What to Quit When You’re Pregnant

You’re pregnant. Now what? There are some serious activities you should quit right away to set the stage for a healthy pregnancy.
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By Meredith Franco Meyers, Contributing Writer
Updated January 30, 2017
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Premature birth, low birth weight and even stillbirth all have been associated with a mom’s use of cigarettes. Secondhand smoke is risky as well. So ask your partner to kick the butts too.

Cold cuts

Say good-bye to turkey and Swiss on rye. Deli meats may contain bacteria called listeria, which can cause an illness that can lead to preterm labor and miscarriage.

Cleaning the litter box

Fluffy’s poop could contain a pesky parasite called toxoplasma. What’s scary is that it can cross the placenta and infect baby. If you must change your kitty’s box, wear rubber gloves and a mask.


Hold off on celebratory champagne until baby is here. Alcohol can cause fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which can lead to disabilities, including mental retardation.

Unpasteurized foods

Skip the cheese, raw milk or farmers market juice if the label doesn’t say it has been pasteurized. (Yes, even if you’re a foodie.) It could contain harmful bacteria.

Some medications

Bring a list of your prescriptions to your doctor, so she can tell you whether or not they’re safe to take during pregnancy. While many are considered unsafe (or untested), there are some situations in which a doctor believes the risk to an unborn baby is minimal compared with the benefits to mom’s health. Example: antidepressants.


Caffeine has been linked to an increased risk for premature birth and miscarriage. Limit your daily intake to 200 milligrams or less (one or two 8-ounce cups of coffee).

Raw fish and meat

Sushi, raw or undercooked eggs, and raw meat heighten your risk for food poisoning. All your fish, meat and poultry should be fully cooked.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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