Pregnancy takes a lot of compromises and trade offs. Many of the activities which are habitual to you needs to be given up for the sake of the developing fetus.

Given below is a comprehensive list of what to avoid during those 9 months.


Smoking or being around people who are smoking is a big no for the expectant mother. The effects of such smoking can be extremely hazardous which include miscarriage, pre-term labor, low-weight baby, infant deaths etc.

Drinking alcohol

Alcohol is always harmful to the expectant mother, regardless of the amount or frequency. The more exposure a fetus gets to alcohol, more the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). This causes malfunctions and skeletal system, nervous system and is the main cause leading to severe mental retardation.

Taking illegal/over-the-counter drugs

During pregnancy, the expectant mother should steer clear of any type of illegal drugs which might cause low birth weight, central nervous system damage and many physical malformations. Even over-the-counter drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen should be avoided at this time.

Eating fish/ uncooked meat

Fish which are known to have a high concentration of mercury should be avoided as it is known to affect the developing brain of the fetus. Similarly, raw meat carries a risk of coli form bacteria, salmonella etc. which are known to cause miscarriage, still birth or brain damage.

Taking long hot baths/using electric blanket

Hot baths raise the body temperature and there is immense risk to the fetus if the mother’s body temperature rises above 102F. On the other hand, studies have shown that even low level exposure to electromagnetic fields cause cell damage.

This is particularly harmful during the early stage when the fetus is going through cell formation. Hence, the mother should stay away from electric blankets, water beds and even microwaves.

Exposure to pesticides/fumes from paints

The expectant mother should stay away from all types of pesticides. Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before consuming. Exposure to pesticides may lead to developmental delays in the fetus.

Similarly fumes from paints and other home-cleaning products contain a large amount of toxic elements and hence should be avoided.

Cleaning cat litter boxes

Cat’s feces carries a parasite which causes toxoplasmosis which can result in still-birth. Birth defects, ectopic pregnancy etc. If the cat has been there for a long time, a vet should be consulted to check whether it is carrying any disease.

Indulging in sports

A little exercising is without doubt beneficial for both the mother and child. But too much of strenuous physical activity may lead to increase in body temperature.

Hence it is best to avoid sport activities like cycling, skiing, snowboarding, scuba diving, horseback riding, contact sports like soccer or hockey, gymnastics etc. Also, carrying heavy weights or doing yoga or Pilates which requires lying on back is a big no.


Certain activities like taking caffeine, dental x-rays, vaccines are controversial regarding their harmfulness. It is always better to check with the health provider before going for any of these.