When you're pregnant it can feel like there's a long, never-ending list of things you can't do. That list is daunting, confusing, and seems to change from pregnancy to pregnancy or depending on who you talk to. In other words, it can be hard to know exactly what you are, and more importantly are not, supposed to do while pregnant. When the don'ts" often includes seemingly innocuous things, like eating runny eggs and getting pedicures, knowing what a pregnant woman should never do isn't as black and white as one would assume. Thankfully, there are more than a few experts out there can help soon-to-be moms navigate the dos and don'ts of pregnancy.
While I’m generally in the camp of minding my own business about what other people do and don’t do during their pregnancies (or anytime, really), some pregnancy rules are pretty important and should be followed. For example, and according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) one of the most important ways to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby is by getting regular prenatal care. You also should definitely not skip recommended tests, like the gestational diabetes screening, even if it means you have to hold your nose to down that super-gross glucose drink. As BabyCenter notes, gestational diabetes can be serious, potentially leading to preterm labor and health problems for your baby, but treatments are available if you are diagnosed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women not take or stop taking medications while pregnant without taking to their doctor first, even if they are available over-the-counter. So, again, it's vital that you are seen regularly and discuss your ongoing health and wellness with a licensed medical professional.
Should we be policing pregnant people's bodies? No, we should not, especially if we're not their health care providers. But if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, you might want to take a look at this list of expert recommendations for definite "don'ts" during pregnancy.
Skip Prenatal Care
According to ACOG, it’s super important to see a qualified obstetrics provider, like an OB-GYN or certified nurse midwife, for regular prenatal care. While it may seem silly to go all of the way to some office to pee in a cup and spend 10 minutes with your doctor, regular prenatal care has been shown to improve health outcomes for you and your baby by catching problems like preeclampsia, hypertension, or birth defects early.
If cost is a concern, you should know that many insurance companies cover prenatal care as preventative care. If you are uninsured and can't afford to see a doctor or midwife, you might be eligible for prenatal care coverage through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as a mom-to-be, according to Healthcare.gov.
Medicate The Same Way You Did Before You Got Pregnant
According to the CDC, some medications are completely unsafe to take during pregnancy, some are only safe for some pregnant people at some times, and others, well, they just don't know if they are safe or not. As a result, the CC recommends that pregnant women not take or stop taking medications without talking to their doctor or midwife to determine the potential risks of a medication change.
Try To Cope With Symptoms Alone
If you're not able to cope with pregnancy symptoms like vomiting, pain, or prenatal depression, now is not the time to keep things to yourself and try to power through alone. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), there are treatments available for these conditions that are safe for pregnancy, including medications, so you should definitely talk to your doctor or midwife. If they don't take you or your symptoms seriously, you might consider switching to a new OB-GYN provider who will, according BabyCenter.
Go On A Diet
BabyCenter notes that most of us start our pregnancies carrying more weight that the BMI chart says we should. But, while it may be tempting, pregnancy is not time to go on a diet to lose weight. Your baby needs calories and nutrients to grow and develop. Instead, it's recommended that pregnant women try to eat a balanced diet, and not gain more than their health care provider recommends, rather than trying to lose weight while pregnant.
Expose Herself To Certain Chemicals
According to March of Dimes, certain chemicals can actually be legitimately dangerous for your growing baby, including solvents like paint thinner, certain pesticides, some cleaning products, and other items found at a local home-improvement store. It’s best to check the label before using a product, especially while pregnant.
Turns out, the warnings on the side of paint cans are there for a reason.
Skip The Glucose Drink
You may have heard that some moms-to-be choose to skip drinking that horrible orange glucose drink during pregnancy. According to BabyCenter, this is a bad idea. The test is designed to screen for gestational diabetes, and testing your blood sugar is the only way to know if you have it. The same site notes that gestational diabetes can happen to anyone, and can cause serious complications like pre-term labor, having a large baby, and your baby having low blood sugar after birth. You definitely shouldn't skip the test, even if it is really gross.
Not only are vaccines super important for you, because your immune system takes a hit while you're pregnant, but according to the CDC some vaccines can also help protect your baby. Per their website, the flu vaccine can help prevent pregnancy complications from the flu, and the antibodies from the whooping cough vaccine can actually protect your baby from getting the illness after they are born. How cool is that?
Have Unprotected Sex With A New Partner
You might not think about using condoms during pregnancy, but according to ACOG, having unprotected sex with a new partner during pregnancy can put you at risk for sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or HIV, which can be harmful for you and your baby. Researchers recently discovered that the Zika virus can be transmitted sexually, too. So, if you or your partner lives or travels to an area with Zika, the same site recommends considering using condoms to protect your baby from birth defects caused by the virus.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.