Some women choose adoption when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Information and support is important, but the ultimate decision is personal and only you know what’s best for you. If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you’re not alone. About half of all women in the U.S. have an unplanned pregnancy at some point in their lives, and some decide to give birth and place their baby for adoption.
The process of adoption is when you give birth and then choose someone else to parent your child. It’s a permanent, legal agreement where you agree to place your child in the care of another person or family permanently. With Adoption Choices of Texas, you are in charge of your choice.
While everyone has their own unique and valid reasons for choosing adoption, there is one ‘same’ across the board: you are pregnant and must take care of yourself and the child inside of you over these next few months. There aren’t many hard and fast rules about what not to do during your pregnancy, beyond abstaining from alcohol and drugs. For the most part, you can continue with most of your pre-pregnancy life. But because the health and safety of your growing baby is essential, here’s a list of things not to do while pregnant:
- Avoid these foods during your pregnancy:
- Raw meat and shellfish: Uncooked seafood, including sushi, oysters, mussels, and clams. Also avoid rare or undercooked beef and poultry. These can be contaminated with toxoplasmosis or salmonella.
- Deli meat: Deli meats can be contaminated with listeria, bacteria that can cross the placenta and infect your developing baby. An infection in utero could lead to blood poisoning and could be life-threatening for your baby.
- Fish with high levels of mercury: That includes fish such as shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish. Wondering about tuna? In general, canned, chunk light tuna has lower levels of mercury, but it’s still smart to eat it sparingly.
- Smoked seafood: Avoid lox, kippered fish, jerky, or nova style salmon. There’s a risk that this refrigerated, smoked seafood could be contaminated with listeria. Smoked seafood that’s shelf-safe or canned, however, is probably fine.
- Raw eggs: This includes foods that contain raw eggs, so be wary of homemade Caesar dressings, Hollandaise sauces, mayonnaise, and certain custards. Raw eggs can pose a risk of salmonella.
- Soft cheeses: Some imported soft cheeses can have listeria, so steer clear of soft cheeses like Roquefort, feta, Gorgonzola, Camembert, and Brie. Mexican cheeses such as queso blanco and queso fresco should also be avoided, unless they’re made from pasteurized milk.
- Unpasteurized dairy: These products could contain listeria.
It seems extensive, but there are still plenty of great nutrition choices during your pregnancy. While it’s always important to eat a balanced diet, pregnancy is an especially critical time. In your daily mail plan, try to incorporate:
- lean proteins
- healthy fats
- lots of fresh vegetables and fruits
- and a multi-vitamin (check with your doctor to determine the best for you and your baby!)
2. Don’t overdo it on the caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic, which means drinking your usual few cups of coffee every day will increase your blood pressure, heart rate, and the number of trips you make to the restroom. Plus, caffeine crosses the placenta. While you may function just fine caffeinated, your growing baby doesn’t. That’s because your baby’s metabolism is still developing. You don’t have to forgo caffeine entirely: moderate levels of caffeine, defined as 150 to 300 milligrams (mg) a day, should be fine. Just remember that caffeine isn’t just in tea and coffee. You’ll find it in chocolate, sodas, and even certain over-the-counter medicines.
3. Some medications can be harmful to your growing baby. Before taking any over-the- counter or prescription medications and supplements, speak to your doctor.
4. Don’t wear stiletto’s. Stick to heels with a 3-inch heel or less: think kitten heels, wedges, and platforms. As your belly grows, your center of gravity will change. So you may find yourself a little unsteady on your feet. Add to that swollen ankles, and you may find yourself living in your flip flops. We don’t want you to hurt yourself OR your baby!
5. Don’t hang out in the hot tub or the sauna. If you’re feeling aches and pains during your pregnancy, relaxing in a hot tub may seem ideal. But an elevated body temperature during the first trimester can lead to certain birth defects. Skip the hot tub, which usually maintains a water temperature around 104°F, and try a warm bath instead.
6. Stay away from the kitty litter box. If you must change kitty, wear gloves and wash your hands well afterward. Cat feces can carry toxoplasmosis, a rare parasitic disease. While you’re more likely to contract it by eating raw meat or through gardening, it’s still a good idea to have someone else change the cat litter daily.
7. Don’t smoke and don’t breathe secondhand smoke. Smoking is terrible for you and your baby, but secondhand smoke can be nearly as bad. There are roughly 4,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke, and some of them have been linked to cancer. Exposure to secondhand smoke during your pregnancy can lead to:
- premature delivery
- low birth weight
- learning or behavioral issues as your baby grows
- sudden infant death syndrome
8. Don’t drink alcohol. Avoid wine, beer, and liquor during your pregnancy. Alcohol passes quickly from your bloodstream through the placenta and umbilical cord to your baby, and this can harm your developing baby’s brain and organs. Other potential risks include:
- premature birth
- fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
- brain damage
- birth defects
9. Don’t sit or stand for too long. During pregnancy, staying in same position for too long, seated or standing, can be problematic. It can cause all types of problems including swollen ankles and vein problems. Try taking short breaks frequently to move around if you’ve been seated, or to put your legs up if you’ve been on your feet.
10. Don’t believe everything you read. You can find all sorts of contradictory information online, in books, and in magazines. Be reasonable, trust your instincts, and remember that erring on the side of caution is never a bad idea. If in doubt, speak to your doctor.
Finally, don’t get stuck in the negative thought cycle that you are placing your baby for adoption anyway so you don’t need to take care of the child now. Taking care of the baby through your pregnancy is your responsibility for helping them grow in a nurturing, healthy environment. It is an opportunity to make changes in your life. If you want to learn more or discuss your unplanned pregnancy options, we are available to help now.