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Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts: An Overview

You’re overwhelmed with advice as you navigate pregnancy – it gets complicated. But it doesn’t have to be.
Written by the Theralogix team of Registered Dietitians
Here are some simple pregnancy dos and don’ts that can help support a healthy pregnancy.

Do this during pregnancy. But definitely don’t do that. Oh, and you absolutely must do X, Y, and Z.  

You’re overwhelmed with tips, tricks, and advice as you navigate pregnancy – it gets complicated. But it doesn’t have to be. Keep it simple with these dos and don’ts during pregnancy.  

Do: Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet 

Your little one relies on you to give them all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. That’s why a healthy, balanced pregnancy diet is so important.  

Focus on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Try to eat the rainbow each day. Each color represents different nutrients, so the more colorful your plate, the more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (plant nutrients) you can squeeze into your diet.  

But remember, a healthy pregnancy diet isn’t all or nothing. As long as you do your best to nourish your body well and maintain an overall balanced diet, you can still treat yourself to your favorite sweets or indulge in your pregnancy cravings (as long as they’re safe for pregnancy).  

Need a little more guidance? Check out these blogs: “10 Great Foods to Eat When You’re Pregnant” and “Nutrition During Your First Trimester.”  

Don’t: Eat Raw Meat or Fish 

Lean meat and low-mercury fish are excellent sources of protein, but make sure that they’re cooked properly to keep you and your baby safe. Pregnant women are at an increased risk for foodborne illness, and raw meat and fish may carry bacteria and other microorganisms that can make you sick. Certain bacteria can also cross the placenta and affect your baby – they’re particularly vulnerable because their immune systems aren’t strong enough to fight for themselves yet.  

Protect yourself and your little one by choosing meat and fish that are fully cooked. Unpasteurized dairy and deli meats may also harbor bacteria and foodborne illness, so be sure to heat up deli meats before eating and avoid unpasteurized dairy.  

Do: Get Plenty of Sleep 

Sleep is vital for both you and your developing baby. But pregnancy brings so many changes to the body that can make it hard to get quality sleep every night. Between fluctuating hormone levels and frequent urination, it’s no surprise that many women report feeling more tired during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.  

Practice good sleep hygiene with these tips:  

  • Limit screen time before bed 
  • Keep your bedroom cool and quiet 
  • Avoid caffeine after your morning cup of coffee or tea 
  • Stick to a consistent bedtime 
  • Wind down with meditation, music, or another relaxing activity before bed 

And don’t underestimate the power of sunlight. Research suggests that those who are exposed to more light in the morning fall asleep more quickly at night. So, open the curtains each morning and let the sunshine do the work.  

Don’t: Drink a Lot of Caffeine 

If you rely on caffeine to get you through the day, you’re not alone. About 90% of Americans drink at least one caffeinated beverage each day. 

But is caffeine safe during pregnancy? Yes, but in moderation.  

How much caffeine can you have when pregnant? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women limit caffeine intake to 200 mg per day. That’s about two 8-ounce servings of home-brewed coffee, but your favorite coffee shop brew may be higher in caffeine. You can still drive through your favorite local coffee shop, but check online for the caffeine content of your favorite drink, or consider sizing down to stay under your caffeine budget.  

Do: Take a High-Quality Prenatal Vitamin 

In addition to a balanced diet, a high-quality prenatal vitamin can help bridge any gaps and make sure you get all the nutrients you need to support a healthy pregnancy. Be sure to choose a product that’s been independently tested and certified for content accuracy and purity. That means what’s actually in your prenatal supplement matches the supplement facts label, and that it’s free of harmful contaminants, including heavy metals, bacteria, and fungus.  

Don’t: Smoke or Drink Alcohol 

Smoking and drinking alcohol can be harmful for your developing baby. If you currently smoke, check out online resources and ask your healthcare provider about local support options to help you quit.  

According to the CDC, there is no safe time to consume alcohol during pregnancy. If your social engagements or date nights typically include an alcoholic beverage, opt for a fun, flavorful mocktail instead.  

Do: Stay Active 

Incorporating regular physical activity can help support bone health, heart health, mental health, and a healthy pregnancy. The ACOG recommends that pregnant women participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. 

If you were physically active before pregnancy, you can usually continue your usual workout routine with your healthcare provider’s approval. Make sure you avoid certain activities, like contact sports, scuba diving, hot yoga, and activities that may result in a fall, such as downhill skiing, mountain biking, gymnastics, and horseback riding.  

If you’re new to exercise, start slow and listen to your body. Dedicate five minutes per day to physical activity and gradually work up to 30-minute workouts. Walking, stationary biking, swimming, water aerobics, and modified yoga or Pilates are great options. 

These simple pregnancy dos and don’ts can help support a healthy pregnancy, but it’s not a complete guide. Ask your healthcare provider if you still have lingering questions about what’s safe for you and your baby during pregnancy. And remember, there are no silly questions. Ask them anything that will help you feel more comfortable, confident, and safe in your pregnancy. 

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