Finding out you’re pregnant is life changing! Not only because of what’s to come but also because of the ways you alter and change your lifestyle during your pregnancy. There are so many differing options, old wives tales, medical recommendations, and personal opinions that it’s hard to sift through what’s fact and what’s myth when it comes to what you should do when you’re pregnant.
Here are my top five topics that I’m frequently asked about when it comes to being pregnant.
1. “Working out while pregnant might hurt the baby or might make the pregnancy not stick.”
To the contrary, exercise during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial for you and your baby. If you worked out before pregnancy, you can continue with your routine as long as you’re not having any complications. If you’re new to fitness, exercise is important for keeping your pelvic floor toned. Squats are a great place to start! However, use caution and make sure you’re taking in additional calories to support your pregnant body. Drink plenty of water, opt out of dangerous sports, and avoid extreme heat. Remember not to overdo it. Find out about modifications if you’re practicing yoga or other particular workout routines.
Look into fun and interesting forms of exercise for pregnancy like belly dancing!
2. “I need all new beauty products and I can’t dye my hair because I don’t want the chemicals to get to the baby.”
Pregnancy proofing your beauty regime is twofold. First, the jury is still out on whether chemicals such as phthalates found in nail polish or hairspray (or other beauty products) lead to pregnancy complications. However, many midwives and doctors recommend avoiding products that aren’t natural because of the small chance that what’s unknown can be harmful.
Secondly, many beauty products include compounds that your body does not process well regardless of pregnancy. These are best to be avoided altogether. Use this database and start “greening” your beauty regime by learning more about what you’re putting on your body and how it’s affecting your health!
3. “Cravings! I’ve heard that now that I’m pregnant I’m going to get all sorts of really weird cravings.”
Everyone is different and not everyone experiences pregnancy cravings. Listen to your body for healthy cravings. If you’re craving meat, your body might be telling you it needs more iron.
Be aware of cravings for nonfood items. Some women experience cravings for nonedible items such as dirt and laundry detergent. This is a disorder known as pica. Talk to your doctor. If you start to experience these cravings, it might be indicating a deficiency.
4. “I’ve been told that you can have a little alcohol occasionally during pregnancy and it’s not bad for you or the baby,” or “I’ve heard that you aren’t allowed to have any alcohol during pregnancy.”
“The problem with drinking alcohol during your pregnancy is that there is no [exact] amount that has been proven to be safe,” says Jacques Moritz, MD. Excessive alcohol consumption does lead to birth defects, and it’s also been shown that a small amount of alcohol may not cause any complications.
“Because there are so many unknowns, the CDC, the US Surgeon General, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise pregnant women not to drink alcohol at all.”
5. “I don’t want to give up my morning cup of coffee, but I read that caffeine isn’t good for the baby.”
Unfortunately, some studies do show that caffeine can have a negative impact on pregnancy and fetal development. Caffeine increases blood pressure and heart rate and can lead to dehydration. It can also cross the placenta, potentially keeping both you and your baby awake and restless.
Other studies show that a minimal amount of caffeine, about one small cup of coffee a day, doesn’t have a measurable impact on pregnancy leading to inconclusive evidence and the need for further study.
Remember, always talk to your midwife or doctor to find out what works best for you, your body, and your baby.