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Pregnancy Do's and Don'ts
Pregnancy is a special time of life. Because you're now carrying a growing baby, you should be aware of general recommendations that will keep you and your baby healthy. Here's a general list of pregnancy do's and don'ts.

What you should do during pregnancy:
  • Make an appointment for prenatal care during your first trimester. Begin prenatal care early, and be sure to get recommended tests at the appropriate times.
  • Eat a healthy diet that includes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats or other proteins, and dairy products or other sources of calcium.
  • Take a prenatal vitamin each day that includes 400 micrograms of folic acid.
  • Stay active with at least 30 minutes of walking or other form of moderate exercise each day.
  • Get adequate sleep each night. This means planning your days to allow you to have enough time for a full night's sleep.
  • Drink between six and eight glasses of water a day.
  • Take good care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, use dental floss, and have a dental exam and any recommended dental treatment.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that support a healthy posture.
  • Get a flu shot if you are at least 14 weeks pregnant and heading toward flu season.
  • Minimize unnecessary stress. Pregnancy can be a stressful time for many women. Get psychological help and emotional support as you need it.
What you should not do during pregnancy:
  • Smoke or use illicit drugs.
  • Drink alcohol.
  • Eat fish high in mercury. You should eat no more than two servings of fish each week. Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or golden or white snapper (tilefish) because they contain high levels of mercury.
  • Expose yourself to food-borne illness. Don't eat products that might contain listeria, a type of bacteria that could harm your unborn baby. These include unpasteurized dairy products, soft cheeses, meat spreads and uncooked luncheon meats.
  • Engage in sports activities that could cause injury to your back or abdomen.
  • X-rays. If you have the option, postpone X-rays until after your pregnancy.
  • Expose yourself to environmental or occupational hazards. These include pesticides, such as those found in weed killer or household insect sprays.
  • Drink more than two or three cups of coffee a day. It's best to keep your caffeine intake under 300 milligrams a day.
  • Clean or change the cat litter box. If you must be in charge of this task, wear plastic gloves and wash your hands promptly after you're done.
  • Overheat during pregnancy. Avoid being in hot tubs or saunas, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Remember, these recommendations are only meant as general advice. They should be supplemented by information from your healthcare provider that's specific to your own situation.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist