I recently mentioned some activities which are good for pregnant females. Well, now comes six more, only this time six which should definitely be avoided during pregnancy.

1. At the top of the “bad” list is smoking. Not only is smoking almost guaranteed to shorten your life, it also has some major negative effects on the developing fetus. Just as it does in your body, it reduces blood flow to the baby. Thus, the placenta, which is the major source of your baby’s nutrition, tends to be smaller and at times inadequate to take care of vital needs of the fetus. This is termed placental insufficiency. Babies tend to be smaller at birth as a result and this in turn exposes them to a whole host of risks that small newborns can suffer. Premature labor is also more common and babies born before 32 weeks of gestation are at risk for major diseases. There is also a greater risk of maternal infection being transmitted to your baby.  In short, don’t smoke!

2.Alcohol is another substance, which all pregnant females should avoid. If you drink more than a few drinks daily, your baby is put at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome. Babies with this disease, have significant congenital defects including abnormal facial bones, impaired development of the brain and seizures. Certainly, this syndrome is not a just a minor problem. The best advice is don’t drink at all and your baby will not be at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome.

3. Any medications other than the occasional Tylenol and daily prenatal vitamins should be assumed to be risky, unless otherwise advised by your doctor. Ibuprofen, also known as Motrin, Nuprin and Advil, is known to cause miscarriages and should always be avoided.

4. Natural or herbal medications should also be avoided. I know that people have been taking some of these substances for thousands of years, but women and newborns having been dying from pregnancy and delivery for thousands of years as well. Only relatively recently in developed countries has the mortality been significantly reduced, in part due to avoidance of dangerous therapies. Furthermore, “natural” medications are anything but. Last I remember, pills don’t grow on trees. Somehow the herbs are fashioned into pills, and I guarantee you by using other chemicals. Furthermore, the FDA does not regulate what’s in these medications and there are often adulterants or unwanted substances. Bottom line is don’t take the chance!

5. Don’t plan any trips in your last month of pregnancy. This includes visiting your great aunt Agnes who lives across the country. Delivering a baby in a plane or in a car is no fun. Neither is having to go to an new hospital and have a doctor, who knows nothing about you, deliver your baby.

6. While smoking the occasional bud may not be a major health risk, it is certainly not a good idea to use any drugs including marijuana during pregnancy. Get high off of watching that recorded ultrasound of your baby in your womb, rather than off of inhaling.