Smoking during pregnancy would harm the baby. It is linked to low-birth weight, premature deliveries and also increases the risk of birth defects. Smoking is also thought to increase the risk of sudden deaths of newborns and childhood cancers.
2. ALCOHOL INTAKE:
Several alcoholic drinks a day can harm the baby in the womb- especially during the first twelve (12) weeks. The developing baby does not have the capacity to breakdown alcohol to less harmful substances at the early stage and even later, consequently drinking alcohol exposes the baby to harm.
Women are advised to avoid alcohol during pregnancy or if a pregnancy is expected.
Women who are alcoholics tend to produce children with a condition known as Fetal Alcoholic Syndrome (FAS) characterized by poor fetal or infant growth, facial deformities and low intelligence.
Pregnant women are advised not to fast. Fasting reduces the available glucose in the blood and increases the fat content. This is not good for the developing brain of the child. Dieting in pregnancy is therefore not encouraged. Women can do that after delivery.
Caffeine is not advisable in pregnancy, it affects the intake of iron which can lead to low blood level. Moreover, the growing baby in the womb cannot breakdown caffeine into harmless substances, consequently as the pregnant woman drinks/takes caffeine containing substances, the baby also takes them. Thus the infant could have withdrawal symptoms as infants are not usually given caffeine substances.
Heavy caffeine intake can lead to delivery of low birth weight babies.
Experiments in animals have shown that caffeine can cause abortion.
Women should please note that caffeine is in some non-prescription drugs, tea, coffee, chocolate and soft drinks.
5. HARD DRUGS
Hard drugs such as marijuana, cocaine etc. should be avoided during pregnancy; they reduce blood flow and oxygen to the baby in the womb leading to poor growth, low birth weight and premature deliveries.
6. INADEQUATE ANTE-NATAL CARE
Inadequate or lack of ante-natal care endangers the mother and the baby. Chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure will not be detected and treated. The woman is unlikely to receive the routine drugs against low blood level and malaria.
Without ante-natal care or if ante-natal care is inadequate, a woman is more likely to die from the pregnancy than if she had it and the baby more likely to be of low birth weight.
7. USE OF SOME MEDICATIONS
Use of Medication is restricted during pregnancy and should only be on doctor’s advice. Effects of some drugs include abortion, low birth weight, and birth defects. Some of the medications include antibiotics, aspirin, hormone ointments, nasal drops and other cold medications, weight control drugs etc.