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7 Things you should do when you’re pregnant and 10 Things you shouldn’t

17. Is it safe to dye your hair while pregnant?

It’s not easy carrying a tiny human being for 9 months let alone all the other 101 things you have to remind yourself with which include eating healthy and coping with the common pregnancy problems like morning nausea. Taking care of yourself is crucial and sometimes a change is needed, for example, a hair dye color change. However is it safe though?

The co-founder of Percy and Reed stated that “ You absolutely can dye your hair whilst pregnant”. In addition, Dr.Angela Lamb, director of the Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology Faculty Practise located in New York also agrees and states that the dye doesn’t stay long enough to even get absorbed into the bloodstream, hence why there would be no negative effect on the baby.

16. Pregnancy may cause chemical sensitivity

However, this opinion can be opposed as demonstrated by Frank Dixon, who is a creative colorist at Hari’s salon in London states that its best to wit until the first trimester (first 12 weeks of pregnancy) to be extra safe. This is to ensure that any potential risks are lower. Dixon also told Harper’s Bazaar that if you are feeling anxious highlights can be done instead of the whole hair dye so that the dye doesn’t come into contact with the scalp or another alternative would be to switch to ammonia-free hair products.

It’s also important to note that your skin will react differently to different chemicals in certain products. Shannon Lewis, color director at Neville Hair and Beauty and Anna Short, color director at Daniel Galvin, warn that the smell and color may be different therefore end results may not be the same. They also advise to always carry out a patch test and if any irritation occurs they should stop and before they do try the dye they should consult with the doctor to be on the safe side and not compromise the baby’s health for something that is not a necessity.

15. Do be careful about what you eat when you’re pregnant

Other than hair and facial products, another important and vital factor in pregnancy is food.  You have to be very cautious when eating, especially the types of foods. Dr. Sherry Ross said that it’s very essential to avoid raw or undercooked foods, for example, eating raw vegetables, undercooked meat, poultry or eggs may lead to food poisoning that can be linked with bacterial diseases like salmonella and E coli.

A way to prevent this from happening is to thoroughly cook food to ensure all harmful bacteria are killed. She also stated that eating raw fish such as sushi that has not been recommended during pregnancy can carry certain bacteria and parasites. Foods like halibut and tuna have increased levels of mercury and they cause the most concern for consumption by pregnant women- noting that mercury is very toxic and can cause problems to the fetus and to the newborn nursing infant.

14. Don’t expect things to go back to normal quickly after giving birth

Eating habits become different whilst pregnancy but nothing will be the same after giving birth. Giving birth to a new life essentially means starting a whole new lifestyle. Some advice was given by a parenthood expert saying that nothing will go back to normal and that this is a unique point of time in your life so don’t rush the moment.

  In addition to this, women that do give birth are advised to take as much time off work possible. This is not only to spend the unforgettable memories with your first-born but to also form the vital attachments of security and love that will ensure a good attachment between the parent i.e. the mother and the infant. 

13. Do protect your health when you’re pregnant

It’s important to protect yourself whilst pregnant for your safety but most importantly the health of the fetus. It was stated that women who are pregnant should isolate themselves from sick family members, even their kids if they have infectious diseases such as influenza, chickenpox or pneumonia. Alternatively, you can take care of yourself by dressing safely.

A health investigator stated to “ditch heels and stick to sneakers because as the stomach grows bigger and bigger the center of gravity will be off-balance so therefore this means the woman is more likely to fall or sprain an ankle during her pregnancy which could harm her and her child. Hence why wearing sneakers or smaller heels.

12. Don’t skip your regular checkups when you’re pregnant

In addition to taking care of your health going to regular check-ups is vital to ensure maximum safety and precautions that need to be taken care of your baby and yourself. The schedule of pregnant women is very tightly packed but resisting the urge to skip these important appointments is key to a healthy pregnancy.

11. Do keep exercising when you’re pregnant

With that exercise is also a key factor in ensuring a smooth and progressive pregnancy. Even though it’s quite hard to keep up with yourself during times of the pregnancy like the morning nauseous and the sleepless nights, performing a daily routine of set exercises can ensure a safe and healthy body weight during the pregnancy. Some of these exercises may include the following: brisk walking, light jogging, swimming, snow skiing, and scuba diving. It will also help you get back into the right shape after you have given birth. 

10. Don’t expect to do everything right

Not everything is perfect after birth as we already know. Even if you are a perfectionist, during maternity leave nothing can be planned right. The aim of maternity leave is to enjoy but also survive these years with your firstborn, so not everything is based on accomplishments.

Elly Taylor, a parenthood expert, agreed by saying “Don’t expect to be in control or on top of all your priorities. Babies come with their own needs, time frames, priorities and a special way of doing their own thing and all of these things take time to figure out.” The most useful advice given is to learn to be a learner and not an expert because you wouldn’t want that pressure.

9. Do develop a work plan when you’re pregnant

On contrast making plans before you give birth is not a bad idea so that the impact doesn’t affect your work-life after. If you are working, check-in with HR and find out what their leave policies are and what form you need to fill for example Family Medical Act Leave (FMLA) and how much time needs to be taken off. These responsibilities need to be balanced so that your work doesn’t get affected.

8. Don’t buy a lot of stuff when you’re pregnant

Budget is an important factor before maternity leave and after. Some women may think that buying more clothes for themselves and the baby makes them seem or feel more prepared however this does not prepare you for having a baby. Elly Taylor suggests that you don’t start supersizing. Couples start supersizing the rooms and expect bigger cars but they need to consider the bigger things to get ready for. Besides, all your baby needs at first are love, care, and security in their first few weeks of their journey in this life.

7. Do prepare for your baby while you’re pregnant

Don’t forget to prepare for your baby while pregnant though. It is important to be prepared for anything but be wise enough to prepare for anything that might come your way. Elly Taylor, an expert in childhood, stated “We call it expecting, but we really should call it preparing. Its also scientifically proven that birth classes which include preparing for life after baby can actually positively impact the birth of the child!” She recommended also to conversate with people that have already given birth to a baby for example friends and family and learn about the joys and challenges, or seek out childbirth educator which will act as a guide to help you look out for your baby and provide the best early stages of parenthood that will surely never be forgotten.

An author, Lori Michalich-Levin suggested you also have to consider how to make your life easier once your baby arrives. She said “Think about ways that you can delegate and automate processes. For example, buying a slow cooker to maximize the time of looking after your baby without having to worry whether you’ve burnt today’s meal or you could attempt to research different delivery options and different nurses in your area which may be able to help you look after your baby.  Also, look for a local teenager that you can recruit to look after your baby a few hours a week if possible.

6. Don’t drink alcohol or smoke while pregnant

Now this one is pretty obvious but it’s easier said than done especially for those that are unfortunately addicted to smoking and drinking alcohol. It is crucial that you totally avoid smoking and drinking whilst pregnant because it can have a significant and life-threatening impact on not only your health but your baby’s one too.  ConsumerSafety.org health investigator, Caitlyn Hoff said: “Rein in your addictions and stay away from cigarettes(including cigarette smoke) and alcohol when pregnant.”

she further added “Cigarette smoke can be even more dangerous to the developing fetus than to a normal human being. This is because inhaling cigarette smoke whilst pregnant puts you and your child at greater risk for premature birth, miscarriage, low birth weight and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).” With regards to drinking alcohol, she added that drinking alcohol has a similar story in the fact that it is linked in the development of birth defects known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder FASD) along with the high risks of miscarriages and stillbirths. In other words, any pregnant lady should abstain from and smoking and alcohol consumption for the health and safety of you and your child.

5. Do focus on you when you’re pregnant

Having a baby will increase your stress levels however, focusing on your main goals is the main thing. One way to minimize these stress levels is to take care of yourself. Elly Taylor once again has stated “Its best to starts to build self-care into your days and weeks of pregnancy. Parenthood is a marathon and good habits in taking care of yourself will definitely come in handy when the early chaos and exhaustion of life with a newborn start to descend all on your shoulders.”

 It’s also important to look at what your food provides your body with. Is the meal nutritious? How much energy does it provide you with? It’s also a good idea to cook and freeze healthy meals for at least your first month. Have a set routine of activities that will relieve you from stress and think about some activities you can do either with friends or family to continue after the baby comes which will create a warm and welcoming environment for you and your baby.

Again this was further supported by the ConsumerSafety.org health investigator, Caitlyn Hoff by stressing the importance of self-care when pregnant. “If there was one time in a woman’s life where self-care must be the highest priority it would be during pregnancy.”

4. Don’t gain too much weight while pregnant

Cravings are one of the easiest ways to gain weight, however, gaining too much weight is also a problem during pregnancy. It’s very important that you are cautious about your weight when pregnant. It was started by a doctor that you only really need an extra 250 calories a day from a normal intake of calories for a healthy pregnancy, as you don’t need to eat for two.

Weight gain puts you at significant risk of medicated conditions, for example, gestational diabetes. It would also be twice as hard to lose the gained weight after pregnancy. Another doctor stated that keeping your BMI (body mass index) under 25 is ideal prior to getting pregnant. A woman of average weight before getting pregnant should gain 25-30 pounds during pregnancy. Underweight women should gain 28-40 pounds during their pregnancy and overweight women should gain 15-20 pounds during pregnancy. It’s quite important to ask your healthcare provider how much weight should be gained during your pregnancy to avoid the likeliness of becoming overweight and to prevent the chances of getting a medical condition.

3. Do take prenatal screenings while pregnant

Prenatal screenings have to be taken as they can help you be aware of complications in your pregnancy, for example, premature delivery and risks of having a baby with a genetic condition. Doctor Jill Hechtman said, “There are some tests that are routine for all pregnant patients and there are also special ones that need to be carried out.”

AN example of this would be the PreTRM test which is a blood test that is done during the 19th or 20th week of pregnancy that predicts your individualized risk of delivering the baby prematurely. She added, “There are different options available to determine the baby’s risk of being born with a genetic condition.” An example of this would be NIPT or non-invasive prenatal test, which is when a sample of blood is taken after 10 weeks of pregnancy to check if the baby may have any risk of genetic conditions, for example, Down Syndrome.

Depending on the results, the doctors would recommend amniocentesis or CVS (chronic villus sampling) to confirm whether your baby is affected by it or not. Also, more common tests like ultrasound are also recommended to identify your gestational age and an estimated birthdate and also to look at your baby’s anatomy and growth!

2. Don’t isolate yourself when you’re pregnant

Being pregnant may make you feel like you’re the only one going through the pain and hardship of pregnancy but it’s important to not approach your pregnancy as a solo act. Isolating yourself from everyone and everything could have negative side effects, depression and anxiety. It was also stated that its important to not isolate yourself but also to include your partner every step of the way. This is because fathers usually feel excluded from the pregnancy period, birth and even the initial few weeks or months of newborn life. Not many will say and open up about this though.

It also further explained that the “most important thing for a pregnant woman is that motherhood is not a road that she needs to walk on alone. Feeling isolated and alone can contribute to more serious cases like postpartum depression and therefore reaching out to family and friends and even professionals will need to be done especially if it’s getting tough and you feel like you’re collapsing under all this stress.

Another important advice would be to surround yourselves with people that are also pregnant at the same time. Take the time to explore hospital new mother support groups and baby yoga classes.

1. Enjoy being pregnant

Now you must be tired of reading about the precautions and advice that are needed for a healthy and successful pregnancy, however, the best is yet to come. Enjoy being pregnant. Pregnancy is a time of change physically, mentally and emotionally. Instead of thinking about childbirth and quickly getting by the 9 months of pregnancy, try to enjoy these limited months instead. It was also stated that “Pregnancy is a magical time so you need to embrace it at all times” so every hour, every minute and every second is valuable and can make up beautiful, funny memories that you wouldn’t want to forget.  Regardless of the many unpleasant things of pregnancy including stretch marks, hemorrhoids, weight gain, discharge, constipation, melasma and morning sickness, think about the biggest miracle- A human being is inside of you waiting for your love and maternal eternal care.

If you approach the times of pregnancy as an attitude of acceptance then you will get through any obstacle that comes in your way not only in pregnancy but the chaotic adventures that are to come after welcoming a new member to your family. These vital lessons can be implemented in your second pregnancy and in no time you will become a pro at mastering the patience and endurance of each pregnancy yet to come.

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