Pregnancy Dos & Don’ts
It is advised in pregnancy not to drink any alcoholic beverages.
You may take tub baths or showers, whichever you prefer. Don’t use a hot tub or Jacuzzi tub.
Your regular bowel habits may become disturbed during your pregnancy. You may also experience hemorrhoids (for the first time or more frequently than usual). If you’re constipated, increased quantities of bran, fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, water, and other fluids may help. Don’t take laxatives, enemas, or any drugs without consulting with your doctor first (see approved medications).
Consumption of caffeine in low to moderate amounts is not associated with significant risk during pregnancy. Heavy caffeine use, however, can result in potential problems such as low birth weight, caffeine withdrawal symptoms in newborns, and fetal loss. Heavy caffeine drinkers should reduce their caffeine use while pregnant. Be aware of sources of caffeine besides coffee, such as tea, cola, chocolate, and some nonprescription drugs.
Clothing and Shoes
Maternity clothes are available in a wide range of prices and styles. Wear well-fitting maternity bras that give good support. Shoes should be low or medium heeled, as comfortable as possible, and should have nonskid soles.
Do not douche while you’re pregnant – it may wash the ‘good’ bacteria away.
In a normal pregnancy you are encouraged to participate in moderate fitness and recreational activities but avoid activities that carry undue risks, particularly towards the end of the pregnancy where your ‘bump’ is more exposed and your centre of gravity is higher.
During your first and last trimester you may experience fatigue. It is certainly acceptable to rest or take a midday nap if your schedule allows.
Iron is important for red blood cells that are used to carry oxygen from the air you breathe through your blood vessels to all the cells in your body. When you don’t have enough iron, you may feel tired and run down. To get enough iron you need to eat several types of iron-rich foods each day, such as meat, eggs, dried peas and beans, iron-fortified breads and cereals, green leafy vegetables, and dried fruits.
Although you should try to minimize medication during your pregnancy, sometimes it is necessary for your health and comfort to take some type of medication. For a list of medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, see the checklist of pregnancy-safe medications you can take for common ailments.
There in no doubt that smoking is injurious–not only to you but also (even more so) to your unborn child. If you smoke, now is the time to quit or at least make a concerted effort to cut down. Specific help is available if you would like to see a specialist.
Be particularly careful about brushing and flossing during your pregnancy. Some women experience “pink toothbrush” (slight bleeding of the gums) from too-rigorous brushing. Good dental hygeine is important for a healthy pregnancy. Do not hesitate to visit your dentist and to accept any treatment proposed. Local anaesthetics, antibiotics and dental x-rays are all safe in pregnancy – just inform your dentist that you are pregnant.
Travel does not adversely affect pregnancy. You should avoid sitting for many hours without getting up and moving around, empty your bladder frequently so as to avoid the increased risk of bladder infections caused by retained urine, and carry a record of your medical history with you. Some airline companies require a medical certificate signed within 14 days of the departure to confirm that there are no medical reasons to avoid travel – contact me if you require such a certificate. Intercontinental flights are not reccommended in the third trimester and airline companies have different cut-offs for the gestational age up to which they will allow you to fly.