6 Things You Don’t Necessarily Have to Give Up When You’re Pregnant
Congratulations! You’re pregnant! That means you have to stop highlighting your hair, start functioning on decaf and opt out of sushi dinners (not at all awkward considering you can tell no one why), all while attempting to dry heave silently in the communal ladies' room. Yaaaay... But wait: Here’s more good news! Science has stepped in to rewrite (at least some of) the old rules. Here are six things you can still do—for two.
Not only can you still work out while pregnant, you should. Exercise can prep your body for delivery and help you bounce back faster after the fact. The general rule of thumb is if you have a regular fitness routine, you can keep it up at roughly the same level for as long as you’re comfortable. Just check with your doctor first (you’re probably seeing her tomorrow anyway).
Your beloved hot dogs, deli meat and soft cheese all have to go. But if your idea of comfort food is a tuna sandwich and potato chips, snarfed down solo at a diner counter (No? Just us?), then bon appétit. You can safely eat the high-mercury fish at least once a week, according to one NYC OB we asked. And a recent study shows eating up to three servings of fish per week may even benefit fetal brain development.
The American Pregnancy Association allows for up to (but no more than) 200 mg of caffeine per day—because caffeine crosses the placenta and your fetus can’t metabolize it. So you’re safe with a Tall Starbucks Latte (150 mg). And while, yes, decaf still contains some caffeine, you’d have to drink 14-plus cups of it to get into the daily danger zone.
Raw fish? No go. But bring on the (cooked, low mercury) snow crab rolls and salmon teriyaki.
Leading health experts have given the green light to even peroxide bleaching because “only small amounts of hair dye may be absorbed by the skin, leaving little that would be able to reach the fetus.” So go on with your bronde self.
An occasional glass of wine
Let's be clear. The official word from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Pregnancy Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics is that no amount of wine during pregnancy is deemed safe and that consuming wine while pregnant should be avoided. However, anecdotally and according to some studies—many for which pregnant European women reported their drinking habits—evidence shows that having up to eight alcoholic beverages per week had zero impact on children's neurological or behavioral development (and they studied kids over the course of five years). In summary, writes Brown University professor Emily Oster, a foremost expert on the subject, having immersed herself in the data, "There are many studies—largely from Europe—which compare women who do not drink at all to those who drink lightly in pregnancy...Their results consistently fail to show negative impacts of pregnancy drinking at low levels." You know what pairs well with an informed decision? Half a glass of Pinot Noir.