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10 Things You Don't Have To Sacrifice During Your Pregnancy

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Men don't know just how lucky they have it. When it comes to procreation, their contribution to baby making is pretty insignificant and pleasurable. Once things start cooking, the mom-to-be takes over for 40 (more or less) weeks and gives up a lot of daily pleasures and normal activities in the process. Depending on who you listen to, you may have to change your whole world to accommodate your new passenger. Contrary to popular belief, though, there are more than a few things you don't have to sacrifice during your pregnancy.

Of course most parents simply want a healthy baby and a lot of pregnant woman are more than happy to give up a few luxuries (or even necessities) if it means their baby will be safe and sound. Still, wouldn't it be great if you didn't actually have to make these sacrifices at all? Or, at the very least, not as much as you think and/or have been told you have to? (#ProTip: the answer is yes.) In many ways I followed the standard pregnancy advice to the letter. For example, a drop of alcohol didn't pass my lips from the moment of conception until I stopped exclusively breastfeeding. However, now that some research seems to suggest moderate drinking has no effect on growing babies, I am wondering if I was unnecessarily restrictive.

Either way, there are some things mothers-to-be are advised to avoid that they definitely don't need to sacrifice. It's worth remembering that while a certain level of self-sacrifice is necessary when you're growing and raising another human being, you don't have to lose every single part of yourself (or the things you like, need, or love) in order to be a wonderful mother.

Coffee

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OK, so it's probably not a good idea to max out on that oversized java when you're pregnant. However, the idea of completely vetoing my favorite daily pleasure left me in a cold sweat. I managed to get down to one cup a day, which fits in with the current recommendations of 200 mg of caffeine per day.

Sports

I competed in a dragon boat competition when I was five months pregnant. It involved a number of high intensity races and a lot of waiting around. Sure, I was tired afterwards but I'm glad I didn't opt out of the experience just because I was pregnant. I think I would have regretted missing out on the team camaraderie and something that had been part of my life for the past seven years.

Unless your doctor advises you not to, there is no reason to curtail your love of sports or physical activities. In fact, in many ways you are preparing your body for the strenuous act of childbirth.

Sex

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It's normal to worry that torpedoing the general area in which your body is growing another human being might not be a good idea. However, for most healthy pregnancies there is no reason at all to limit romantic rendezvous. If anything, it can lift your mood and make you feel closer to your partner. So go and get your freak on!

Cute Clothes

Thankfully maternity wear has come a long way from those paisley smocks and moo moos days. Still, more than a few pregnant women still seem to think they have to abandon their love of style once they have a protruding bump.

Personally, I enjoyed wearing sweatpants a little more often than usual, but I also invested in a new maternity wardrobe; picking out modern pieces that accommodated a growing tummy but still looked cute. Plus, do you really need an excuse to go shopping?

Hair Dye

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I have mad gray roots about a minute after I leave the salon, so I knew I couldn't rock the Cruella De Ville look for nine (or more) months. I quickly begun researching safe hair dye options for pregnant women, like Henna and organic color formulations.

In the end, following advice from the American Pregnancy Association (which advises that traditional hair dyes are safe to use during pregnancy and are not highly toxic), I just booked my regular colorist.

Travel

I am a travel enthusiast and get itchy feet if I don't board a plane rather often. Most airlines have restrictions in place for pregnant travelers after 30 weeks, with medical notes being needed after 36 weeks if you plan to get on an airplane.

However, if you want to travel before that cut off date, make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance and just go. After all, traveling with a baby is much harder than traveling when you're pregnant.

Going Out To Bars

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I didn't drink alcohol when I was pregnant (although many women enjoy an occasional glass of wine without ill effect), but I did still enjoy going out with my friends, grabbing a virgin cocktail, and getting my dance on.

Apparently some people think it's inappropriate for pregnant women to go to bars (these same people probably think pregnant women should be confined to the kitchen, but whatever), forcing New York City’s Commission on Human Rights to clarify that it is indeed illegal for a bar or club to deny a woman entry because she’s expecting.

Takeout Food

I ate very well during my pregnancy; probably better than I've ever eaten in my life. However, I did still crave the occasional fast food. Duh, I was pregnant. As long as your daily diet is balanced and healthy, there is no reason to deny yourself the occasional treat.

High Heels

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My feet swelled when I was pregnant and I was mostly comfortable in my running shoes, but once in a while (usually for a night out) I really enjoyed slipping into a cute pair of heels. Sadly, the comments I received were anything but necessary and part of the entire experience I grew to resent.

Of course pregnant women need to make smart decisions to ensure their comfort, safety, and continued health, but they are still independent, vibrant women with lives to lead and catwalks to be strutted. So, you know, just get out of our way already.

Camping

Courtesy of Fiona Tapp

When I told my mom we were going camping when I was six months pregnant she was horrified. Sleeping in a tent, cooking outdoors, no available washrooms, and being far from civilization seemed like a really bad idea to her.

But my partner and I love to go camping and by simply packing a few extras — like more pillows for my back, extra snuggly clothes, and making sure we had cell coverage — we were able to safely enjoy the great outdoors.

When a woman is pregnant she's growing a human for roughly 3/4 of a year. So, honestly, it's not reasonable or realistic to expect them to abandon all the activities, foods, and situations that make life enjoyable. What we can do is seek to find balance; keeping ourselves and our babies safe and still enjoying life, while getting though a period of change, growth, and transformation.