9 Dangerous Things Mothers Should Avoid for a Safe Pregnancy

My Doctor Finder
July 18, 2022

While the required lifestyle changes for pregnancy are not too strict and dramatic, there are things they must avoid to keep the little ones inside them healthy.

For that, here are 9 things mothers should avoid for a safe pregnancy.


1.   Avoid these foods for a healthy pregnancy

The food a pregnant mother eats directly affects the health and growth of the fetus. Here are some of the food mothers should avoid during pregnancy:

·         Fishes with high mercury content: mackerel swordfish, rays, and sharks are among the fishes with the highest mercury content. Consuming high mercury fishes exposes the fetus to mercury causing brain damage and hearing and vision problems.

·         Raw eggs: Raw eggs may contain salmonella and can cause dehydration, bacteremia, meningitis, and reactive arthritis. Avoid eating raw eggs and food with uncooked eggs as an ingredient (unbaked dough, Caesar salad dressing, homemade mayonnaise, etc.).

·         Raw meat and seafood: While pregnant, doctors advise mothers to avoid eating raw meat and seafood because it contains salmonella and toxoplasmosis.

·         Unpasteurized Dairy and some soft cheeses:  Pregnant women may get food poisoning from the listeria and other bacteria present in these products.


2.   Alcoholic Drinks


Drinking alcohol is dangerous for the fetus during pregnancy. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it exposes the fetus to the alcohol when it crosses the placenta and umbilical cord through your bloodstream. This may cause fetal alcohol syndrome, a condition that causes:

-          Brain damage

-          Physical Deformities

-          Vision difficulties

-          Growth problems

-          Seizures

-          Social and behavioral issues

Researchers are unsure if any amount of alcohol is safe for the pregnant mother and the fetus. Because of this, most doctors recommend total avoidance of alcoholic drinks.


3.   Smoking

Smoking cigarettes during pregnancy puts the mother and the fetus at risk. The pregnant mother and the fetus will have an increased risk of developing lung cancer and heart diseases. Aside from these problems, smoking can also cause the following during and after pregnancy:

-          Premature birth

-          Congenital abnormalities

-          Cleft lip and palate

-          Sudden infant death syndrome

-          Placenta issues

Second-hand smoking is also dangerous for pregnant women which is why doctors advise pregnant mothers to avoid it.

Doctors can also help women who struggle with quitting smoking.


4.   Caffeine

Drinking cups of coffee throughout the day may be good for the body, but during pregnancy, too much coffee could harm the fetus. Much like alcohol, caffeine can reach the fetus through the bloodstream and then to the placenta and the umbilical cord. Experts believe that drinking too much coffee can increase the risk of pregnancy loss and low birth weight.

Doctors don’t recommend avoiding coffee or any caffeinated drink, but they recommend taking it in moderation. The March of Dimes Foundation recommends the consumption of less than 200 mg of caffeine per day, which amounts to 1.5 cups of coffee.


5.   Heavy Lifting

The American Pregnancy Association recommends pregnant mothers avoid lifting heavy weights. While pregnant, the mother’s ligaments will loosen and the joints will become less stable. And as the pregnancy progresses, the mother’s center of gravity will continually shift as her belly grows, decreasing her balance and increasing the risk of falling.

Doing so can increase the risk of:

-          Pulled muscles

-          Hernias

-          Low birth weight

-          Preterm labor

At worst, heavy lifting can cause a miscarriage. 


6.   Illegal drugs

Illegal drugs are always dangerous, but more so during pregnancy. Like alcohol and caffeine, the illegal drugs will go to the fetus through the bloodstream, placenta, and umbilical cord.

Its usage can put the newborn baby at risk of going through neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a condition that puts the baby through drug withdrawal after birth.


7.   Be careful with kitty litter

Changing cat litter can put the pregnant mother and the fetus at risk. Cat feces can carry toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that causes flu-like symptoms to mothers once infected. The mother may pass the infection to her baby and infection during the early stages of pregnancy may end in stillbirth or miscarriage.

Infants born from infected mothers or those with a weak immune system may experience the following complications:

-          Seizures

-          Enlarged livers or spleens

-          Jaundice

-          Severe eye infections

Pregnant mothers must avoid changing the cat litter and must ask someone else to do it. If that is not possible, the mother must wear gloves when cleaning and wash her hands afterward.


8.   Certain Exercises

Exercise is good for pregnant women. Brisk walking, swimming, stationary bikes, yoga, pilates, and low-impact aerobics are excellent exercises to stay in shape, feel good, and prepare for labor.

With this said, here are some exercises that pregnant mothers should avoid:

-          Ab exercises

-          Jumping

-          Bouncing

-          Leaping

-          Lifting heavy weights

- Contact Sports

Doing these activities can reduce blood flow in the uterus, put the mother at risk of falling, cause hernias and pulled muscles, make the joints loose, and may cause complications. 


9.   Misinformation

In the internet's age and social media, information travels far and wide. And not all information you see on the web is reliable and some are outright dangerous. Don’t be fooled: following these misleading pieces of advice may put your pregnancy at risk.

When browsing the web, beware of information coming from untrustworthy sources. It is best if you read or watch content from websites and pages of trusted doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, government health agencies, or international health agencies when searching for healthy pregnancy tips.

Don’t risk your baby’s health, think before you click.



Timmons, J. (2016, September 12). 11 Things to Avoid During Pregnancy - What Not to Do. Healthline.


Fletcher, J. (2018, August 24). What to avoid during pregnancy. Medical News Today.

Mayo Clinic. (2018, January 10). Fetal alcohol syndrome - Symptoms and causes.

Better Health Channel. (n.d.). Mercury in fish - Better Health Channel. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from

CDC. (2016, January 1). CDC Newsroom.

Stanford Children’s Health. (n.d.). Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from

Mayo Clinic. (2020, October 13). Toxoplasmosis - Symptoms and causes.

March of Dimes. (n.d.). Exercise during pregnancy. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from

Barker, J. (2012, June 8). Exercise No-Nos When You’re Pregnant. WebMD.


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Karl James

Amazing Information!