What"s for sure to eat during pregnancy? deserve to hair dye hurt the fetus? and what"s this about not transforming the litterbox?By Star LawrenceWebMD Feature

Reviewed by Charlotte E. Grayson, MD

The national nannies and also the old wives have created an alliance come pepper the pregnant woman v directives on whatever from alfalfa sprouts to Zithromycin. So what"s the skinny (remember, however, what your doctor says goes)?

Food and also Drink

CheesesThe CDC claims listeriosis, a food-borne illness with mild flu-like symptoms that can be overlooked, can an outcome in premature birth delivery, miscarriage, significant illness, or fatality of the baby. Heidi Murkoff, author of What come Expect once You"re Expecting, concurs v the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which alerts that you no eat unpasteurized soft cheese (and various other unpasteurized dairy products products), hotdogs, or having lunch meat unless cooked.

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Cheeses make in the U.S. Need to be make from pasteurized milk (this procedure kills the listeria organism), for this reason they are fairly safe. Imported soft cheese are perhaps problematic. These may incorporate Brie, Camembert, feta, goat, Montrachet, Neufchatel, and also queso fresco. Listeria may likewise be discovered in unpasteurized semi-soft cheese (slightly an ext solid cheeses that carry out not grate easily and are regularly coated through wax to maintain moisture and extend shelf life). Semi-soft cheeses include Asiago, blue, brick, Gorgonzola, Havarti, Muenster, and Roquefort.

Cheddar, mozzarella, cream cheese, and also cottage cheese are fine. "Stay away from those yummy roadside ciders, too," Murkoff advises. "They"re no pasteurized."

Diet sodaMinimal harmful effects have been presented from the usage of the synthetic sweetener aspartame in pregnancy, follow to Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and also gynecology in ~ the Albert Einstein college of medicine in the Bronx, N.Y. "Like every little thing else, moderation is best." A everyday diet popular music or aspartame-sweetened yogurt is most likely harmless.

CoffeeMost studies present no adverse effects from three or 4 cups of coffee. Still, some doctors and midwives are careful and point to studies linking java to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and also migraines. There space some data that indicate that big amounts of caffeine cause low-birth-weight babies.

However, if you pick to drink coffee, moderation is key. "Sometimes it"s more difficult on you to quit entirely," Dolan admits. "Pregnancy is hard sufficient on you."

Herbal teaHerbal teas can be safe during pregnancy, but you need to be cautious. Be sure to steer clear of teas that have actually unfamiliar ingredients; instead, look for those teas that space made from ingredients that room a component of your common diet (like orange extract). Remember that "natural" doesn"t constantly mean "safe." If you space unsure, speak to your doctor.

According to Murkoff, life fish, which have the right to contain parasites, is most likely not advisable when cravings strike.


In march 2004, the FDA and also EPA issued joint guidelines about eating fish during pregnancy. They advise ladies who are pregnant, nursing, or also considering having kids to eat no more than 2 servings of fish each week in order to protect emerging babies indigenous high levels of possibly brain-damaging mercury.

By adhering to their recommendations and guidelines, federal government officials say that ladies will get the benefits of eat fish and also shellfish and also be confident the they have reduced their exposure come the harmful results of mercury.

Do no eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or golden or white snapper (tilefish) due to the fact that they save on computer high levels of mercury. Eat as much as 12 ounces (2 average meals) a main of a variety of fish and shellfish that are reduced in mercury. 5 of the most generally eaten fish and also shellfish that room low in mercury room shrimp, canned irradiate tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Another commonly consumed fish, albacore ("white") tuna, has an ext mercury than canned irradiate tuna. Therefore when picking your two meals the fish and also shellfish, you might eat approximately 6 ounces (1 mean meal) of albacore tuna every week, lock say. Because tuna steak usually contains greater levels that mercury than canned irradiate tuna, when choosing your 2 meals of fish and shellfish, you might eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of tuna steak every week. Fish sticks and also fast-food sandwiches are typically made from fish that are low in mercury.

SpinachGobble that up, Dolan says. Folic mountain is one substance you want once you"re pregnant, especially prior to conceiving and also during the first trimester. The recommended sheep is 400 micrograms a day. "Folic acid reduces the incidence of neural tube defects by 70%," she says. "It"s one thing that really has actually a good effect."

In addition, spinach is loaded through iron, a mineral important for health.

Alcohol and TobaccoDespite every the dirty looks from relatives, part pregnant ladies still have a glass of alcohol now and then. No for sure level that alcohol usage has been developed -- but due to the fact that there is no safe level, you and your doctor must decide. Dolan recommends excluding all alcohol at least throughout the an initial trimester once so much of the baby"s nervous system is being formed.

Of course, that familiar cigarette is the end altogether! In enhancement to nicotine, cigarettes contain hundreds of additives that leap across the placenta into your baby"s system. In ~ the very least, prematurity and also low birth load can an outcome from smoking, Dolan says.

Eating because that TwoBefore you start eating because that two, Murkoff says, "remember that one of the two of girlfriend is about the dimension of a serial of rice at first. You just need about 300 extra calorie a day once you"re pregnant."

Beauty Treatments

Artificial NailsYour pond grow quicker when you"re pregnant, so you deserve to probably make carry out with "home-growns," Murkoff says. Pond salons regularly smell strongly of chemicals, and also if it smells strong, it most likely isn"t great for girlfriend or her baby, she says.

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question The first sign of pregnancy is many often: see Answer

At the very least one research has likewise shown the pregnant women who occupational in pond salons, dry cleaning establishments, clinical laboratories, and manufacturing plants who work-related with smelly chemical solvents might be placing their fetus" brain development in ~ risk.

Bikini waxAren"t friend the glam mom-to-be! Pregnant women occasionally do discover hair in the many unwanted places, not simply bikini country. Wax is preferable to chemical depilatories.

Hair dye and also permsThere room no data supporting harmful impacts of hair dye, either, according to Dolan. "Very small dye reaches her scalp, anyway." The smells, however, have the right to gross out a pregnant woman"s overly sensitive sniffer.

Awake and Asleep

Left side for sleepingMurkoff claims propping everything into a comfy position on her left next after the 4th month minimizes pressure on her uterus and also intestines and increases nutrients come the baby. If you wake up up in a different position, such together your back, flop over and start again. Lied on your ago puts too much pressure ~ above the vena cava, alerts Dolan.

Exercise and hot tubsIt"s probably ideal not come overheat once pregnant (although the researches were excellent on women with fevers, who probably had other things wrong with them). "If you never exercised," Dolan cautions, "you need to not start when pregnant. If you carry out exercise, this is not the moment to rise your workout."

Changing the litter boxCats can bring a an illness called toxoplasmosis. Her vet deserve to test for it, or dad can adjust the box. Gloves are a good idea in any event.

Using the computerNo big deal, Dolan says.

Lawn workThe first trimester the pregnancy might not be the ideal time to call your inside groundskeeper.

A recent study suggested that usual weedkillers may reason developmental problems. Researchers discovered exposure come chemically treated golf courses and also lawns before the recommended waiting duration is over can harm the arising embryo. The EPA is currently assessing these findings.

Bringing on Labor

Castor oilSome people advise a dose of the old-time remedy to kick-start labor, however this stuff tastes terrible, and a violent diarrhea might spoil the mood.

WalkingIt overcome the time and also is yes if your doctor advises it. Yet there is no evidence it will bring on labor.

Having sexProstaglandins, substances in semen, add to the contractions the sex, can hasten labor in part cases. Part doctors also prescribe it.

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Spicy foodsFeel favor a nice situation of gastritis?

Predicting the sexThe old wives have been aced by ultrasound this days, yet a slew of myths persist: bring low and also it"s a boy, carry broad and it"s a girl, nose obtaining bigger and also it"s a girl, Drano in the toilet, you"ve heard castle all. Each of these, Murkoff says, has a 50% opportunity of being true.