking increases the risk of premature birth, lower than average birth rate, miscarriage, stillbirth, cot death
, foetal abnormalities, damage to the placenta and learning difficulties in later life. Children born to heavy smokers or who live in a smoky house are much more prone to bronchitis
and other chest infections.
Dental treatment is free during pregnancy and for the twelve months that follow the birth of the baby. Mothers should have regular checkups during pregnancy as the gums may need extra attention due to soreness and tooth decay
is more likely to occur to a pregnant mother.
X-rays can damage the baby in the uterus
and so they should be avoided at all times during pregnancy. The mother’s dentist needs to be made aware of the pregnancy so that the mother-to-be is not exposed to a dental x-ray at any time.