- August 4, 2020
- Michael Allibone
- Posted in Resources
Pregnancy is a very busy time in a woman’s life. From preparing the nursery to keeping up on regular household chores (not to mention the incredibly taxing task of growing another human being), moms-to-be have a lot going on.
However, there are several surprising activities that may harm a woman and her unborn child. It’s best to have someone else tackle these tasks. Many expectant mothers will be grateful for this break, but they should also be aware of some potentially dangerous forms of relaxation.
Here are four unexpected things to avoid during pregnancy and why they may be harmful to you and your baby.
Are you dying to paint your baby's new nursery? We don't blame you! The nesting urge is strong during pregnancy. However, a study published in Environmental Health found that exposure to paint fumes during pregnancy may increase the risk of birth defects, especially during the first trimester.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, it's important to avoid oil-based paint, lead paint, and anything that contains mercury. Latex paints that contain biocides and ethylene glycol ethers should also be avoided.
Household paints are typically safe. However, to make sure you don't inhale or absorb unnecessary chemicals, wear gloves and a mask while painting. You should also avoid scraping old paints, as these may contain lead.
The safest option is to have someone else handle any scraping or painting. That way you don't have to worry about exposing yourself or your baby to anything harmful.
Gardening can be a relaxing hobby, and it gets you outside in the fresh air and sunshine. So what's the problem? Aside from the aches and pains you might experience bending over or kneeling for a long time, there's another concern.
Gardening comes with the risk of toxoplasmosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, toxoplasma is a type of parasite that can cause an infection called toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. Toxoplasmosis can be passed to your baby and may cause blindness and mental disabilities.
Toxoplasma can live in the soil, especially if you have a cat or live in a neighborhood with cats. If you can't live without gardening, be sure to always wear gloves and avoid touching your mouth. You don't want to accidentally ingest contaminated soil. For extra protection, remember to wash your hands thoroughly after gardening.
Scooping Kitty Litter
The reason you want to avoid changing kitty litter during pregnancy is the same reason you shouldn't garden without gloves. The feces of a cat infected with toxoplasmosis can contain millions of dangerous parasites.
According to an article in Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology, only 48% said they had heard about the risks of toxoplasmosis. They didn't realize that cat feces can contain the parasite that causes the infection. Pregnant women and their babies are especially susceptible, so by all means, hand off this unpleasant chore to your partner.
Sitting in a Hot Tub
Who doesn't love a long soak in a hot tub? It may be tempting to ease your aches and pains in the hot water. However, it's actually something expectant mothers should avoid.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), this is because a hot tub can raise your body temperature to unsafe levels. Body temperatures over 101ºF, especially during the first trimester, have been linked to a higher chance of birth defects.
The more time you spend in the hot tub, the more you put your baby at risk. So it's best to avoid it completely to save yourself from worry.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Knowing what activities to avoid during pregnancy can keep you and your baby healthy and safe. It also gives your loved ones a chance to help and support you.
Remember, if you have any questions or concerns about anything that may potentially be unsafe during pregnancy, don't hesitate to ask your doctor about it. Your OB is there to help!
- American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.). Pregnant in a Hot Tub. American Pregnancy Association. https://americanpregnancy.org/is-it-safe/hot-tubs-during-pregnancy/
- American Pregnancy Association. (2015). Paint and Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association. https://americanpregnancy.org/is-it-safe/paint-and-pregnancy/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Parasites – Toxoplasmosis (Toxoplasma Infection). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/index.html
- Duong, H. T., et al. (2011). Maternal Use of Hot Tub and Major Structural Birth Defects. Birth Defects Research, 91(9), 836–841. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21648056
- Hjortebjerg, D., et al. (2012). Non-occupational Exposure to Paint Fumes During Pregnancy and Risk of Congenital Anomalies: A Cohort Study. Environmental Health, 11, 54. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3533823/
- Jones, J. L., et al. (2003). Toxoplasmosis-related Knowledge and Practices Among Pregnant Women in the United States. Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 11(3), 139–145. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15022874
The information provided represents the general opinions of NTD Eurofins and is not intended to be used as specific advice for any one individual. Individuals should always consult with a physician to obtain specific advice and to receive answers to any and all questions or concerns related to health, wellness, pregnancy, and birth.
Pursuant to applicable federal and/or state laboratory requirements, Eurofins NTD, LLC has established and verified the accuracy and precision of its testing services. Tests are developed and performance characteristics determined by Eurofins NTD, LLC. The methods and performance characteristics have been reviewed and approved by the New York State Department of Health.