Every expectant mom tries to do what’s best for the growing baby inside her, but with all the different guidelines and opinions floating around the webosphere, knowing what’s right can be confusing. The best rule of thumb: Talk to your doctor whenever you have a question (that’s what he’s there for!). And in the meantime, avoid these uh-ohs even the smartest moms fall victim to from time to time.
Mistake 1: Eating for two
Unfortunately, that second pink line doesn’t give you a hall pass to overload on pickles and ice cream. (Darn it!) To properly provide your little one with the nutrients he needs to develop and thrive, you need to add only about 300 calories per day to your prepregnancy diet—and even that isn’t necessary until the second trimester. Excessive weight increases can lead to complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, so it’s important to keep your gain within the recommended guidelines. Ask your doctor what your target additional poundage should be; for healthy women experiencing normal pregnancies, most OBs recommend a gain of 25 to 35 pounds.
Mistake 2: Starting a diet
While some women use pregnancy as an excuse to overindulge, others tend to go in the opposite direction and don’t indulge often enough, resulting in deficient weight gain. You’re carrying another person—you’re supposed to pack on some pounds! Even if you weren’t thrilled with your body before, now is not the time to diet. Eat well-balanced meals and snacks, partake in a moderate OB-approved exercise plan, and don’t worry about maintaining your figure.
You’ll have plenty of time to work on that after baby arrives.
Mistake 3: Skipping your prenatals
Many expectant moms who are suffering from morning sickness or frequent nausea complain that their prenatal vitamins only make symptoms worse, but it’s still important to pop those pills every day. Your baby needs the nutrients included in the vitamin for proper growth and development, so talk to your doctor if your daily dose is making you sick. He might be able to prescribe a different brand or suggest an alternate option (such as a gummy or liquid version) that is less troublesome to your tummy. You can also try taking your vitamin with food or at a different time of day, or ask your doc if splitting the pill in half is an option.
Mistake 4: Being less than forthcoming with your OB
Maybe you enjoyed a little too much wine before realizing you were pregnant. Maybe you’re in an unstable relationship. Or maybe you just couldn’t say “no” to that sushi craving and devoured a plate of sashimi. No one is perfect, and your doctor doesn’t expect you to be. But it’s important that you be honest with him about your life and any slipups you might have made while brewing your baby. Since he’s invested in helping you carry and deliver a healthy bundle of joy, you have to be upfront with him so he can provide the care you need. Even if you’re embarrassed to talk about something you’ve done, swallow your pride and speak up—for your baby’s sake. In most cases, he’ll likely tell you that it’s no big deal (which will do wonders in absolving your guilt and restoring peace of mind).
Mistake 5: Running on too little rest
Life can be overwhelming at times, and you might be the kind of person who frequently burns the midnight oil to accomplish your to-do tasks for the day. When housing a little one, however, you have to make sure you’re giving your body the downtime it needs. Pregnancy’s physical tolls can zap your energy, and your body (and soul) needs a chance to reboot. Research has even shown that women who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have problems during labor and delivery or require a Caesarean delivery, so make getting enough Zs a priority.
Mistake 6: Letting pregnancy put you on the sidelines
Carrying a baby definitely changes your life, but it doesn’t have to affect every aspect. Maintain your regular lifestyle and keep doing the things you enjoy. If you’re an avid runner, your OB will probably give you the green light to keep jogging—check with him before assuming you have to hang up your running shoes for the next nine months. Pregnancy should be an enjoyable experience. Hang out with your friends, go on dates with your partner, and don’t spend every second of your 40 weeks worrying about what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Common sense and open communication with your healthcare provider will take you a long way—before you know it, you’ll be cradling your newborn in your arms and starting on the next phase of parenthood.