There are lots of dos and don’ts surrounding pregnancy – but which ones are true and which ones are a load of rubbish? Here’s a look into some common guidelines and whether you should take any notice of them.
You should be eating for two
FALSE. Many expectant mothers take advantage of the fact they’re also feeding a baby and end up pigging out. However, your baby doesn’t need as many calories as you may think. In fact, 300 calories more is all you need in your diet to keep your baby healthy. Too much feasting could be causing you to pile on the pounds and you could find that that bump refuses to shift afterwards.
You should be taking supplements
TRUE. Prenatals are a form of supplement containing lots of vitamins that have been proven to reduce the chance of defects. These supplements should contain 600 – 800 mg of folate in them. You can also take fish oil and probiotics. You should of course be wary of taking too many supplements as this could cause overdoses of certain vitamins and minerals that won’t be healthy for you or your baby.
You should avoid cheeses
FALSE. Cheese may actually contain healthy amounts of calcium that your baby needs. There are risks with unpasteurized cheeses such as brie and feta – pregnant women are more at risk of infections caused by these cheese due to a hormonal imbalance. This risk can be drastically lowered by simply choosing pasteurized cheeses. The likes of cheddar and Swiss cheese carry virtually no risk at all.
You should avoid caffeine
FALSE. Too much caffeine has been linked to a greater risk of miscarrying, but really you’d have to be already drinking unhealthy amounts of coffee for this to be the case. One cup of coffee a day is unlikely to have any risk – a study by McGill University found that it takes two to three cups a day at least before the chance of any risk sets in.
You should avoid alcohol
TRUE. Multiple studies support that drinking regularly whilst pregnant is probably a bad idea. Doctors generally agree that a glass of red wine a week is fine and could even carry some health benefits. It’s personal choice whether you drink more than this or abstain at all.
You should avoid seafood
FALSE. Raw and undercooked seafood has the potential to make anyone ill. Pregnant women are more susceptible to the bacteria found in raw seafood. However, so long as the seafood is prepared properly, there’s no risk. If you’ve never got seafood poisoning from a restaurant or sushi bar before – why stop eating there now? The same applies to chicken in pork, which some overcautious pregnant women similarly choose to avoid.
You should stop exercising
FALSE. Being active isn’t going to harm your baby. In fact, it’s likely to make your baby healthier, not to mention preventing any unwanted weight gain during pregnancy. Of course, you may want to take break from high-intensity exercise such as sprinting, jumping and lifting heavy weights. There are however lots of low-intensity exercises such as swimming, walking and stretching that you can still do whilst pregnant.