Precautions during pregnancy
Dyeing your hair: leave it for later
Hair dyes contain harsh chemicals that are absorbed by the scalp and may be passed on to your child. If you cannot do without colouring your hair, do it in the second trimester of your pregnancy.
Sunbathing and tanning beds: better to stay cool
To reduce any risks, experts advise against sunbathing for long periods and going to tanning beds. It is believed that UV rays break down folic acid, an important substance for the development of your baby. If you get too much sun you might become dehydrated or overheated, and due to hormonal changes your skin may react to the UV rays, resulting in spots of discolouration.
Smoking: active and passive smoking can be extremely damaging
Tobacco products contain substances that harm your baby's development. They impact the blood supply to the placenta, which can reduce the supply of oxygen and important nutrients to your baby, while also exposing it to toxic substances. This can result in slower development, hyperactivity and an increased risk of allergy. Furthermore, it dramatically increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Alcohol: not safe for baby
Avoid alcohol completely. Your baby will ingest the alcohol directly via the placenta. This can cause malformations, mental abnormalities, and other conditons falling under Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; this may lead to learning disabilities and attention disorders later in life.
Caffeine: try to limit your intake
Fighting your pregnancy fatigue with lots of coffee is not a good idea. Caffeine can harm your baby because it interferes with the absorption of calcium, iron and vitamin C, and is associated with a low birth weight. Two to three cups (approximately 300mg caffeine per day) is okay, but not more. Remember that green tea contains caffeine, so herbal teas are a nice alternative!
Exercise: keep active but do not overdo it
Brisk walking, swimming, aquanatal classes and cycling on a stationary exercise bike are good and safe forms of exercise, as long as you do not overdo it. Pregnancy yoga and Pilates are good for strengthening and toning, though you should find a registered, qualified teacher who is experienced in teaching pregnant women. A combination of aerobic exercise (swimming, walking) and strengthening / conditioning exercise (yoga, Pilates) is ideal. You don't have to give up your exercise practices during pregnancy, but try not to start new or higher intensity programs while pregnant.
If you are trying to get pregnant, it is a good idea to practise some of these safe and healthy habits starting at least three months before conception. Since every woman's situation is different, seek advice from your obstetrician or midwife regarding specific questions.