Why be wary: Alcohol, smoking, and illegal drugs can all have a negative effect on your developing baby. Drugs and alcohol can cause mental and physical birth defects, and smoking increases the risk of low birth weight and preterm labor. Oops! I did before I knew I was pregnant! The best thing you can do now is to stop smoking and cut alcohol and drugs out of your lifestyle. Most doctors agree that a few drinks or cigarettes very early on before you know you are pregnant will not adversely affect your baby.
Why be wary: Some studies have shown that excessive amounts of caffeine (500 mg or more) can increase a woman's chance for miscarriage, while other studies have shown that high levels of caffeine can increase the chances for a low birth weight baby. Oops! I did before I knew I was pregnant! An average cup of coffee contains 137 mg of caffeine, so a cup or two a day shouldn't have any adverse effect. Just be aware of the total amount of caffeine you are consuming each day (including sodas, tea, and chocolate) and consider switching over to decaf.
Why be wary: It's hard to believe that danger could be lurking in something as simple as a deli sandwich, but deli meats can be contaminated with listeria—a bacteria that can cause miscarriage, preterm labor, or infection in a newborn.
Oops! I did before I knew I was pregnant! Symptoms of listeriosis include mild flu-like symptoms, headaches, muscle aches, fever, nausea, and vomiting and typically show up within a few days of consuming the contaminated food, although occasionally it takes a few weeks for symptoms to appear. If you haven't shown any of the symptoms of listeriosis you're probably in the clear. Your best bet now is to avoid deli meats altogether, or heat deli meat in the microwave until it is steaming before you take a bite of that sandwich.
Why be wary: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ( ACOG) recommends not raising your body temperature about 101 degrees F during pregnancy, as this can lead to birth defects. Most hot tubs and saunas are too warm for a pregnant woman, but a warm (not scalding!) bath is perfectly safe.
Oops! I did before I knew I was pregnant! Don't stress too much—just stay out of the hot water going forward.
Why be wary: The Center for Disease Control has advised pregnant women not to eat soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, queso fresco, queso blanco, and Panela, due to the risk of listeria contamination. Listeriosis can cause miscarriage, preterm labor, or infection in a newborn.
Oops! I did before I knew I was pregnant! If you haven't developed symptoms of listeriosis (mild flu-like symptoms, headaches, muscle aches, fever, nausea and vomiting) within a few weeks of consumption then the cheese you ate was most likely not contaminated. Going forward, avoid the cheese plate or stick to hard, pasteurized cheeses.
Why be wary: Cleaning the cat's litter box is a dirty job but someone's got to do it—during pregnancy, however, that someone shouldn't be you. Cat feces can be infected with toxoplasmosis—a parasite that can cause miscarriage or birth defects.
Oops! I did before I knew I was pregnant! Mention it to your OB-GYN, but don't worry—toxoplasmosis is relatively rare. In the future ask someone else to take care of this dirty job. If you absolutely must change the litter box yourself, be sure to wear plastic gloves and wash your hands after finishing the job.
Why be wary: Uncooked fish and meats may contain parasites and bacteria that could cause harm to your developing baby.
Oops! I did before I knew I was pregnant! Just mention it to your OB-GYN and avoid the raw bar in the future. But you don't have to give up sushi altogether—California rolls and any other types of cooked sushi are perfectly safe.
Aspirin and some over-the-counter medications 8 of 9
Why be wary: Aspirin use in early pregnancy has been linked to increased rates of miscarriage, and in later pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of placenta abruptio. Some other OTC medications have also been shown to cause problems during pregnancy.
Oops! I did before I knew I was pregnant! Mention it to your OB-GYN, but it's unlikely that a low dosage of aspirin very early on will cause a problem. Going forward, always check with your doctor before taking any OTC medications.
Oops! I did before I knew I was pregnant! Don't worry, just cut high mercury fish out of your diet during the rest of your pregnancy. To learn more about which types of fish are safe and which are not visit EPA.gov.
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