Self Care (In Pregnancy)

Person scooping from bowl of oatmeal with fruit

Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

You are important! Creating a safe environment has never been more essential.

Your body is going through so much and you need to take time to prioritize rest, your health, good nutrition and creating a support system.  We are here to help!

Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

  • Sleep! Your body is going through so many changes right now it is normal to feel tired.  Let yourself indulge in that afternoon nap. Give in to the desire to go to bed early!
  • Fresh fruit and veggies with lean meats are your friend!  Your body needs calories and good nutrition.  Try new recipes, increase your protein and be sure to eat a good range of fresh fruits and veggies as much and often as possible!
  • Water, water and more water!  Drink lots of water to keep you hydrated! Remember you are drinking for two of you now. Both bodies will thank you!
  • Avoid alcohol and stimulants: When you become pregnant, there is no amount of alcohol consumption that is considered safe. There is also no time during the pregnancy that it is considered safe to drink alcohol.(1) When you drink alcohol, it quickly absorbs into your bloodstream and passes through the placenta into the blood of your unborn baby. When a mother consumes excessive amounts of alcohol, her pre-born child is at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome. Babies who have this syndrome are shorter and lighter in weight than normal babies. They do not catch up later in life, even after special care is provided. They have small heads; abnormal features of the face, head, joints, and limbs; heart defects; and poor control of movement. They run a high risk of being developmentally disabled or having behavioral problems.(1)
  • Avoid the smoke & even secondhand smoke.  Did you know babies born to moms who smoke, or exposed to regular second hand smoke, are smaller because their blood flow is restricted. The restricted blood flow affects the nutrients and oxygen that flow to the baby through the placenta.(2) Because of the conclusive information from studies, doctors advise pregnant women not to smoke and to stay clear of secondhand smoke.
  • Just say NO to illegal drugs and check with your physician about prescription drugs, over-the-counter remedies, herbs, and vitamins.
  • More water, less coffee and soda. Put those caffeine and diet sodas on pause.  Did you know that soda, iced tea, chocolate, and coffee are common foods that contain caffeine? Doctors say that a little caffeine is not a problem, but more than two eight-ounce cups of coffee or five cans of soda a day increase the risk of miscarriage.(4) And as for aspartame, saccharin and other artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas have been found to be harmful to animals in studies, but small amounts have not been proven to be harmful to pregnant women. However, because many diet sodas contain caffeine and fill you up, they are best avoided.
  • Avoid cat litter.  Did you know that both cat feces and raw meat carry a parasite called toxoplasma gondii? These parasites cause a flu-like illness called toxoplasmosis. When contracted by a pregnant woman, toxoplasmosis can result in severe brain or liver damage for her pre-born baby. Another effect may be damage to the retina of the baby’s eye, resulting in visual impairment or blindness. If you have a cat, get someone else to clean the litter box. If you have an outdoor cat, wear gloves when you garden or do yardwork. Avoid any contact whatsoever with cat feces.
  • Well done versus rare or undercooked.  I get it, we all love our steak less than burned, but eating raw or undercooked meat is one of the most common ways that you can contract toxoplasmosis.(5) If you eat meat, wash off all surfaces and utensils that touched the raw meat, and don’t prepare meat and raw foods like salads on the same cutting board. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.
  • If it is fishy…then skip it! Raw fish, and even some cooked fish, have the potential of carrying bacterial infection, hepatitis, and/or parasites that you can pass on to your baby through your bloodstream. And some cooked fish should be avoided because of the high mercury content: swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish. As with everything, if you are unsure if a fish is safe check with your medical provider.
  • X-Ray? Not today. Try to avoid radiation. Although we are surrounded by radiation everywhere from sunshine, airplane travel, X-rays, cell phones, etc., rest assured it takes quite a lot of exposure before it becomes harmful. Avoid high doses of radiation to the pelvis area or continual small doses. If you see your dentist, be sure to tell him or her that you are pregnant. The dental assistant will put a lead apron over your midsection, which blocks the radiation from penetrating during any potential x-ray.
  • Staying strong, healthy and fit in pregnancy matters, but listen to your body! You may be a gym rat but check with your doctor about what is too much and what is just enough. Taking care of your body so you are healthy and strong for delivery and life as a mom is important, just be careful not to overdo it. Your body is changing. If you didn’t have a gym routine before you got pregnant, this likely isn’t the time to start. During pregnancy, your body emits a hormone that relaxes your muscles and connective tissues. You might consider avoiding deep knee bends, full sit-ups, double leg raises, and straight-leg toe touches. These exercises may injure the tissue that connects your leg and back joints. Also avoid any activity that may cause you to slip and fall. Pregnant women have looser ligaments, and as you grow larger, your center of gravity changes, so let someone else do the lifting, if possible. If you have to lift something, bend and lift with your legs, not your back.
  • A relaxing warm bath is excellent for that much needed self-care! However a hot bath or a hot tub is a no-no. The hot water causes perspiration, and this causes blood to go to the surface of your skin rather than to the uterus. This could be dangerous to your baby. So, skip the hot tub for a few months.
  • Time to clean with vinegar and all the organic options you can find! It is common knowledge that household cleaners (especially those that produce fumes) only where there is good ventilation. This is a great time to adjust your cleaning to use nontoxic cleaning products like white vinegar, baking soda, borax, and treated dusting cloths. You might be surprised at how much money it saves you too!
  • Cancel the chemicals and avoid using aerosol containers whenever possible. Don’t use paint removers or solvents while you are pregnant. Latex or water-based paints are safer than oil-based paints. Stay away from any chemicals that kill weeds and bugs.
  • Leave lead alone! This doesn’t mean your pencil or that you don’t have to do a little writing once in a while.  This is the type of lead that may be found in older homes, where the water pipes may be made of lead or that the paint on the walls has lead in it. If the pipes are made of lead, drink bottled water if at all possible! Avoid peeling paint. Colored glossy newspaper inserts and magazines, or metallic gift-wrap inks may also have high lead content. Handle these items as infrequently as possible. Don’t use foreign-made pottery for food or drinks and don’t drink from lead crystal glasses. Lead is extremely toxic to your unborn baby.
  • Spend time with friends and family. Having a good support system will be helpful for now and the days to come. You may not be used to letting people help you, but this is a great time to let people in. We are here to help too!


1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Basics about Fasds.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 21 May 2021, accessed 3-15-2018.

2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Tobacco Use and Pregnancy: CDC Activities.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29 Sept. 2017, accessed 13-15-2018.

3. Savage, Sam. “Drugs Taken during Pregnancy Could Be Harmful to Baby.” Redorbit, 29 Nov. 2009, accessed 3-15-2018.

4. Weng, Xiaoping, et al. “Maternal Caffeine Consumption during Pregnancy and the Risk of Miscarriage: A Prospective Cohort Study.” American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mosby, 25 Jan. 2008, www.scienced