Environment: Home and Work
Why should I worry about environmental hazards at work?
What substances should I be aware of at work or while enjoying my hobbies?
How do I know if I'm being exposed to dangerous levels of these substances?
Are there any environmental factors I should be aware of at home?
What is listeriosis?
How can I avoid getting listeriosis?
What is toxoplasmosis?
How can I avoid getting toxoplasmosis?
Can I relax in a hot tub or sauna?
Why should I worry about environmental hazards at work?Some substances found in the workplace may affect fertility.
Additionally, if you don't realize you are pregnant, you could unintentionally expose your unborn baby to potentially dangerous substances during its vulnerable first few weeks of growth and development. This could increase your risk of miscarriage, birth defects, low birthweight, or premature birth.
How do I know if I'm being exposed to dangerous levels of these substances?Raise the subject with your health care provider and check our resources section for Enviornment: Home and Work to find out where you can get further information on specific environmental hazards.
Are there any environmental factors I should be aware of at home?While you are planning your pregnancy, it is helpful to know what things within your environment you will need to avoid as soon as you become pregnant. Although these environmental factors should not affect your health pre-pregnancy or your ability to conceive, domestic health hazards you'll want to avoid as soon as you are pregnant include:
What is listeriosis?Listeriosis is a disease carried by the bacterium listeria. The possible consequences are severe and include miscarriage. You can get listeriosis from eating some soft cheeses, undercooked meat and fish, and prepared meat products such as cold cuts and sausages. It is not particularly common, but about one-third of the cases in the United States occur in pregnant women.
How can I avoid getting listeriosis?To stay clear of listeriosis, you should:
What is toxoplasmosis?Toxoplasmosis is a common parasite that can seriously harm an unborn baby. The parasite is most often spread through exposure to cat droppings or eating contaminated raw and undercooked meat. If you have always been around indoor/outdoor cats, it is likely you already have antibodies against contracting toxoplasmosis.
Many people who have it don't know it; symptoms are mild and flu-like. If you've had it in the past you may now be immune. Pre-pregnancy testing for toxoplasmosis is not routine, so if you think you may have been exposed, ask your health care provider for a test.
How can I avoid getting toxoplasmosis?There are a number of ways you can avoid getting toxoplasmosis if you think you may be pregnant:
Can I relax in a hot tub or sauna?If you are in the early stages of pregnancy, prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to neural tube defects in the baby.
You can, however, enjoy a calming soak in a bathtub with water no warmer than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Avoid, or at least limit your time to ten minutes, in saunas, steam baths, and hot tubs.
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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 10/26/2012