Pregnancy is both an exciting and an anxious time for new mothers. All mothers want the best for their growing child and will take every precaution to make sure everything is perfect. While bringing a life into the world is an amazing thing to do, there are some risks to be aware of. Here are five potential areas of risk that you may not know about that can harm your baby.
Caffeine is Not Healthy for the Baby
Studies have shown that more than 200-300 milligrams a day or 2 – 3 drinks of a caffeinated beverage have negative impacts on the baby’s health as well as increased chances of a miscarriage. Remember that caffeine is not only in coffee but also in tea, cola and some edibles.
Tuna, Mackerel and Swordfish are Risky to Eat
Tuna, mackerel and swordfish as well as some less common fish (tilefish, shark) can be harmful. These fish have large quantities of mercury in them. Although Methylmercury is removed from your system naturally, it may take over a year for high levels to return to normal. For that reason, it is important to consider reducing eating these fish even if you plan on becoming pregnant. On the other hand, a low level of mercury is not a huge worry so there is no need to be too concerned about the tuna sandwich you had 2 months before the pregnancy.
Obesity leads to increased complications
During a pregnancy, you will gain weight from the weight of the baby and because you will be eating much more than you are used to. Still, it is a good idea to keep your body mass index below 30, which is the level for obesity. A person that has too much weight runs the risk of their baby developing spina bifida, heart problems, hydrocephaly, and cleft palate as well as other birth defects.
Also, women with high weight may have high cholesterol. That leads to underweight babies or problems like pre-eclampsia and toxemia. In any case, it is a good idea to avoid being too heavy during the pregnancy. If you are currently overweight and considering getting pregnant, you may want to consider losing weight before getting pregnant.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
An STI is very dangerous because it can actually be transmitted directly to the baby and they could end up having the disease from birth. Fortunately, depending on the disease, there are medical treatments that prevent the infection of the baby by the mother. In fact, there is even a blocking treatment for AIDS.
A baby whose mother has an STI has a high risk of many birth defects including low birth weight, conjunctivitis, blindness, deafness, neurologic damage, cirrhosis and other problems.
Over 40 Years Old
If you are over 40 years old, you also have a higher risk for a complicated pregnancy. In fact, more than 33% of these pregnancies end in miscarriage. About 1% of these babies have Down Syndrome, and about 3% of babies of women over 45 get Down Syndrome. Still births are also 2-3 times more likely for women over 40 than under. The likelihood of a premature birth is also greater. For this reason, doctors must choose C-Section over a natural birth most of the time for women over 40. If you are over 40 and looking to become pregnant, it is wise to consult with a maternal-fetal specialist like Dr. Gilbert Webb.
Overall, there are many potential dangers for women and their babies during pregnancy. As the list above describes, pregnant women need to keep so many things in mind in order to have a healthy birth. Of course, everyone should speak with their physician to get personalized advice. Everyone’s condition is unique and need the personalized advice of a doctor.