Newly Pregnant? Here are some things to do, and things NOT to do. Take it from the doctors.

It’s your first trimester. Let the takeover begin!

Dos and Don’ts in pregnancy

Practicing as an OB/Gyn I’ve come to realize almost everyone is afraid of pregnant women. Other medical specialties don’t want to take care of them, employers are afraid of imminent labor during working hours, husbands don’t want to upset them, generally a population surrounded by this shield of protection from the outside world. This has created a sense of mystery and confusion around the pregnant woman, and often they come in completely lost on what they can and cannot do. In general, I tell pregnant women to do whatever they want. There are a few things to avoid, and we will get into that here, but otherwise they should sleep when they can, eat what they crave, and avoid all housework (haha).

Fish/ seafood:

The big concern with fish and seafood is the level of mercury because it can lead to birth defects. Fish that are generally safer in pregnancy: shrimp, salmon, catfish, canned light tuna (***not albacore) and sardines. Fish that are NOT safe because of the levels of mercury are shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish. Also, raw fish should be avoided because of risks of bacteria and food poisoning, so make sure the fish is cooked. I generally tell people to eat fish in moderation (ie limiting intake to 6 ounces a week)

FullSizeRender 18Caffeine:  

Ahhh coffee… How to survive without this wonderous nectar? So, good news is you do not have to out all caffeine. However it is important to limit it. One cup of caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, red bull (ok don’t drink red bull)) in safe.

Listeriosis:

This is a bacteria that usually causes a mild illness, but in pregnant women can make you very ill. Foods to avoid in this category are unpasteurized milk or cheese made from said milk (is feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, camembert, brie), deli meat (unless they are served steaming hot), pates or meat spreads and refrigerated smoked seafood. Remember, nothing raw or uncooked. Everything should be cooked before consuming in pregnancy!

Exercise:

Moderate exercise is not only safe in pregnancy, it is recommended. Whatever exercise you were doing before pregnancy should be modified and continued. Your heart rate should not exceed 120 bpm for greater than 20 mins in any period of cardiac exertion.

Saunas/ Hot tubs:

This is one of the few don’ts in pregnancy. Your body temperature gets too high when submerged in hot water and it is unsafe in pregnancy. Soaking your feet or legs is ok, but that’s it.

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Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

Travel:

The big restrictions when it comes to travel is the time in which you choose to go. The last trimester (especially after 34 weeks) should be avoided because not only is it uncomfortable, but the risks of labor are of course, the greatest. Early in pregnancy travel is safe, as long as you get up and walk every 2-3 hours for 10/15 mins and drink plenty of fluids. One big thing to consider is that Zika is STILL a very real thing. Please please please do NOT travel to Zika infested areas if you are considering getting pregnant or are pregnant. The CDC is constantly updating their site with countries to avoid.

Cats:

You don’t have to avoid cuddling with your feline friends, but you should NOT change the litter box for the duration of pregnancy.

This is not an inclusive list, and as always all concerns should be discussed with your obstetrician as they know you and your medical history best. Happy pregnancy!

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