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Prenatal Care

What to Avoid in Pregnancy




If you smoke, SO DOES YOUR BABY!!!! This is a very important fact of pregnancy.

The placenta is the organ that connects the developing baby to you. It consists mostly of blood vessels and is attached to your uterus on one side and your baby on the other side by way of the umbilical cord . Its job is to allow the passage of nutrients, oxygen, vitamins, and other substances to pass from your blood to the baby allowing it to grow and develop. It also carries away your baby’s waste products to your kidneys, liver, and lungs and acts for the baby until his/her organs are mature enough to do well on their own outside the womb.


Cigarette smoke contains more than 2,500 chemicals . It is not known or certain which one of these chemicals are harmful to a developing baby. However, both nicotine and carbon monoxide (the same gas released from a car’s exhaust) are believed to play a role in causing bad pregnancy outcomes. These chemicals are directly taken from your lungs, to your blood to your baby’s blood. Imagine how these chemicals affect the fragile tissues of a developing baby. Here are some known complications from smoking during pregnancy:


• Low birth weight baby

 Low birth weight can be caused by prematurity (birth prior to 37 weeks), poor growth, or a combination of both . Prematurity is increased in pregnancy smokers and is the number one cause of neonatal death and chronic illness in babies . Problems such as cerebral palsy, life-long lung, kidney or other problems.


• Placentaprevia

Low lying placenta that covers part or all of the opening to the uterus . Placenta previa blocks the exit of the baby from the uterus causing the baby and or mother to bleed.


• Placentalabruption

The placenta tears away from the uterus causing the mother and baby to bleed.


• Stillbirth

The baby dies in the womb before birth .


• Premature rupture of membranes

 The water breaks before 36 weeks and is associated with low birth weight babies and increased pre-term labor and delivery .The effects smoking has on your baby continue once you are home. Children exposed to smoke in the home have higher levels of lung problems such as asthma, pneumonia, or bronchitis. They also suffer more ear infections than children not exposed to smoking.



There is no amount of alcohol or street drugs that are known to be safe during pregnancy and therefore should be avoided . Drinking alcohol or using drugs can cause birth defects, mental retardation and abnormal brain development .


Foods to Avoid

• Rawmeat– Avoid uncooked seafood and undercooked beef or poultry due to risk of bacterial contamination, toxoplasmosis and salmonella.


• Fishwithmercury – Avoid fish with high levels of mercury including shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish . (Limit Albacore Tuna to 6 oz ./week)


• Smokedseafood– Refrigerated, smoked seafood should be avoided due to risk oflisteria contamination.


• Rawshellfish – including clams, oysters, and mussels can cause bacterial infections.


• Raweggs – raw eggs or any foods containing raw eggs can be contaminated with salmonella.


• Softcheeses – imported soft cheeses may contain listeria (soft cheeses that are pasteurized are safe).


• Unpasteurizedmilk – may contain listeria which can lead to miscarriage.


• Caffeine – limit caffeine intake to equivalent of one cup of coffee a day.



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