What you should and shouldn’t do during Pregnancy

Pregnancy can often be a confusing time when advice is coming from doctors, family and friends about what you should and should not be doing during pregnancy. This guide deals with the things you should or can do during pregnancy, and also, the things that you should stay away from during this important time.

What you should do:

Regular Medical Checks

Pregnant mothers are advised to attend all their antenatal appointments and have regular medical checkups in order to monitor the health and wellbeing of their unborn baby. Regular medical checkups are vital to identifying potential problems and help to find solutions to problems at an early stage. Medical check-ups also give the pregnant mother an opportunity to ask questions and get reassurance from the doctor when needed.

Folic Acid

Your doctor may prescribe you with folic acid, which aids in reducing the risk of spina bifida in your unborn baby. It should be taken during the first trimester. The doctor will offer further advice on the prescribed time for taking folic acid vitamin supplements.

Protection against German measles (Rubella)

It is always recommended to take the prenatal blood test for German measles (Rubella). If a pregnant woman catches German measles, it can lead to serious foetal deformities and even miscarriage. The best way to avoid contraction of German measles is to get a vaccination.

Maintaining a Healthy Balanced Diet

Every pregnant mother is advised to maintain a healthy balanced diet, which will help with the development of bones and organs in the unborn baby and ensure that both mother and baby are healthy. Eating protein enriched foods such as fruits and vegetables can keep you glowing and refreshed. Pregnant mothers often have cravings for sugary foods; however, sugar intake should be monitored and pregnant mothers should not have too much sugar or fatty foods.

Exercise during Pregnancy

It is important to partake in light non-strenuous exercise during pregnancy to get your body ready for labour and ensure that you are fit and healthy. Recommended exercises include brisk walking, yoga and swimming. Any exercise should be discussed with your doctor or midwife to ensure that you do not get overheated or over exhausted.

Flying abroad during pregnancy

Many mothers often question whether it is safe to fly during pregnancy, but they are typically assured that flying is safe up to 36 weeks of pregnancy. Some airlines may have their own rules so it best to check this before booking flights.

Your doctor or midwife may be able to offer further advice you on whether flying is suitable according to the type of pregnancy you are having. If you are having a high risk pregnancy then the doctor may discuss potential risks, though it really depends on your individual circumstances. If you have experienced any bleeding, spotting, high blood pressure, a past premature birth or are diabetic the doctor may have to assess the suitability of flying abroad.

Many women find that flying during the first or second trimester of pregnancy, which is from 14- 27 weeks, is the most enjoyable time to fly as they have usually passed the symptoms of morning sickness and are starting to feel much better. Energy levels increase during the second trimester which means that you would feel less tired and can enjoy the holiday.

If you are expecting one baby only and are having a normal pregnancy, you may be able to fly up to 36 weeks; however, due to the risk of premature birth some airlines decide not to accept pregnant women at 36 weeks. It is therefore best to check with the airline which you are hoping to travel with before booking your tickets.

You may need a letter from the doctor confirming your due date as some airlines may need to see this to ensure that there are no delays or cancellations due to an unexpected arrival. If your doctor feels that you are healthy and well enough to travel abroad then it should be simple to obtain a letter.

Flying during pregnancy may increase the chances of thrombosis, also known as blood clots, and varicose veins. Pregnant women are therefore advised to wear protective footwear or flight socks. Flight socks can be bought from many leading pharmacies and can aid in circulation and relieve swelling.

Dying your hair

There is no scientific evidence to say that dying your hair is unsafe during pregnancy; however, if you are considering colouring your hair then it may be best to use a dye which does not contain too many chemicals. There are several alternative natural methods of colouring your hair while pregnant, such as using herbal henna dye which contains no harsh chemicals.

Warm Baths

You are allowed to have a warm bath during pregnancy; however, it should not be too hot due to the raise in temperature which could be potentially dangerous to your unborn baby. Warm baths can be therapeutic and can aid in relaxing your body however. Many women even choose to have their baby in a birthing pool, using warm water. It is however not recommended to use a hot tub or sauna as the temperatures are could be a potential risk to the unborn baby.

Making Love

If you are having a healthy pregnancy there is no reason why you cannot make love and it is often a more heightened experience during pregnancy. If your pregnancy is high risk or you have experienced bleeding or spotting then it is best to discuss whether making love would be safe according to your individual circumstances. Some women use sexual intercourse as a means to induce labour if they have gone beyond their due date.

What you shouldn’t do

Smoking during Pregnancy

Pregnant women are advised to stop smoking during pregnancy as it can cause harm to both the mother and baby. Nevertheless, many pregnant women continue to smoke despite warnings even though this can pose as a potential threat to their baby. Smoking can have a detrimental effect on the baby’s heart and lungs. If you need help stopping smoking then the hospital can give you specialised care.

Using Hot Tubs or Saunas

The temperature in hot tubs and saunas is significantly higher than normal warm baths and therefore should be avoided due to the potential harm it may cause to the unborn baby.

An alternative to a sauna could be a warm relaxing bath which can aid in relaxing the body. A hot tub is normally in the surroundings of a gym or health spa, and there is the potential risk of falling or slipping in such circumstances.


Pregnant women are advised to avoid drinking alcohol due to the negative effect it can have on your unborn child. Fetal alcohol syndrome is the worst case scenario, which could lead to retardation and abnormalities in the baby. No woman would want to deliberately put their child at risk or harm, which is why it is best to avoid alcohol during pregnancy.

Excess Caffeine

Although drinking one cup of coffee may not harm your baby, excessive caffeine intake can as it may result in having a premature baby. Often babies with low birth weights are due to the pregnant mother consuming excessive caffeine. For pregnant mothers who do enjoy having a cup of coffee there are decaffeinated options available so that you can still enjoy a nice cup of coffee.


Drugs can be potentially dangerous for normal people and it is especially dangerous for pregnant women. Women who do take drugs are advised to immediately stop with the help of the hospital and specialised doctors who will be there to assist you in recovering from taking drugs. Pregnant women should not take drugs due to the risk of abnormalities and retardation it can cause to the baby.

What you should and shouldn’t do during Pregnancy:

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