9 Things You Don't Have To Do When You're Pregnant (Even Though Everyone Says You Do)
If you're pregnant, there's a good chance that you've got advice flying at you from every direction at all hours of the day. While most people have the best of intentions and just want to help a mom-to-be figure out the road ahead, the manner in which this new and often unsolicited information is expressed can be, well, intimidating (if not downright terrifying). People are quick to tell you what you can and cannot do during pregnancy, which usually results in a boatload of pregnancy advice you should feel free to ignore.
Of course, when pregnant, it's a good idea to do your best to maintain a healthy lifestyle, not just for the sake of the fetus but for yourself, too. Things you should avoid during pregnancy (like alcohol, drugs, and probably kickboxing) are arguably no-brainers when it comes to your prenatal health. At the same time, a pregnant woman isn't incapable of living her life, so there's no need to be so fearful you become reclusive. Trust me, you're going to do more than enough obsessing after your kid is born, and you're going to face the same common parenting fears that every woman inevitably faces, so try not to read too much into the times when your cousin's best friend's aunt's neighbor gives you some random advice about eating ham or using body lotion during pregnancy.
When it comes to what you should do during pregnancy, simply ask your healthcare provider. Maybe your mother or a trusted friend, but sometimes, even your go-to people can be somewhat of a wash (sorry folks, you know who you are). Other than that, feel free to ignore all of the things people tell you that you just have to do when you're pregnant, because the odds are that their advice, though meant well, is unnecessary. The following nine things are among the many pieces of pregnancy advice you should feel free to ignore.
You Need To Eat For Two
While allowing yourself to cave into a midnight milkshake craving every now and then is perfectly fine, drinking one every day is stretching the truth when it comes to the meaning behind the term "eating for two." It's true that you are supposed to consume extra calories while pregnant, but no more than 300-500 extra calories per day throughout the different stages of your pregnancy. That's more like eating for 1 1/3 than it is like eating for two.
You Can't Have Sex
If you have certain complications during your pregnancy, like placenta previa, pre-eclampsia, or vaginal bleeding, then sex isn't safe during pregnancy. But unless your doctor has told you that you need to avoid sex, there's absolutely no reason to shy away from your time in between the sheets with your partner. Not only is sex allowed during pregnancy, but there are benefits of having sex while pregnant, too. So feel free to indulge your sex drive while pregnant and enjoy every orgasm like it's your last because, yes, you're going to probably want to take a break once your baby is born.
You Have To Attend A Birthing Class
There's a long list of classes available to pregnant couples that are meant to help prepare them for all that happens before, during, and after the delivery of their child. If you and your partner are interested in a birthing class, that's fine, but don't feel like you're not going to be able to deliver your baby successfully if you don't attend one. Women have been bringing babies into the world for centuries, and with a lot less help and information than we have today, so try not to stress too much if you miss out on a birthing class, or don't have the means to afford one.
You Should Send Out Pregnancy Announcements
If your refrigerator is covered in cute little baby and pregnancy announcements from your friends, you might be wondering if you should follow suit and send one of your own. If this is something that you want to do, go for it! If not, don't worry about it, because whether you send out pregnancy announcements or not has no weight in how good of a mother you're going to be. Pregnancy announcements are cute and creative, but they're also an unnecessary expense that a lot of families can't afford.
You Need TO Find Out The Gender
For many, a gender reveal is one of the most anticipated parts of a pregnancy, but not everyone wants to find out before their baby is born. Don't feel pressured by anyone to find out your baby's gender before you're ready. There's plenty of gender-neutral baby swag available for the people that insist on knowing a color scheme for your baby shower gifts.
You Should Go On A Seriously Strict Diet
Your doctor will be able to provide you with information pertaining to certain foods you might want to avoid during pregnancy, but for the most part, your diet won't be dramatically affected. Some people will tell you to eat entirely organic, to avoid deli meat at all costs, and to consider eliminating caffeine from your diet; but the truth is that moderation of everything is key during pregnancy, and you don't have to be on an incredibly strict diet to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Nutritious pregnancy snacks are always a good idea, but you can indulge yourself in the occasional doughnut guilt-free if you want to.
You Have To Avoid Physical Activity
Certain activities that have any sort of major impact on your abdomen should definitely be avoided during pregnancy, but there numerous exercises that are not only safe during pregnancy, they're incredibly beneficial. Activities like swimming, cycling, brisk walking, and low impact aerobics are all great to do while pregnant, and things like jogging and playing certain sports are also safe if you were doing them before you got pregnant. You need to be more careful with your exercising the farther along you are in pregnancy because of balance issues, but for the most part, exercise is a welcomed and encouraged activity while pregnant.
You Have To Pick A Name Before The Baby Is Born
Choosing a baby name is not for the faint of heart. Some people have their children's names picked out before they're even pregnant, while others struggle to find the perfect fit for their unborn child. If you're having a hard time choosing a name for your baby, and you feel like the clock is ticking, just relax. Choosing a baby name is a big deal, so don't pick something on a whim because you feel rushed. Your kid will (presumably) live with the name you choose for the rest of their lives, so take as much time as you need. You can even wait until after they're born to decide what to name them because, well, sometimes you need to see them and hold them and get to know them before you can make a final decision.
You Can't Enjoy Your Beloved Coffee
There's a lot of debate on whether or not coffee is safe during pregnancy, but the answer is: yes, coffee is safe during pregnancy in moderation. You may not be able to have that extra cup you're accustomed to, but you don't have to completely deprive yourself either. It is recommended that pregnant women drink no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine each day. That is the equivalent of a 12 ounce cup of coffee. So, depending on the severity of your caffeine dependency, you won't have to survive your pregnancy sans your favorite cup of liquid energy. Phew! That was a close one, ladies!
You Can't Take A Vacation
Traveling while pregnant is, for the most part, perfectly fine. The reason some people caution pregnant women not to travel is because it can be uncomfortable, and traveling outside of the realm of available healthcare is risky. Also, some airlines will not allow women who are 35 weeks pregnant or farther to fly, due to possible risks of a woman going into preterm labor while on a flight (talk about the mile high club, right?). But if you're not planning on traveling to a remote location, and if you're comfortable, feel free to take a baby moon vacation before your little bundle arrives. With a little planning and preparation, a vacation could offer you the relaxation you need before your baby's big day.
A lot of the recommendations for pregnant women are just that: recommendations. With a little common sense, and by following the instructions of your healthcare provider, you can continue to do many of the things that you want to do, and continue to ignore the things people tell you that you have to do.