pregnancy: 5 pregnancy ‘rules’ i’m breaking

5 pregnancy 'rules' i'm breaking // cait's plate

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One thing I quickly learned upon becoming pregnant is that there are a lot of well-intentioned rules that you’re supposed to follow. And while some of them are important to follow to a T, there are 5 that I regularly break.

Rule #1: Cut Back on Working Out
Things have changed significantly since the days when you were told you couldn’t work out once you became pregnant. I know some people still feel this way, but for me personally, continuing to remain physically active throughout my pregnancy has been HUGELY important. A general rule of thumb is that in most cases, if you were active before your pregnancy, you can remain active during pregnancy (obviously so long as your pregnancy is progressing well and you’ve been given the OK by your doctor). I’m definitely not doing all the same exercises at the same intensity as I was before, but pregnancy has by no means been a hindrance to my becoming inactive. From improving my mood to helping my energy level, I’ve found activity during pregnancy has done nothing but help me. What to Expect did a nice article on the benefits of exercise during pregnancy.

See this post for my favorite ways to stay active pregnancy.

Rule #2: Avoid Fish
One of the main things I learned while getting my Masters in Nutrition and RD credentials was the many benefits of fish during pregnancy. As with many rules in pregnancy, this is one where a little caution (vs. total abstinence) goes a long way. EatRight.org has a great article on the Do’s and Don’ts of Seafood During Pregnancy that I think does a great job of breaking it down.  The main concern with fish during pregnancy is methyl mercury.  You want to avoid choices that are high in methyl mercury because that’s a substance that can pass through to the baby, and the baby is not well-equipped to process large amounts of mercury.  I’ve regularly enjoyed canned light tuna, salmon and shrimp during my pregnancy so my baby can get the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids.

Rule #3: Steer Clear of Soft Cheese
Something I’ve heard A LOT about throughout both my nutrition schooling and my pregnancy was risk of listeria.  Listeria is a bacteria that can survive even at cold temperatures and cause food poisoning. In school we covered the importance of avoiding deli meats (unless they were heated to steaming), sprouts and soft cheeses like feta, and blue cheese during pregnancy.  I do avoid deli meat, sprouts and soft cheeses whenever I’m at a restaurant.  However, when I’m at home, I enjoy the occasional soft cheese (like feta) so long as they are pasteurized or heated until bubbly if not (which will significantly decrease the risk of listeria).

Rule #4: Avoid Coffee
Ironically, about halfway into my first trimester, I gave up coffee completely. It wasn’t something I did intentionally, I just found I had less of a taste for it. However, my doctor assured me that up to 200mg of caffeine daily was perfectly safe for the baby so the moment I got a taste for it again, I started drinking it.  The way my doctor described it to me, a tall Starbucks coffee is fine.  However, when I’m making it at home and drinking out of a mug, I find it can be tricky to gauge so I brew half-caff (same with lattes).

Rule #5: Eat for Two
I think this is a common misconception during pregnancy. In school we learned that for a woman at a healthy weight before pregnancy (which I was), you need the following in terms of required added calories:

  • First Trimester: No additional calories per day
  • Second Trimester: 340 additional calories per day
  • Third Trimester: 450 additional calories per day

I found this to be pretty true for me.  For the majority of my first trimester I ate exactly the same amount of food that I did before pregnancy.  I didn’t find any big surge in my appetite and felt good eating the same way I had before.  Now in the second trimester I definitely have found the need for an additional snack or two, but other than that, my meal pattern remained fairly similar.  Of course everyone is different and has different needs, this just happened to be my experience!  It will be interesting to see what the second half of this trimester and the next brings!

Are there any pregnancy rules out there that you’ve heard of and you either absolutely stick to or just keep as a loose guide?  I’d love to hear other’s experiences!

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Note: All opinions included here are my own and are by no means meant to preach to or pressure others into doing the same thing.  I find I like reading about others’ experiences so I wanted to share mine.

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