Last Reviewed: April 2017
Important signs to watch for if you are pregnant
- Bad cramps or stomach pains that don't go away.
- Bleeding or a trickle or gush of fluid from your vagina.
- Lower back pain/pressure or change in lower back pain.
- A feeling that the baby is pushing down.
- Contractions or change in the strength or number of them.
- An increase in the amount of vaginal discharge.
- Fever, chills, dizziness, vomiting or a bad headache.
- Blurry vision or spots before your eyes.
- Sudden or severe swelling of your feet, hand or face.
- A significant change in your baby's movements.
Go to a hospital right away and contact your doctor/midwife if you have any of these symptoms.
Adapted with permission from:
Best Start: Ontario's Maternal Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre
Taking Care of Yourself
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Environmental concerns when pregnant | Working through your pregnancy |
Environmental concerns when pregnant
Exposure to certain substances in the environment when you are pregnant may affect your pregnancy or the health of your baby. Toxic substances increase the risk for birth defects, low birth weight, prematurity and miscarriage.
It's important for you to be aware of the things you come in contact with in your environment that may affect you or your pregnancy. Harmful substances can enter your body if you breathe, touch or swallow them.
Some chemicals can circulate in the mother's blood, pass through the placenta, and reach the developing fetus. Other harmful agents can affect the overall health of the woman and reduce the delivery of nutrients to the baby.
- Avoid exposure to toxic substances that may be in the home or workplace, such as lead and mercury. Lead is found in many things such as exhaust, soil and paint. Occupational exposures are also an area of concern.
- Use latex (water-based) paint in a well-ventilated area if you are painting when pregnant. Never use oil-based paints.
- Avoid paint thinners, varnish removers and substances such as lacquer. Many solvents give off volatile compounds that can put you at greater risk of pre-eclampsia (pregnancy induced high blood pressure).
- Consider using vegetable-derived dyes as an alternative to hair dyes. It is not clear whether hair dyes cause harmful effects for the fetus.
- Avoid cleaners that are toxic or have harsh fumes.
- Avoid lawn chemicals, weed killers and pesticides during pregnancy.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them.
Avoid having medical and dental x-rays or CT scans while you are pregnant. Radiation can pass directly through the mother's body and harm the baby. Make sure to let your health-care provider know that you are pregnant to prevent unnecessary x-rays during pregnancy.
When you are pregnant, extreme heat can make your body temperature too high. If your body temperature is elevated for a prolonged period, it can cause birth defects in the baby. Be safe. Avoid hot tubs and saunas.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Pregnant women should take steps to minimize their exposure to all chemicals. If possible, avoid eating and drinking from tableware or bottles made of polycarbonate plastic. Follow Canada's Food Guide and eat a variety of food. Fresh or frozen foods are preferable to canned foods, if possible. Use glass dishes for microwaving foods. Never microwave polycarbonate plastic dishes.
For more information:
Region of Peel — Public Health
905-799-7700 Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216
To speak with a Public Health Nurse
Pesticides and Pregnancy