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Monday, October 17, 2011


Virtually everything you consume or inhale while pregnant will be passed through to the fetus. This process begins as soon as you conceive. In fact, the embryo is most vulnerable during the first two months, when the major body parts (arms, legs,hands, feet, liver, heart, genitalia, eyes, and brain) are just starting to form. Chemical substances such as those in cigarettes, alcohol, illegal drugs, and certain medications can interfere with the developmental process, as well as with later development, and some can even cause congenital abnormalities.

Take smoking, for instance. If you smoke cigarettes during pregnancy, you baby's birth weight may be significantly decreased. Even inhaling smoke from the cigarettes of others(passive smoking) can affect your baby. Stay away from smoking before you got pregnant, and still do, this is the time to stop - not until you give birth, but forever. Children who grow up in a home where a parent smokes have more ear infections and more respiratory problems during infancy and early childhood, and also have been shown to be more likely to smoke themselves when they grow up.

There's just as much concern about alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol intake during pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage. It also can cause a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes birth defects and below average intelligence. To date, no one has determined exactly how much alcohol is too much for a pregnant woman, but there is evidence that the more you drink, the greater the risk to the fetus. Until there is more data, it is safest not to drink alcoholic beverage during pregnancy.

You should also avoid all medical and supplements except those your physician has specifically recommended for use during pregnancy. This includes not only prescription drugs that you may have already been taking, but also non-prescription or over-the-counter products such as aspirin, cold medications, and antihistamines. Even vitamins can be dangerous if taken in quantities larger than the recommended doses. Consult your physicians before taking drugs of supplements of any kind during pregnancy.

Your caffeine intake also should be limited while you are pregnant. While no adverse effects from normal caffeine intake have yer been proven, caffeine does tend to keep adults awake and make them irritable, which can only make things less comfortable and restful for you.

Another cause of congenital  abnormalities is illness during pregnancy. Some of the most dangerous diseases you should take precautions against include:

GERMAN MEASLES(rubella), which can cause mental retardation, heart abnormalities, cataracts, and deafness. Fortunately, this illness can now be prevented by immunization, though you must not be immunized against rubella while pregnant.
The majority of adult women are immune to German measles because they had the disease during childhood or have already been immunized against it. If you're not sure whether you'r immune, ask your obstetrician to order a blood test for you. In the unlikely event that the test shows you're not immune, you must do your best to avoid young sick children especially during the first three months of your pregnancy. It is then recommended that you receive immunization after giving birth to prevent this same concern in the future.

Chickenpox is particularly dangerous if contracted shortly before delivery. If you have not already had chickenpox, you should avoid anyone who might have or might be coming down with this disease, particularly young children who have been around others with chickenpox. If you have not had chickenpox, you should receive the preventive vaccine when you are not pregnant.

Toxoplasmosis is primarily a danger for cat owners. This illness is caused by parasitic infection common in cats. The infected animal excretes a form of the parasite in its stools and anyone who comes in contact with infected stools could themselves become infected.  


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