What’s safe and what’s not during pregnancy?

In case you’re wondering whether your favourite pastimes and indulgencies are safe now that you’re pregnant, here’s your go-to guide. 

1. Hair dye 

On a day you don’t feel your best, visiting your local hairdresser or dyeing your hair may seem like a wonderful way to make sure you at least look good even if you don’t feel it. Although dyeing your hair on a regular basis has the potential to affect your baby, colouring your hair once or twice during pregnancy is unlikely to be a problem. Hair dye is known to sink into the scalp, which is why many mums-to-be are worried about colouring their hair. But these days, most hair dyes use a low amount of chemicals. If you are still concerned, ask your hairdresser if they stock watercolour hair dye. This is an alternative, lower-risk option for pregnant mums who are worried about normal hair dye, but it is not used by all salons, so checking before you book your appointment is a must!  To be completely safe, waiting til the second or third trimester to dye your hair is the smartest option, as by then your baby will have developed many of its major organs. 

2. Teeth Whiteners

The teeth-whitening trend  is in full swing, but avoid jumping on this bandwagon while you’re pregnant. The chemicals used in teeth whiteners are likely to damage and corrode tissue cells in your mouth, particularly while your body is more sensitive to irritation. You may want your teeth to match your pregnancy glow, but regular toothpaste is the safest option until you have delivered your baby.

3. Gardening

Gardening is a great way to keep active during your first semester, but by the third trimester  you risk straining your ligaments and causing back pain. We suggest asking your partner to help out during this period to prevent the risks of injury. Better yet, sit on the deck with a lemonade and supervise your partner doing all the hard work!

4. Tanning

Fake tanning is becoming increasingly popular, and if you are someone who enjoys a cheeky tan, then luckily for you, most fake tans are safe to use during pregnancy. Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) is the most common ingredient found in fake tans, which won’t be absorbed or harm your baby. The bad news is, though, spray-on or tanning booths have potential threats and should be avoided. The risk of inhaling chemicals could affect you and your baby, so applying a tan you rub on rather than spray on is super important! Tanning beds can be highly dangerous to your baby due to the heat lamps, so avoid these at all costs, and instead use creams and lotions. It isn’t uncommon for pregnant women who use fake tans to have an allergic reaction, either, so testing a small patch on your skin prior to a full body tan is a good idea.

5. Caffeine

Coffee is a girl’s best friend, but starting to lower your caffeine intake during pregnancy will have benefits for you and your baby. Too much caffeine could increase your heart rate and blood pressure, and may also cause potential risks later in your pregnancy. It is recommended that you moderate your caffeine intake down to 300mg or less per day, which adds up to approximately two to three  cups. Caffeinated soft drinks , energy drinks, and even small chocolate bars contain large amounts of caffeine, so be aware of what you are consuming.

6. Wearing Heels

Pairing heels with your outfit is usually fine during your first trimester, but as your bump grows, so too will your feet – your ligaments will soften, causing your feet to grow up to a size, and you may also experience swelling and discomfort due to water retention and weight gain. If you can’t resist the extra height your favourite heels provide, we recommend finding a pair of wedges, platforms, or heels under 3cm that complement your outfit while providing a more stable base. This will ensure you are steady when standing or walking around for a long period of time, and avoids the trouble stilettos might cause you and your baby.

7. Gel nail polish

During pregnancy, your nails tend to be healthier and stronger, which makes the thought of getting a manicure or pedicure hard to resist! Similar to hair dye, most gel nail polishes contain harsh chemicals, but they are rarely absorbed into the skin. It is completely fine to get your nails treated, but be cautious, as you might feel nauseous at the nail salon from the aromas of the acrylic products. If you feel like this, make sure you get some fresh air, or ask to sit near a window before your appointment.

8. Concerts

You bought tickets to your favourite band’s concert before knowing you were pregnant, and now, months later, the time has come to decide if going is safe for you and your baby! The answer is YES. Don’t worry, you can still sing your heart out! Although the loud nature of concerts is concerning for many mothers, your baby is surrounded by fluids and tissue that decrease the chances of any hearing damage. We recommend staying hydrated and away from any large crowds (skip general admission and get a seated ticket instead) to have the safest and best time possible!

9. Painting

You probably want to start decorating your baby’s nursery and help out with painting, but avoiding this is a smart idea. Exposure to a large amount of paint fumes can increase the risk of birth defects and miscarriage. Asking or hiring someone else to help out with painting, or waiting until you have time after the birth of your child, are safer options. And no matter when you paint, be certain to ventilate the room well during and after the painting process.

10. Getting a wax

Waxing while pregnant is perfectly safe, don’t worry! If you are wanting to visit a waxing salon, it is important you find one that has a reputable name, as they will understand your needs and sensitivity. Late in your pregnancy, waxes could cause intense pain, so being aware of your tolerance to pain or avoiding waxes if you struggle with pain could help.

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BUMP & baby is New Zealand’s only magazine for pregnancy and early babyhood. Our team of mums and mums-to-be understand what it’s like to be pregnant in this connected age, and that’s why BUMP & Baby online is geared toward what pregnant women and new mums really want to know.

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