Pregnancy just isn’t what it used to be. In days past, we had a whole host of things to do – and not do – that ranged from completely wrong to borderline absurd. In recent years, we’ve learned that some old pregnancy myths, such as: not to color your hair, avoid flying in the first or third trimester, stop drinking coffee, applying coco butter keeps you from getting stretch marks, and even the old standby that we shouldn’t be exercising or having sex (a much older myth) while pregnant – are completely off-the-wall and untrue.
In fact, here’s a list of 20 things that you’ve probably heard about pregnancy that are completely – or mostly – false. Sidenote: I was really happy to see that I could still eat sushi and that my stretch marks weren’t just due to some generic cocoa butter.
That said, however, there are always things you SHOULD do in order to have a safe, happy and healthy pregnancy. Let’s get to the list.
Take Your Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins help keep your hair and nails healthy, help to provide additional nutrients to the baby and cut down on birth defects or pregnancy-related complications. Depending on what you’re prescribed, they’re often cheap, and if you aren’t taking them, you need to start… now.
Get A Blood Test
Knowing what to expect can go a long way in setting reasonable expectations and learning the best ways to cope with high risk pregnancies. However, you should avoid the amniocentesis, and instead opt for a noninvasive prenatal diagnostic test that looks for common genetic defects such as Down Syndrome.
For years, doctors, mothers, and even passersby warned mothers to limit their activity while pregnant. This isn’t only untrue, it can also lead to a harder and more complicated pregnancy. Turns out, staying active while pregnant not only eases sore bones and muscles, but is also healthy for the baby. Get out there and get some walking in, but don’t overdo it!
Drink Plenty of Water
8-10 glasses a day is the rule of thumb, but recent research has shown that this might not be the right amount for everyone. Do your part to stay hydrated, as it helps with dehydration-related symptoms such as muscle aches, headaches, sore bones, and moodiness.
Avoid Over-The-Counter or Herbal Medicine
Well, kinda. You don’t have to avoid them, but you should definitely ask your doctor before taking anything that he or she isn’t already aware of. Some medicines have been proven to increase the risk of birth defects so it’s well worth asking before you pop that net herbal super supplement, multivitamin or even an over-the-counter flu medicine at your local Walgreens.
Get Your 8 Hours
Sleep is important not just for you, but also for your baby. Periods of deep relaxation – such as sleep – aid in mental development for your unborn child, as well as decreasing restless behaviors such as kicking. In addition, the extra sleep allows you a chance to rest your sore ankles, and recover from a day of non-stop nausea.
Eat 5-6 Meals a Day
In year’s past, we kinda just stuffed our faces with anything and then used the excuse that we were eating for two. In fact, nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to see women gain 60-80 pounds during a pregnancy, and while gaining weight is wonderful, it’s not healthy to put on that much weight while pregnant. It’s also harder to shed those pounds afterwards if you’re putting on an unhealthy amount of extra weight. Eat 5-6 smaller meals a day and be sure that they are well balanced with healthy proteins, vegetables, dairy and fruit. Your post-pregnancy body, and your baby will thank you for your effort.
Pregnancy is a magical time in your life, but that’s not to say that it’s without its ups and downs. Take caution in what you do, but don’t let pregnancy become a disability. Listen to the advice of your doctor, and research those claims of things that others say you shouldn’t be doing during your pregnancy. Above all, enjoy this moment and do your part to remain healthy while sporting your new baby bump!