10 Activities Pregnant Women Should Avoid

While most women progress through their pregnancy with no problems at all, and don't give much thought to safety in regards to their daily activities, there are some activities that are off-limits to expectant moms. Some of these may seem silly, but there is a basis for all of them.

1. Amusement Park Rides

Anything other than the Ferris wheel is a no-no because the abrupt starting and stopping of the rides, along with the flipping and jerking can cause miscarriage in the first trimester, and premature birth or stillbirth later on. The jerking movement can cause a placental abruption, the technical name for the placenta separating partially or completely from the uterine wall. Once the placenta separates, the baby cannot survive in the womb. So stick to the midway games and all will be well.

2. Horseback Riding

The danger with horses during pregnancy comes from the risk of falling, as well as being kicked if the horse is spooked. Both of these can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth. Even the most experienced horsewoman runs the risk of falling, due to a shifting center of gravity as the belly gets bigger. So while a pregnant woman can still take care of some of the responsibilities of horse care, riding will have to wait until after the baby is born.

3. Contact Sports

This one falls into the "no-brainer" category. Obviously, if there is a risk that a pregnant woman is going to get hit, crushed or fall, then she should stick to cheering from the sidelines. It is this reason that even pregnant police officers and military members are placed on desk duty during pregnancy.

4. Mountain Climbing or Hiking

The risk here comes again from falling. Mountain climbing can be risky to women who aren't pregnant, but the poor balance that comes with pregnancy, and possibly slipping on jagged rocks doesn't work well together. The same thing goes with more rugged, hiking activities. Some beginner trails may still be fine in early pregnancy, especially if the woman is an experienced hiker, but beyond that, mom should stick to the walking trails at the local park instead.

5. Off-Roading or Rock Crawling

Many people have been seriously injured or killed in roll-over accidents while participating in these activities. So when a mom is in a delicate state, no matter how much fun it is, the rock-crawling needs to wait until after the baby is born and a sitter can be found because it isn't an activity that is safe for baby after birth either.

6. Downhill Skiing

Once again the risk is falling. Downhill skiing has killed people in the past who weren't pregnant because they lost their balance and fell or crashed into trees. Moms who want to ski should stick to cross country skiing, which is beneficial during pregnancy because it is easy on the joints, and it's a good cardio workout. Mom will also get some great vitamin D from the sun, which many pregnant women are deficient in.

7. Home Improvement Projects

As pregnancy progresses, the desire to "nest" can be overwhelming to some expectant moms. But, things like painting rooms or staining furniture should be left to fathers or friends. The reason is that some of the chemicals used in home improvement can be harmful to the baby. New paints on the market have low or no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are safer, but moms should still stick to just supervising the work. Also, the heavy lifting and climbing ladders often involved in fixing up the house is unsafe as pregnancy progresses as well.

8. Indoor Shooting

For many women, indoor shooting is not only enjoyable, but it helps them feel safer as well. Unfortunately there isn't any conclusive evidence that it is completely safe. The risk here comes from the exposure to lead in a confined space as well as the massive noise the baby would be exposed to. Indoor ranges are supposed to have air exchange systems to keep the lead out of the air, but these systems don't always function the way they should. If a woman has to shoot, for instance an officer doing firearms qualification, she should wear a HEPA filter mask rated for lead, and not handle the ammunition or spent casings herself. She should also wash her hands and arms up to the elbows in cold, soapy water to be sure that lead doesn't get absorbed through the pores.

9. Spa Treatments

Many expectant moms want to visit the spa during pregnancy to help alleviate some of the symptoms of pregnancy. However, any spa treatment that raises body temperature, such as a mud bath or body wrap, or something that uses harsh chemicals, such as a chemical peel, are off limits. Other treatments such as facials or massages are fine, as long as the practitioner is experienced in treating pregnant women. Massages, in particular, are relaxing, but there are specialized techniques that should be used to ensure safety.

10. Moving

All the heavy lifting and straining involved in moving is something that is off limits for pregnant women. Beyond that, moving is stressful, and while there is no definitive evidence that stress can cause miscarriage or stillbirth, there is evidence that stress does have physiological effects on the body that can be dangerous during pregnancy, including elevated levels of some hormones as well as elevated blood pressure. So a mom should try and schedule a move after the baby is born.

Many of these things are not an issue for most women, but it is still important to know what is safe and what isn't. If something can't be avoided, then every measure should be taken to protect the mother and baby. The caution is worth it in the end.

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