Birth Injury Information Center
Pregnancy Do's and Don'ts
Not all birth injuries or defects can be prevented, but a mother has some power to increase her chance of having a healthy baby. Many birth defects happen very early in pregnancy, sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant. If your child was injured at birth, consult an attorney to learn about your rights to compensation. A lawyer experienced in birth injury litigation can explain your available legal remedies.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Eat healthy. Make sure to get all necessary vitamins and minerals, including folic acid. Do not skip meals, especially breakfast, and increase the amount of calcium and protein in your diet for you and your baby.
- Limit caffeine intake. Caffeine has been linked to miscarriages and should be eliminated from your diet during pregnancy.
- Minimize stress. If you are stressed out, you are likely to eat poorly and not get enough sleep. You may want to take up yoga or get a full-body massage to help you destress.
- Wear a seatbelt. Car accidents are a major contributor to miscarriage and injury to the fetus. Wear your seatbelt at all times.
- Exercise. If you exercised before you were pregnant, keep doing it at a more moderate pace. It can make labor and delivery easier on you and your baby. If you never exercised before, consult your doctor to learn which types of exercise are best suited for your pregnancy.
- Be cautious with medicine. Check with your doctor before taking any medications, even over-the-counter medicine.
- Gain a healthy amount of weight. Most women gain between 25 and 30 pounds during pregnancy. Now isn't the time to deprive yourself of food or skip meals. But don't use your pregnancy as an excuse to overeat. During the second trimester, women need to consume about 350 more calories per day. During the last trimester, around 450 more.
- Be wary of food-born illnesses. Wash all fruits and veggies and take extra precautions when handing raw meat and eggs. A woman's immune system is suppressed during pregnancy, so make every effort to protect you and your baby from food-born illnesses like salmonella.
- Ask questions. Ask your doctor any and all questions that you may have during your pregnancy.
- Eat fish with high mercury levels, like tuna, swordfish and shark. The FDA recommends no more than 2 servings of fish and shellfish that are low in mercury per week for pregnant and nursing mothers.
- Drink, smoke or take illegal drugs. Not only are they harmful for you, but they are extremely harmful to your child and can lead to premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, fetal alcohol syndrome, drug addiction and birth defects.
- Consume unpasteurized milk or milk products, including soft cheeses like Brie. The pasteurization process kills listeria, an organism that can cause premature birth, miscarriage and illness.
- Participate in activities that could lead to a fall such as skiing, rock climbing or snowboarding. Falls during pregnancy can harm the baby and cause miscarriage.
- Take very hot baths or soak in a hot tub or sauna. You want to keep a moderate body temperature during pregnancy and not over-heat. This also includes during exercise. You should keep your fluid levels up by drinking lots of water.
- Change or clean the cat litter box. Cats carry a disease called toxoplasmosis that can be dangerous to a fetus. Have someone else clean out the litter box while you are pregnant.
- Avoid toxic cleaners and substances around the house. This includes paint, paint strippers, solvents, bleach, aerosol cans and toxic cleaners like oven cleaners. They can cause birth defects.
These are only general guidelines. Every pregnancy is not the same. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, it is important to discuss what is right for you with your doctor.
Contact an attorney in your area if you have questions about filing a birth injury lawsuit. An experienced lawyer can help you understand your options and make the best decision for you and your family.
Copyright © 2011 FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.