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Pregnant

pregnant

The following health information is good advice for women who know they are pregnant.

Foods to avoid

Severe food poisoning during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or damage to the developing baby. Pregnant women are advised to avoid foods that have a higher risk of causing food poisoning. The following foods can contain harmful bacteria. You should avoid them, and any foods made with them, if you are pregnant.

Other foods contain substances that can harm an unborn baby, and you should avoid eating them. These foods are:

You should also limit your intake of some other foods which if taken in excess may be harmful. These are:

You can find out more information about healthy eating before and during pregnancy by talking to your doctor, nurse or midwife, or from:
www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/917

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite that can live in soil, raw meat and cat faeces. Infection with toxoplasmosis during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or damage to the baby’s eyes, ears or brain. To reduce the risk of infection, avoid changing cat litter (if you have to do it, wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards), wear gloves when gardening and wash all soil off fruit and vegetables.
You should also wash your hands thoroughly after handling uncooked meat, and keep uncooked and cooked meat separate.

X-rays

You should not have an x-ray while you are pregnant unless it is essential for your health. Tell your doctor or dentist if you are pregnant or trying for a baby.

Exercise

Both you and your partner should start, or keep up, regular exercise as regular exercise will improve your health and help reduce stress, but if you are not used to exercise, start off slowly. The more active and fit you are the easier it will be for you to cope comfortably with pregnancy.
Walking and swimming are good ways to start getting fit, and a yoga or Pilates class can help with relaxation and muscle tone. Whatever exercise you do, talk to your doctor or exercise instructor as you may need to adapt the exercises you do.
You should avoid exercise or sports where there is a risk of being hit in the abdomen, such as martial arts. You should take extra care during activities where there is a risk of falling or losing your balance, such as cycling and horse riding. You should also avoid any strenuous exercise in hot weather and remember to drink plenty of water or other fluids.
You can find out more information and advice about pre-pregnancy exercise, and exercise during pregnancy, from your general practice – ask your doctor or practice nurse.

Smoking

Try to stop smoking if you or your partner smokes. Stopping smoking may be the most important thing you can do for the health of you and your baby. Women who smoke during pregnancy have a greater risk of:

Babies who have low birth weight or are born prematurely are more likely to have health problems and are at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS, or cot death).
Try not to start smoking again after you’ve had your baby. Babies whose parents smoke are more likely to suffer from coughs and chest infections, and are at higher risk of SIDS.

If you or your partner needs help, support or practical advice on giving up smoking, you can:

Alcohol

Many women ask how much is safe to drink during pregnancy. Experts are still unsure exactly how much, if any, alcohol is completely safe for you to have while you're pregnant, so the safest approach is not to drink at all.
Alcohol can damage sperm production, so men should cut down on drinking too. If a woman drinks heavily and frequently in pregnancy, or regularly binge drinks (has five or more units of alcohol on any one occasion), this can harm her baby’s development and health.

How many units?

Very heavy drinking can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). These describe a range of symptoms that can be caused by alcohol in pregnancy, including damage to the facial features, brain, heart and kidneys, and learning difficulties and behavioural problems in later life.
Many pregnancies are unplanned. You may have had a one-off binge and then later discover that you conceived at or around this time. Many women worry that this might have caused harm to the baby. It is thought that a single episode of binge drinking is unlikely to be harmful to a woman or her baby.
If you or your partner find it difficult to cut down on alcohol, you can get help and support from your general practice – talk to your doctor, nurse or midwife. 

Work environment

Some occupations, such as working as a radiographer or working with chemicals, expose you to substances or surroundings that may be harmful if you become pregnant. If you are concerned, speak to your manager or health and safety officer to find out more.

Summary and checklist

Most pregnancies go well and without any major problems. But it is wise to reduce any risks as much as possible. So, a reminder of things to consider before becoming pregnant, or as soon as you realise that you are pregnant...

More information on pregnancy can be found here

http://www.sexualhealthscotland.co.uk/pregnancy/sexual-health-pregnancy
http://www.fpa.org.uk/help-and-advice/planning-pregnancy