Health

The dos and don’ts of pregnancy

Sarah Larkin helps you to make sense of all the ‘dos and don’ts of pregnancy’ with the following advice on how to stay safe and healthy.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at the advice that seems to come from all directions on what to do and what not to do when you become pregnant.

However, it is important to be aware of the possible benefits and dangers in areas such as: food, exercise, health and beauty. Here are some helpful dos and don’ts that can help you through those nine months.

Food and drink

Dos and don'ts of pregnancy

Do:

✔Limit your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg a day.

✔Wash all fruit, vegetables and salad to remove all traces of soil.

Don’t:

✘ Eat raw seafood such as oysters or sushi.

✘ Eat swordfish, shark or marlin fish as they contain mercury which can affect your baby’s developing nervous system.

✘ Eat unpasteurised cheeses or mould ripened cheeses. These types of cheeses are made with mould and can contain listeria bacteria that can cause listeriosis.

✘ Eat undercooked eggs. Make sure that eggs are properly cooked throughly, i.e. until the yolk is hard.

✘ Eat raw or undercooked meat.

✘ Eat liver or liver products as they contain too much vitamin A, which can harm your baby.

✘ Go two hours or more without eating.

✘ Eat any type of pâté including vegetable pâtés as they could contain listeria.

✘ Drink alcohol as it can affect your baby’s development.

Tips for maximum nutrition with minimum fuss

Exercise

Dos and don'ts of pregnancy

Do:

✔ Consult your doctor to be sure you can exercise.

✔Make an effort to be active for 30 minutes on most days of the week. Gentle workouts like swimming or walking are ideal for pregnancy.

✔Keep yourself hydrated, drink water before, during and after exercise.

✔Always warm up before exercising and cool down properly afterwards.

✔Tell your exercise class instructor you are pregnant and make sure that your teacher is properly qualified in prenatal exercise.

Don’t:

✘ Take part in any extreme sports or balance-based activities such as horse-riding or rock climbing.

✘ Do anything too strenuous when working out.

✘ Allow yourself to get too hot.

✘ Lift weights or lie on your stomach or back. The weight of your bump presses on the main blood vessel bringing blood back to your heart and this can make you feel faint.

✘ Forget to take a break if you need to.

✘ Exercise to the point of exhaustion. You should be able to hold a conversation while exercising

Yoga in pregnancy

Beauty treatments

Dos and don'ts of pregnancy

Do:

✔Use as many natural products as you can, e.g. semi-permanent pure vegetable hair dyes, such as henna are a safe alternative to hair dyes. Many women decide to wait to dye their hair until after the first trimester of pregnancy, when the risk of chemical substances potentially harming baby is lower.

✔Have a massage; these can be incredibly relaxing and stress relieving. Let your spa therapist know you are pregnant and how far along you are if booking a treatment.

Don’t:

✘ Use keratin hair care products while pregnant as these contain keratin proteins that change your hair structure that could be potentially harmful while pregnant.

✘ Dye or highlight your hair in your first trimester.

✘ Use spray tans because the effects of inhaling the spray are not known.

Skin problems during pregnancy

Health

Dos and don'ts of pregnancy

Do:

✔Always consult your doctor or midwife before coming off or taking new medication. Inform your doctor that you are pregnant before they prescribe you anything or give you treatment.

✔Stay hydrated and get enough fluids.

✔Attend prenatal appointments regularly.

✔Tell your midwife or doctor if you are using herbal, homeopathic or aromatherapy remedies – not all complementary therapies are safe.

Don’t:

✘ Smoke, this could be potentially harmful for your baby.

✘ Take up any fad diets; these can reduce the nutrients needed for you and your baby.

✘ Sit in the sun for too long during pregnancy – your skin may be more sensitive and you can burn more easily. Use plenty of sunscreen.

✘ Have very hot baths, hot water can impact a baby’s development.

Worrying pregnancy symptoms

You

Dos and don'ts of pregnancy

Do:

✔Enjoy your pregnancy; it is a unique and wonderful experience.

✔Listen to your body, if you need to stop and take ten minutes or if you need to grab a glass of water, your body will know what is best.

✔Prep for the arrival of your little one, even keep a pregnancy journal or write a list of names, get excited!

Don’t:

✘ Stress or worry too much, you want to keep as calm and relaxed as possible.

✘ Do too much, if you need to cut back on anything in work or at home then you should take the time to do this and let others know.

✘ Ignore any signs that your body may be signalling.

✘ Keep any feelings you may have to yourself, your hormones may make you feel a range of emotions, talk to people around you.

Mental health in pregnancy

Fashion

Dos and don'ts of pregnancy

Do:

✔Wear what makes you feel good about yourself.

✔Embrace your bump in clothes.

✔Be fashionable if you want, you can be pregnant and stylish!

✔Wear comfortable shoes.

✔Invest in comfortable, non-wired bras.

Don’t:

✘ Splurge your money on all maternity clothes at once, buy clothes as you need them, this will save you money. If you can, borrow maternity clothes from a friend.

✘ Wear anything that may be uncomfortable just to look good; comfort should come first.

✘ Wear high heels, it is important to maintain your posture.

✘ Be afraid to dress colourfully or wear patterns.

20 things I learned while pregnant

Dos and don'ts of pregnancy

Exercise during pregnancy is very good for you and your baby.

Antenatal yoga and aqua aerobics are great options, if taking a class, take one that is tailored to expectant mums. If you can’t get to a class, walking is a great way to stay healthy in pregnancy. Women who exercise regularly are less likely to have a Caesarean section.

Stay well hydrated and know your limits. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, gentle exercise every day and learn how to cope with stress in healthier ways such as the Gentle Birth programme.

There are no restrictions on everyday tasks for expectant mums. Gone are the days when mums were warned about lifting their arms over their head or their baby would get tangled up in the cord.

If you’re using cleaning products be sure to use in well-ventilated areas or choose products with less chemicals. If the label says ‘toxic’ – don’t use it. Wear gloves when cleaning as your skin can be extra sensitive in pregnancy.

Tracy Donegan is a midwife and founder of GentleBirth, a positive birth preparation programme. Check out the GentleBirth breathing techniques at www.GentleBirth.ie

Dos and don'ts of pregnancy

“I avoided the usual during my pregnancy. I cut out alcohol, reduced my coffee intake and avoided people who give out too much know-it-all-advice!” Caroline McGuire

“I avoided raw/ partially cooked eggs and very spicy foods, as I suffered from heartburn. I didn’t drink alcohol and I limited my tea and coffee intake.” Gillian Burke

More you might like

Iron in pregnancy
5 things first timers need to know about pregnancy
Post pregnancy hair loss

Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

A
In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Fertility to family

Fertility expert Emma Cannon give advice to help couples get through their IVF journey.

MUST READ

Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

A
In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.