Whether you’ve been trying to conceive for years, or your pregnancy is a bit of a surprise, there are certainly lifestyle changes which need to take place as soon as you find out that you’re expecting. Some are fairly obvious – I’m sure most of us know that alcohol is very dangerous, for example – but some were less obvious for me.
Please read over these checklists carefully and start making the necessary adjustments, and remember that all of this is for the good of your baby, even if it’s inconvenient or different for you.
Please realize that I’m not a medical professional – these are things which were recommended to me, but always check with your midwife or obstetrician for your specific needs.
Changes In Diet
*Eliminate alcohol completely!
*Some people say that red wine is ok during pregnancy, but that hasn’t been proven – and even one drink during pregnancy can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – is that glass really worth it?…
*Limit caffeine to <200mg/day, or (preferably) eliminate it completely
*Increase water intake to 48-64oz daily or more
*Some juice and milk are ok instead, but remember that water is the best for you and baby
*No raw fish or raw/undercooked meat (rare steak, paté, etc)
*No fish which is considered high in mercury (swordfish, etc)
*Limit low mercury fish to <12 oz/week (salmon, tuna, etc)
*No non-pasteurized juice, cheese, etc.
***Wash all produce thoroughly before consuming!
***Double check internal temperature of all meat/poultry before consuming!
Supplements and Vitamins
*Speak to your OB/midwife ASAP about getting on a prenatal and folic acid
*Take a list of all your current medications and prescriptions to be sure that they’re all safe to continue taking throughout your pregnancy
*Take a list of the vaccinations you’ve received, to determine if you should get any more
*If you’re vegan/vegetarian, be prepared to start some extra supplements
Changes At Home
*If you have cats, avoid the litter box completely! (risk of toxoplasmosis)
*Be sure to wash your hands before you eat if you’ve been holding or petting Kitty, too
*No harsh chemicals – including bleach, Drano, etc.
*Be conservative on hair dye/bleach, nail polish, etc. – and keep the room ventilated if you do use them
*No heavy lifting – limit it to less than 20 lbs. and bend with knees if you have to lift something
*Avoid hot baths, hot tubs and saunas – keep water <101F
*Get more rest! 8-10 hours is ideal for a pregnant woman
*Also try to start getting used to sleeping on your side – not on your back or stomach
*Quit smoking! Avoid secondhand smoke as much as possible
*Avoid any piercings or tattoos while you’re pregnant
*Go through your toiletries and medicine cabinet – avoid mouthwash with alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.
*Wash hands often, for at least 20 seconds – the friction is the best germ-killer!
*Singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” while hand-washing is about 20 seconds
*Have a sit-down conversation with your significant other about financial changes that need to be made before Baby arrives
Fitness and Activity
*Avoid heavy weights and high-impact workouts
*Avoid bike riding, horseback riding
*Swimming and low-impact cardio, like walking, are best
*Get in the habit of walking 3-5 times a week!
-wear appropriate clothing and shoes
-take plenty of water and your phone
-try to walk at a brisk pace for at least 20 min. total
*Activity is great during pregnancy: it improves circulation, helps maintain a healthy weight, improves overall health and boosts your endurance for labor!
Out and About/At Work
*Make sure you’re drinking all of your fluids!
*Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds
*Avoid secondhand smoke
*Quit tanning, and wear sunscreen even if you don’t burn easily
*Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time (take breaks, do stretches, etc)
*Always wear your seatbelt
*Always wear comfortable shoes, and add insoles if necessary
Other Decisions To Be Made
*When/how do I announce my pregnancy to my family and friends?
*When/how do I announce my pregnancy to my job/boss?
*Should I update/change my medical insurance?
*How are my current finances? – look at debt, savings, income, etc.
*Do I need to move?
*Do I have an OB/midwife whom I feel comfortable and confident with?
*Am I eliminating unsafe medications?
*Am I adding a prenatal and folic acid to my daily regimen?
*How do I plan to track my weight gain and other measurements?
*How do I plan to monitor my caloric intake and other dietary information?
*Do I plan to start a journal for myself and/or my baby?
Please remember that in no way is this article a substitute for you having essential conversations with your medical practicioner, insurance company, etc.; nor is it intended to be the only source of prenatal advice you should use. Please feel free to leave comments below, or contact me if you have any suggestions or additions!