Pregnancy Do's and Dont's

It seems every year there are new recommendations about what a pregnant woman should and shouldn't be doing in the months leading up to their delivery. American Baby magazine talked to OB-GYN's to find out what the do's and don'ts are when your pregnant. American Baby's Senior Lifestyle Editor Jessica Hartshorn gives us the answers.


It used to be that moms to be would only be screened for various birth defects if they were 35 and older, but that's no longer true. Age doesn't matter. In 2007 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists began recommending that all women be offered screenings to assess a baby's DS risk. Discuss what's right for you with your doctor.

You're eating for two used to be the common thinking about a woman's diet during pregnancy. Is that still true...no. Now we know that packing on the pounds causes health complications. You don't need to gain a great deal of weight to have a healthy baby. A fetus generally requires only an extra 100 calories a day in your first trimester and 300 by your third. Heavier moms are at a greater risk for gestational diabetes and hypertension.

Women who exercised during pregnancy were told to keep their heart rate below 140 beats a minute, but now women can exercise more freely, right? You won't hurt the fetus by getting too hot during exercise. If you are working out, you want to be very aware of your breathing. If you can have a conversation without huffing and puffing you are fine. With the green light from your doctor shoot for 30 minutes of low impact exercise at least five days a week. It will keep weight in check and ease constipation, insomnia, lower back pain and other discomforts.

Deliveries at 37 weeks was common practice, but now 39 weeks is the goal. Babies aren't due until 40 weeks. Babies delivered at 39 weeks have better brain development and less respiratory distress, and they spend less time in the hospital. There might be specific reasons to deliver early, but healthy babies are worth the weight.

Coffee was a big no no for moms to be, but now it's okay. A daily cup of coffee is reasonably safe. In moderation caffeine doesn't appear to cause miscarriage or preterm birth. Limit caffeine to less than 200 milligrams a day, which is about what you'll find in a 12 ounce cup of coffee or cappuccino. ***For more information on having a healthy pregnancy and other parenting tips, click here.

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