By now you've likely heard tons of pregnancy dos and don'ts — from your provider, from your friends, maybe even from your grandma and the grocery store cashier. So let's take a minute to cut through the clutter and revisit the best ways to help keep you and baby healthy through pregnancy and beyond.
- DO visit your doctor regularly throughout your pregnancy.
- DON'T take any medications without your provider's OK that they're safe for baby. This includes both prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
- DON'T take illegal drugs. It's not worth risking birth defects or developmental delays.
- DON'T smoke. Smoking increases baby's risk for premature birth and significant health problems.
- DON'T drink alcohol. It's not known how much puts baby at risk for birth defects. so best to avoid it altogether.
- DON'T expose yourself to toxic substances and chemicals, such as cleaning solvents, lead, mercury, some insecticides, paint thinners and paint removers.
- DO take 400 mcg of folic acid daily. Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps baby's brain and spinal cord.
- DO eat a nutritious and balanced diet. The carbs may be calling, but you need extra protein, calcium, iron and zinc.
- DON'T take "eating for two" literally. If you were a healthy weight before pregnancy, you need about 300 additional calories a day. If you were overweight or underweight before pregnancy, talk to your provider about your caloric intake and get dietary advice.
- DO stay physically active, unless your provider suggests otherwise. Exercise can help you feel better, reduce discomfort and fatigue, and promote a faster recovery after delivery. Walking and swimming are two great ways to be active. Avoid strenuous sports or activities where you could fall, such as horseback riding, roller skating and downhill skiing.
Knowing which pregnancy symptoms warrant a call or visit to your provider is also key. The downloadable guide below can help you identify any potential red flags amongst all the crazy-but-normal things that your body goes through during pregnancy.