Pregnancy Dos & Don’ts


Don’t drink any alcoholic beverages.


You may take tub baths or showers, whichever you prefer. Don’t use a hot tub or Jacuzzi tub.


Your regular bowel habits may become disturbed during your pregnancy. You may also experience hemorrhoids (for the first time or more frequently than usual). If you’re constipated, increased quantities of bran, fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, water, and other fluids may help. Don’t take laxatives, enemas, or any drugs without consulting with your doctor first. For additional suggestions, read more about constipation during pregnancy.


Consumption of caffeine in low to moderate amounts is not associated with significant risk during pregnancy. Heavy caffeine use, however, can result in potential problems such as low birth weight, caffeine withdrawal symptoms in newborns, and fetal loss. Heavy caffeine drinkers need to reduce their caffeine use while pregnant. Be aware of sources of caffeine besides coffee, such as tea, cola, chocolate, and some nonprescription drugs.

Clothing and Shoes

Maternity clothes are available in a wide range of prices and styles. If you wear pantyhose, choose maternity or special support hose. Regular pantyhose may constrict blood flow. Wear well-fitting maternity bras that give good support. Shoes should be low or medium heeled, as comfortable as possible, and should have nonskid soles.

Cosmetics & Hair Care Products

Don’t color or perm your hair while you’re pregnant. Your hair may respond unpredictably under the influence of pregnancy hormones. In addition, the chemical solutions used to treat your hair are absorbed through the scalp and into the bloodstream, raising questions about the safety of their use during pregnancy. So far, there has been no link found between hair dyes/perms and birth defects; but to be safe, it’s best to avoid these chemicals altogether. You may continue to use your normal hair-styling and personal care products. There is no specific evidence that cosmetics and other personal care products (hairspray, soaps, lotions, deodorants) affect pregnancy outcomes.


Do not douche while you’re pregnant.


You may safely continue working for as long as you remain comfortable at your job but avoid severe physical strain. Some jobs that involve physical exertion may need to evaluated by your medical provider.


If your medical provider has given you approval, you may participate in moderate fitness and recreational activities. Avoid activities such as horseback riding, skydiving, motorcycle racing, fast running, water-skiing, and other activities that carry undue risks


During your first and last trimester you may experience fatigue. It is certainly acceptable to rest or take a midday nap if your schedule allows.

Insecticides, Pesticides, and Herbicides

Don’t expose yourself to chemicals for the yard, pets, or home.


Iron is used to carry oxygen from the air you breathe through your blood vessels to all the cells in your body. Iron is also vital in the building of red blood cells. When you don’t have enough iron, you may feel tired and run down. To get enough iron you need to eat several types of iron-rich foods each day, such as beef, pork, chicken, eggs, lamb, fish, nuts, peanut butter, dried peas and beans, iron-fortified breads and cereals, green leafy vegetables, and dried fruits.


Although you should try to minimize medication during your pregnancy, sometimes it is necessary for your health and comfort to take some type of medication. For a list of medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, see our checklist of pregnancy-safe medications you can take for common ailments.


There in no doubt that smoking is injurious–not only to you but also (even more so) to your unborn child. If you smoke, now is the time to quit.


Be particularly careful about brushing and flossing during your pregnancy. Some women experience “pink toothbrush” (slight bleeding of the gums) from too-rigorous brushing.


Travel does not adversely affect pregnancy. You should avoid sitting for many hours without getting up and moving around, empty your bladder frequently so as to avoid the increased risk of bladder infections caused by retained urine, and carry a record of your medical history with you.