As women and mothers, we strive to create the best possible environment for our growing child. Over the course of 10 months, we make various changes to promote the utmost health for both ourselves and our little ones. I did some digging to find out what practices could be safely engaged in during pregnancy and what should be avoided. Always speak with your midwife or healthcare provider to make the healthiest choice for you and your baby.
Can we drink caffeine?
Caffeine, a stimulant and diuretic, has the ability to cross the placenta to reach your baby. As the baby lacks the enzymes to metabolize caffeine like we do, any amount of it can disrupt their sleep and movement patterns in later stages of pregnancy. To err on the side of caution, it is advisable to avoid caffeine altogether, including coffee, tea, and soda.
Can we drink wine?
Drinking any form of alcohol at any time during pregnancy can be harmful, with no safe amount to consume. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) can occur, leaving lasting impacts on your baby's life, even if only minute quantities of alcohol are consumed. Since alcohol freely travels through the umbilical cord, it is essential to completely abstain from drinking when trying to conceive or as soon as you discover your pregnancy.
Can we weight train?
Staying active while pregnant can be very beneficial, whether it’s prenatal yoga, walking, or weight training. Training at an appropriate weight can help you stay fit during pregnancy and prepare your body for motherhood. Movement releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that relieve pain, stress, and boosts mood. Weight training can help strengthen and protect the lower back, help posture changes, and build or maintain endurance needed for labor. It can also help with the baby’s development. Need we say more. Overall, researchers have found the exercise is a big yes during pregnancy. Listen to your body and move in ways that feel best for you.
Can we have sex?
Sex during pregnancy is natural and normal, so long as you’re having a normal pregnancy. Penetration is safe for the baby, it is protected by your abdomen and the uterus’ muscular walls and cushioned by the amniotic sac’s fluid. Sex can be a partner bonding experience, being intimate together is a great way to stay connected. Orgasms release oxytocin, a hormone that can increase your pain tolerance, helping ease pregnancy related pain and discomfort. Not only does it benefit physical pain, but is a mood-booster increasing feelings of love and joy. And to top it off having organisms can tone your pelvic floor, preparing your body for childbirth and recovery. Add in kegels during sex to strengthen vaginal muscles even more. You may find sex very enjoyable during pregnancy or have no sex drive at all...it is all okay and the most important thing is to let your partner know how you’re feeling, as everyone's experience is unique.
Can we eat liver?
Liver is one of the most nutrient dense superfoods on the planet. Liver is an amazing food to eat when pregnant, breastfeeding, and trying to conceive, with benefits for mother and baby both. Liver is packed with vitamin A, B vitamins, zinc, copper, iron, protein, folate, the list goes on and on. It has key nutrients for reproductive health, brain building choline, serotonin-making tryptophan. One of the main reasons pregnant women are suggested liver consumption is the high presence of iron, keeping the blood healthy and reducing risk of anemia. Speak with your midwife to gain advice on safe amounts to consume during pregnancy.
Can we sleep on our backside?
During pregnancy side sleeping is suggested, specifically on the left side though the right side is perfectly acceptable too. Side sleeping provides the best circulation and blood flow for you and your baby. Sleeping on your back puts a lot of weight on the vena cava, a major blood vessel that runs down the spine. If you wake up on your back or belly, not to worry, simply reposition. If you naturally are a belly or back sleeper, try looking into a comfy pillow designed for pregnant women to help make side sleeping more enjoyable.
These are suggestions that ring true for me. The goal is to have the happiest and healthiest pregnancy for you, mama, and for your babe. When in doubt, it’s best to check with your midwife or healthcare provider.