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Harmful Environmental Agents for
Pregnant women want to do all they can to protect
themselves during pregnancy so they can deliver a healthy baby.
Here are some environmental agents that can be harmful to pregnant
women - as well as young children - from ďPregnancy,
Childbirth, and the Newborn, Revised and Updated : The Complete
GuideĒ (Meadowbrook Press).
Herbicides and Insecticides
These sprays are widely used along roadsides, in farming areas,
and in residential communities. Their presence in air and food has
been associated with miscarriage and birth defects. While you are
pregnant, avoid frequent, long-term exposure to these chemicals,
and wash fruit and vegetables well to remove pesticides.
Avoid x-rays for medical and dental diagnosis and donít work in
areas where radiation levels may be high. During the first
trimester, radiation interferes with cell division and organ
development. If a diagnostic x-ray is suggested, be sure to talk
to your physician about the risk and possible safer alternatives.
Video Display and Computer Terminals
While miscarriage from the radiation in video or computer
terminals is unlikely, some side effects from prolonged use of
terminals can affect pregnant women. If you are showing signs of
fatigue, muscle strain, headache, carpal tunnel syndrome, or
eyestrain, try to vary your work responsibilities, make your work
station as comfortable as possible, and take frequent breaks from
Studies of the effects of electric blankets Ė which emit
low-frequency electromagnetic energy - on reproductive health are
inconclusive, but it would be wise to avoid using them during
Saunas and Hot Tubs
Prolonged exposure to extreme heat may raise a motherís body
temperature, creating a fever that impairs fetal developments. If
you find saunas and hot tubs relaxing and beneficial, make sure
the temperature is below the level of a fever. If your normal
temperature rises above one degree, get out and cool down. Keep
your shoulders and arms out of the water will help maintain a safe
There is no direct evidence that hair dyes or permanent waves are
harmful during pregnancy. Limit your exposure by always wearing
gloves when using these products and donít leave the solution on
your head for an extended period of time.
This is a mild infection caused by a parasite. This can be
dangerous to an unborn baby. Cats are common carriers of this
parasite, so to protect yourself, wash your hands thoroughly after
handling cats and have someone else clean the cat litter box.
Also, cook meat thoroughly, wash vegetables completely, and see
your physician for a blood test if you have coldlike symptoms.
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Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn, Revised and Updated
: The Complete Guide