Skip to main content

Lifestyle Habits To Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting phase in every woman’s life. You just want to enjoy it and prepare for your baby’s arrival. However, it is important to ensure that you take adequate steps to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Your lifestyle is a huge determinant in ensuring the quality of your pregnancy and its outcome. Let’s have a look at a few lifestyle habits that you must let go of for the good of your baby.


Cigarettes contain hazardous chemicals, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar. Smoking during pregnancy puts both the mother and the unborn baby at risk. It significantly increases the possibilities of fatal pregnancy complications. Smoking both before and during pregnancy can prove detrimental. Women who smoke are more likely to face difficulties when trying to get pregnant. According to the U. S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking raises the probability of early miscarriage, preterm delivery and stillbirth along with a range of long term health issues.

Infants exposed to prenatal smoking tend to be born with a low birth weight and some other birth defects such as congenital heart problems, hearing or vision impairments, cleft palate, and respiratory infections. Such kids have increased chances of developing learning and behavioural problems accompanied with some form of mental disorders. Studies have linked SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) to the effects of prenatal and postnatal smoking as babies who are exposed to chemical nicotine in the womb have a compromised response towards oxygen deprivation. Nicotine renders a much needed survival mechanism dysfunctional in the early stages of life.

Alcohol Consumption

While some believe that moderate alcohol consumption poses less threat to the fetus when compared to chronic consumption, it is advisable to practice abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy and lactation. When you drink, the alcohol enters your bloodstream, crosses the placenta, and reaches your baby. Your baby breaks down alcohol more slowly than you do and hence may end up with a higher level of blood alcohol. Consumption of alcohol endangers the growing baby in a number of ways. For instance, it increases the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight and stillbirth. Such kids also develop problems with learning, speech, language, attention span and hyperactivity.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is an umbrella term for a range of disorders associated with drinking during pregnancy. Babies with FAS have abnormally small heads and brains as well as suffer from anatomical defects, especially of the heart and spine. Damage to the central nervous system may result in intellectual disability, delays in physical development, vision and hearing problems, and a variety of behavioral problems.

Drug Abuse

Drug abuse at any point in life is dangerous but if you are an expecting mother or planning to conceive in the near future but suffer from a drug addiction, chances are you will not be witnessing the consequences alone. Substance abuse in the form of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, narcotics, sedatives or other addictive drugs can affect the neonate in a number of ways. Birth defects, placental abruption, premature birth, low birth weight, still birth, SIDS, behavioural and cognitive disabilities are some common results of neonatal exposure to drugs.

If you suffer from drug dependence, do not try to quit on your own without proper medical consultation or else you may suffer from withdrawal symptoms which in turn does more bad than good. The detoxification process should begin before conception and must continue through post pregnancy.

Weight Gain & Sedentary Lifestyle

There are lots of misconception regarding weight gain and exercise during pregnancy. Mothers are constantly advised to eat for two and get enough rest. An ideal pregnancy diet is not about excess food consumption but an inclusion of essential macro and micro nutrients in your daily food intake. Pregnancy is associated with considerable physiological and psychological changes that usually promote a sedentary lifestyle and an over indulgent diet. Such behaviors have been associated with elevated risk of gestational diabetes, hypertension, gestational weight gain, and the long-term risk for obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Heavier exercises such as lifting weights is not advisable but there are other forms of exercises including yoga, walking, breathing exercises that increase circulation, prevent swelling and develop the stamina required to give birth to a healthy baby.

Stress & Depression

Pregnant women are at a greater risk of developing depression owing to the hormone changes that can affect brain chemicals leading to depression and anxiety. Often dismissed as “baby blues,” if depression is not treated in due time, it results in negative emotions in the mother towards the child. Moms who are depressed may face trouble caring for their children. Such children face attachment issues and may develop anxiety, conduct disorders, learning difficulties, ADHD and other behavioural problems.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle and abstaining from risk factors does not only ensure a healthy pregnancy but also promises the long term well-being of your kid.