8 rules you can (sometimes) break during your pregnancy
Sometimes pregnant women feel that all they hear from their doctors, friends, families, neighbors, and strangers are “You shouldn’t be doing ___” or “Didn’t you know you have to ___.” While rules and guidelines exist for a reason — including during pregnancy — there are some things that you can probably ignore every so often. Feel like you need to rebel and want to know what’s safe? We’ve got you covered.
1. Skip your prenatal vitamins. It’s true that prenatal vitamins are important, especially since many American diets fall short when it comes to the nutrients a pregnant woman needs to keep her and her baby healthy. However, skipping them occasionally is OK and will not cause any harm. Try not to do this when you are trying to conceive or are in your first trimester since the folate in your vitamins is super important during this time, but don’t stress if one day you feel too nauseated to swallow a big pill.
2. Have an occasional glass of wine. While the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists takes a hard stance on alcohol — that no level is known to be safe — it has yet to be proven that the occasional glass here and there can cause any major harm. We don’t suggest drinking nightly, but if you happen to be pregnant on New Year’s Eve and don’t want to skip the champagne toast, you can have a glass guilt-free.
Doctor’s note [8/17/15]: Comments on this article prompted me to rethink my wording of “occasional,” which I realize can be misleading, and so I wanted to clarify my meaning. Some women and doctors may take that to mean every week, while others interpret that as once or twice a pregnancy. My purpose here was to address the pregnant woman who literally is wondering if a glass of wine during her pregnancy is absolutely out of the question, such as in my example about New Year’s Eve. To that end, I stand with my recommendation that I would counsel her she can rest assured there is no data to say this is known to cause any harm, but of course our data is only good as our studies, which are incomplete at best. Of course, if she wishes to be as conservative as possible and follow the most conservative recommendations we have, then abstaining is certainly the way to go. Please see my full response below in the comments for more about this!
3. Eat for two. Yes, you need to increase your caloric intake during your pregnancy, but it’s never as much as eating for two. However, you are going to have those days where that is exactly what you want to do. Go for it! … Just not frequently, and don’t make a habit of it. But really, what other time can you get away with this excuse?
4. Take a break from your work out. Exercise has huge benefits for you and your developing baby. Unfortunately, most pregnant women don’t exercise at all or not enough. If you are active, though, and feel like you need a break because you are too fatigued, nauseated, or uncomfortable, go ahead and listen to what your body is telling you. Take time to rest and recuperate, so that when you are feeling better you can jump back into the game.
5. Drink coffee. No one should ever tell a pregnant woman that coffee (and caffeine) is off limits! You can certainly drink coffee in safe amounts. However, if you’ve sworn it off out of worry or concern, please let yourself break this “rule” when you desperately need a pick-me-up.
6. Sleep on your back. One thing we often tell pregnant women is to avoid sleeping on their backs because this can decrease blood flow to the placenta. However, your body is smart, and if lying on your back is causing any problems, you’ll start to feel uncomfortable (usually dizzy or lightheaded) and want to shift positions. But if sleeping on your back is the only way you can get comfortable and you feel fine, then do it.
7. Change the litter box. It’s true that you shouldn’t change the litterboxes of any outdoor cats to avoid exposure to toxoplasmosis. However, this rule doesn’t apply if your cat is indoor only (feel free to ignore this if you want to get out of this chore for 40 weeks …).
8. Skip the childbirth class. Most doctors and midwives recommend taking a childbirth class for first-time parents. However, if the idea of sitting in a room with a bunch of strangers practicing your deep breathing or watching a woman give birth on video freaks you out, go ahead and skip this one. Pick up a reputable book instead, or go online for information. Keep in mind not all sources are created equal however, so don’t believe everything Dr. Google tells you!