The Do’s and Don’ts of Pregnancy
How much coffee can I drink while I’m pregnant? Can I continue my after-workout routine of sweating all the toxins out in a sauna? Is it unsafe to clean up after my cat? Then what about my dog? Chances are, since finding out you’re pregnant, you’ve had a lot of questions about what you can and can’t do and you’ve probably received a lot of well-meaning albeit unwarranted advice from outside sources. So what are the true pregnancy do’s and don’ts that are important for you to follow in order to maintain yours and your baby’s health? Well, we’ve got you covered.
Take prenatal multivitamins
During your pregnancy, you’ll require more vitamins and minerals than before you were pregnant. Folic acid and zinc are just two examples of the vitamins you’ll need so you should start taking prenatal vitamins which help to lower the risk of neural birth defects once you find out you’re pregnant.
Get ample sleep
There are a lot of factors at play during pregnancy that could negatively affect your sleep schedule: there’s not only the changing hormone levels but also the anxiety and anticipation. Sleep is especially necessary during the demanding throes of the final trimester so you should schedule naps whenever you have the time, set bedtimes, and stick to them. Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night to fend off the feelings of fatigue that are practically inevitable.
Exercise is good for both mama and baby and can be used to combat problems that tend to arise during pregnancy like excessive weight gain, insomnia, mood swings, and muscle pain. Speak with your doctor about making adjustments to your workout routine if you regularly exercised before you became pregnant. This is especially important as you move into the second and third trimesters.
If exercise was not a part of your regular routine before pregnancy, ask your doctor about incorporating it into your routine now. They can help you develop an exercise plan that’s safe and comfortable for you and your developing baby.
Yoga is a great exercise when you’re expecting – excluding hot yoga or Bikram. Look for prenatal or gentle yoga classes as they are specifically designed for expecting mothers and the instructors will know which poses are best for your condition.
Monitor weight gain
The old adage that you are eating for two is not just an excuse for expecting mothers to eat absolute junk for the entirety of her pregnancy. You should be strategic about what you’re putting in your body and how much you’re consuming. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can actually harm your baby.
You may be surprised to find out that during your first trimester, you only need to consume about 100 extra calories a day to support the growing baby. By your third trimester, that number jumps to about 300 extra calories per day.
Watch what you eat
There are lots of foods out there that are not safe to eat during pregnancy: raw and undercooked meat and eggs, seafood containing high levels of mercury, unpasteurized milk and cheese, and deli meats. For a complete list of what to eat during pregnancy and what to avoid check out our article here.
Avoid harmful fumes
We know you may have been looking forward to painting your nursery since you found out you were pregnant but the chemicals and solvents in paint can be toxic and harmful to you and your baby. If you want to paint the nursery, you should use natural or organic paints.
Smoke, even breathed in secondhand, is linked to many complications such as miscarriage, cancer, premature delivery, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, or developmental issues as the baby grows up. Contact with tobacco should be avoided at all costs.
No amount of alcohol is safe for consumption during pregnancy as it can result in fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and symptoms like learning disabilities, lagging development, low birth weight, and behavioral problems.
If you are struggling to quit drinking alcohol while you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor immediately. The sooner you seek help, the healthier your baby is likely to be.
Sit in a hot tub or sauna
The high temperatures in hot tubs and saunas can be dangerous to an expecting mother as sitting in them can raise the body temperature, causing problems that can increase the risk of birth defects or miscarriage, particularly during the first trimester.
Drink lots of caffeine
Different sources will recommend different amounts of coffee consumption during pregnancy, but we say err on the side of caution. One cup a day is a safe amount to consume.
Clean the cat’s litter box
You might be surprised to hear that this is a don’t during pregnancy but feline waste is filled with millions of parasites and bacteria that can cause toxoplasmosis and severely harm your baby. If you come into contact with it, you might not even know until you have complications with your pregnancy that could potentially include a miscarriage or stillbirth. You can pet your furry friend all you like, washing your hands afterward, but stay away from its litter box.
If you’re searching for an effective alternative, there are self-cleaning litter boxes on the market.
Use products that let off electromagnetic radiation
This may be one you haven’t heard of often but there are plenty of products that emit harmful electromagnetic radiation that can harm the fetus and lead to miscarriages. This includes microwaves, electric blankets, waterbeds, and X-rays, particularly in the abdominal area.