If you’re knocked up and plan to have the baby, you’ve been given a great responsibility. Not only do you now have to worry about eating right, staying fit and being safe for your own health, but for your baby’s.
There are many everyday things we may be accustomed to that suddenly become off-limits during pregnancy. You’ve likely heard to avoid eating sushi, drinking alcohol and smoking but there are actually many more hazards your doctor won’t necessarily tell you about, as well as plenty of things you can do to increase your chances of success.
Here are some of the dos and don’ts of a healthy pregnancy:
DO Go Green in Your Beauty Routine
Look for ways to “green” your beauty routine, and stay away from tanning beds, nail salons and beauty salons (other than a quick trip for a trim or haircut). Lay off the aerosol hairsprays, commercial cosmetics, perfumes, deodorants containing aluminum, commercial sunscreens, and hair goo and body washes containing sulfates. There are untold amounts of chemicals and toxins lurking in these types of products, many of which can cross the placenta. This is not to say that you have to spend nine months looking like Kim Kardashian without makeup, as there are many natural and all-natural alternatives on the market these days that you can turn to.
DON’T Try Any Fad Detoxes or Diets
Engage in any type of cleanse, detox, fad diet, or fast. While cleanses and detoxes are extremely beneficial before and after pregnancy, they are a no-go while pregnant or breastfeeding because the toxins are released into your bloodstream and thus make their way into the fetus. Dieting and fasting during this time is off-limits because the body needs extra calories to create and nourish your tiny little human (an average 25-35 pound weight gain is considered healthy).
DO Stay Active and Exercise
Forget all fantasies of sitting on the couch getting fat off pickles and ice cream and engage in regular exercise. Unless you are put on bed rest or are otherwise instructed by a doctor, it’s important to keep moving on a daily basis. If you are already active at the gym, talk to your doctor about any necessary modifications. If you are not super active try walking regularly.
DON’T Use Chemical Cleaners
Most disinfectants, all-purpose cleaners, toilet bowl cleansers, etc. contain toxic chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled. This issue becomes particularly troubling in your third trimester when even the biggest slobs go on “nesting” cleaning sprees that rival neat freak Monica Geller from Friends. Fortunately there are many all-natural substances you can use to clean with including lemon juice, baking soda, borax, and white vinegar.
DO Go to Your Doctor & Take Your Vitamins
Attend all prenatal doctor visits and take a daily prenatal vitamin. First time MILFs-to-be naturally have tons of questions and you should feel comfortable asking each and every one of them with your doctor. While Google and Web M.D. are amazing resources, nothing beats the advice of a professional who has observed you and your medical records in the flesh.
DON’T Eat Raw Foods
Eat raw fish, raw meat, raw eggs, raw honey, raw sprouts, or unpasteurized cheese and juices while pregnant. These foods can contain parasites and bacteria, such as salmonella, that can make you and your baby sick. Hot dogs and lunch meats should also be avoided because they contain unhealthy nitrates. If you eat a lot of seafood, avoid fish that is high in mercury.
DO Avoid Toxins
Avoid the obvious dangerous substances. Anything you know is bad for you like drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food is bad for the baby as well. Caffeine is a known stimulant which can interfere with your baby’s ability to absorb iron, and the current recommendation for pregnant women is to limit caffeine to 300 mg per day. If you struggle with any sort of addiction, seek help from a licensed professional or organization.
DON’T Lose Sleep
Skimp on sleep. Your body is working overtime right now and needs extra sleep. Adjust your schedule as necessary to give the body the vital nutrient of sleep!
DO Eat Healthy
Eat your fruits and veggies (choose organic or low-pesticide varieties) and drink plenty of water. Green veggies and non-sweet fruits (like avocados and cucumbers) are especially good for building the blood and providing the body with alkaline minerals. If you are deficient in minerals (most of us are), the body will pull minerals from non-vital places like your bones and teeth to provide the baby with the minerals it needs to develop. This can result in morning sickness, cavities and other health issues for you.
DON’T Get X-Rays
Get any x-rays or walk through a metal detector because radiation is bad for you and even worse for baby. Temperatures above 100 degrees are harmful to the baby so sitting in a hot tub, sauna or steam room is not advisable unless you can control or are certain of the temperature. It is also recommended that pregnant women avoid cleaning the litter box because there may be parasites in the cat waste that have been linked to birth defects.
DO Avoid Plastics with BPA
Avoid BPA. BPA is found in plastic water bottles and dishes, canned foods and even receipts. Avoid contact with and consuming these types of products to lower your BPA exposure. Drink filtered water out of a glass or BPA-free reusable bottle instead of out of a disposable.
DON’T Take (Most) Medications
Take any painkillers, medicines or medications without the approval of your doctor. Even over-the-counter meds like Advil and Excedrin can be harmful to the baby so it’s best to try natural remedies when you feel aches and pains or come down with a cold. Our immune systems are naturally lowered during this time so it’s much easier to get an infection, which is why things like getting a tattoo or piercing is a no-go.
DO Enjoy Your Partner
Enjoy your last pre-baby months with your partner, family and friends. When baby comes along you will have a lot less time and attention for them.
Stress. Anxiety and worry are natural during pregnancy — as if creating a human wasn’t taxing enough you suddenly have a whole host of shit to worry about like gestational diabetes, stretch marks, and pre-term labor. Relax, breathe, and try not to worry about every little thing. It will all be okay, even if things don’t work out exactly the way you hoped or planned.
I know this list can seem overwhelming but do the best you can and get help if you need it. Your baby is worth every sacrifice, I promise!