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Courtesy of Medical Billing and Coding

The prospect of being a parent and raising a child is an exciting and momentous occasion. Pregnancy is also a delicate process, and mothers must be very careful to safeguard the precious cargo they carry. While some activities or substances that should be avoided seem obvious, there are some things that pregnant mothers shouldn’t do that may be a bit surprising. According to our in-house labor assistant, here are 9 strange things you can’t do when you’re pregnant.

  1. Clean out the cat litter box

    While many women won’t complain about this recommendation, it’s best for pregnant women to avoid cleaning the litter box. The reason is that cat feces can contain a virus called Toxoplasmosis. This virus can be very harmful to pregnancy. But pregnant women should recognize that contact with kitty litter is not limited to changing the cat litter box. Since a cat walks on its litter, the virus can be tracked anywhere a cat walks, including its paws. Due to this, all contact with the cat must be limited and the house must be kept extra clean.

  2. Eat cold deli meats and soft cheeses

    While pregnant women are known for their wild appetites, two things pregnant women should stay away from are cold deli meats and soft cheeses. The reason is that these foods can be contaminated by a pesky bacteria called Listeria which can cause a condition called Listeriosis. This condition is potentially threatening to the pregnancy. Listeria can be easily killed by cooking or reheating deli meats and cheeses, but unless you’re sure these foods are fresh and uncontaminated, it may not be a good idea to risk the infection, especially when eating out.

  3. Jump on a trampoline

    Jumping on a trampoline may be good exercise, but when you’re pregnant, the bouncing has to come to an end. Expectant mothers should avoid jumping on trampolines because bouncing and high-impact movements can cause connective tissues to stretch and lead to painful joint injuries. Pregnant mothers also experience a shift in their center of gravity, so it’s much easier to lose their balance and fall over or off a trampoline. So even though jumping on a trampoline seems like a lot of fun, it’s best to wait until after the child is born and can participate!

  4. Use electric blankets

    Pregnant women should avoid using electric blankets because of the potentially harmful effects the electricity can have on the developing baby. Electric blankets give off low-level electromagnetic fields that may be harmful to a developing fetus. The effects of these electromagnetic fields are poorly understood, but rather than risking any ill effects for the unborn child, it’s a good idea to stick to a regular bed with a quilt or extra blanket while the bun’s in the oven.

  5. Sleep on your back

    As if it wasn’t hard enough to get a good night’s rest and feel comfortable when you’re pregnant, back and stomach sleepers have to change up their sleeping positions to avoid potential health risks. Pregnant mothers are strongly advised to sleep on their side, preferably the left side, to increase blood flow to the fetus and prevent certain health problems. Women should avoid sleeping on their backs because it can cause backaches, breathing problems, digestive issues, low blood pressure, and other risks. In addition, pregnant women should avoid sleeping on their stomachs because it is physically difficult to maneuver and could be problematic to their health and the health of their baby.

  6. Use saunas, hot tubs, and take hot baths

    As relaxing as it may be to sit in a steamy room or hot bath, pregnant women should avoid saunas, hot tubs, and hot baths at all costs. Hot tubs and hot baths can cause hyperthermia, an abnormally high body temperature, which can pose great risks to you and your baby. Too much time in a sauna or hot tub can mimic the effect of a fever, putting your baby’s fragile developing organs at risk. As a result, it’s recommended to avoid these activities while pregnant.

  7. Clean the inside of an oven

    Pregnant women don’t have to stop cleaning or turn over all the cleaning duties to their significant other, but there are certain chores that need to be avoided during this time, like cleaning the inside of an oven and other poorly ventilated spaces. Expecting moms should limit their exposure to harmful chemical cleaners or use natural cleaners instead, and they should avoid painting or exposing themselves to harmful fumes. Pregnant women can clean in well-ventilated spaces and open windows or turn on fans to ensure proper air circulation.

  8. Go skiing and scuba diving

    Skiing and scuba diving are big no-nos for pregnant women. Although exercise is generally good for you and your unborn baby, there is a limit to how much and what kinds of exercise you can partake in. Water and snow skiing already pose plenty of dangers as is. Pregnant women who partake in skiing are at a greater risk for falls, injuries, and complications from high altitudes. Scuba diving should also be avoided during pregnancy because the mother and her baby could be severely harmed. Scuba diving can cause birth defects, as well as gas bubbles in your baby’s blood which can lead to many health issues. Even though mothers might be able to decompress safely when returning to the water’s surface, babies often have difficulty doing so.

  9. Drink caffeine

    Need a pick-me-up? You should avoid reaching for coffee, soda, tea, or any other caffeinated beverage if you’re pregnant. Caffeine intake has been linked to birth defects and miscarriages in some studies. While no conclusive evidence exists for these drastic health effects, physicians often recommend steering clear of caffeine during pregnancy, or at least ingesting caffeine in moderation.

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