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Do's & Don'ts: Early Pregnancy

Just found out you're pregnant? Congrats mummy! As any new mum, your mind must be going at 100 miles per hour trying to figure this whole new mum thing out. This is completely normal. Let's help you slow down your pace a bit by giving you the cheat sheet list of do's and don'ts that are crucial for keeping you & your little new fetus safe.

Early Pregnancy (First Trimester) Do's:

Folic Acid Intake

This should ideally be taken as soon as you plan on having a baby. Folic acid is taken to prevent any birth defects. Such as neural tube defects (the development of your baby's spine and brain, part of the embryo), defects of the spinal cord (such as spina bifida) and the brain (such as anencephaly). These are all serious defects that you want to avoid.

Monitor Your Weight

Please, don't eat for two! During your first trimester, you only need about 100 extra calories a day. Make sure these calories consist of nutritious foods. Make sure to maintain a balanced meal plan including servings of fruits, vegetables, whole grains & protein. Your goal is to provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs and with the right balance of carbohydrate, fat, and protein without too many calories.

Seat Belt

Always, always fasten your seat belt. Whether you're seated in the front, passenger or back seat you need to keep your seat belt fastened. This will help keep your body upright with any sudden movements your car makes, minimizing your body movement. Keeping you, and your baby safe.

Move, Move, Move

If you have an desk job, or are sitting watching tv for a long period of time you need to get up & stretch every 10 minutes. Take a walk around the office or your living room. This will help your blood flow & minimize risk of blood clotting.


Get plenty of sleep day or night. Your body needs as much rest as it can get. Thanks to progesterone, while it helps regulate a woman's reproductive cycle, it also makes you drowsy and sleepy throughout the day. You might get irritable at nighttime, so taking daytime naps will definitely be worth it.

Low-Impact Exercise

You can still exercise in early pregnancy. However, only low impact exercises are recommended. A maximum of 30 minutes exercise a day only is recommended by doctors.

Early Pregnancy (First Trimester) Don'ts:

Smoking & Alcohol

Smoking or consuming alcohol puts your baby at risk of various birth defects, including cleft lip, cleft palate, and clubfoot. Some researches have also said it puts your baby at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

High Impact Exercise

High impact exercise can put you at risk of having a miscarriage. These exercises if overdone can potentially decrease blood flow to the uterus.

Raw & Deli Meat

Raw & deli meats should not be eaten as they come with the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. These include sushi, raw shell fish such as Oysters, hot dogs, uncooked seafood, rare or undercooked beef & poultry. Deli meats have been known to be contaminated with listeria, which can cause miscarriage.

Smoked Fish

All smoked seafood, such as smoked salmon and jerky also include listeria, which can cause miscarriage.

Fish with Mercury

Consuming fish with mercury has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. These include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Canned, chunk light tuna has a lower amount of mercury than other tuna, but still should only be eaten in moderation.


Your doctor will advise you not to have intercourse within the first 3 months of pregnancy. However, this is a precautionary instruction to avoid any mishaps; as intercourse does not in any way arm your baby. It is an advice some doctors give just to be on the safe side.

Long Car Rides & Road Trips

Car rides and road trips (3hrs+) are to be avoided during the first trimester. This is also a precautionary step, with no direct link to serious risk to you & your baby. If you have to take a long trip, make sure you take plenty of breaks to stretch your legs. This is to promote healthy blood flow & avoid blood clots.

Bumpy Roads

Don't go on a bumpy road. Pressure from the bumps on your uterus is unhealthy for you and your baby.

Raw, Unpasteurized Dairy

Raw, unpasteurized milk & soft cheeses such as brie & blue veined cheeses, camembert, roquefort, feta and gorgonzola are harmful to your baby. They may contain listeria, resulting in a miscarriage.

Hot Tub and Sauna

Sitting in a hot tub or sauna can raise your body temperature to a level that can be dangerous, hindering the development of your baby.


As caffeine is able to cross the placenta into the amniotic fluid and your baby's bloodstream, it is put on my don'ts list.

Dye Your Hair

Although very little is absorbed, small amounts of hair dye may be absorbed by the skin on your scalp, said to be able to reach your fetus. Even in the smallest of amounts, its better to be safe than sorry.

Hair Removal Laser Treatment

Despite the lack of information about the effect of electrolysis on the body during pregnancy, doctors & health care providers advise avoiding the treatment. Especially on breasts if planning to breastfeed your baby.

Metal Detectors

Even though many researches have proved no risk to you or your unborn baby while walking through a metal detector, if you don't feel safe inform security that you are pregnant, and they'll happily let you pass around them. This also applies to airports.

Energy drinks

There are many negative nutritional consequences associated with most energy drinks; most energy drinks come with a warning that pregnant women shouldn’t drink them. Energy drinks also contain too much sodium which may lead to fluid retention, hypertension, and electrolyte irregularities. Besides caffeine, these drinks also contain an ingredient called taurine which may cause tachycardia and heart palpations. Some taurine used in these drinks is artificial and may lead to seizures and other organ disturbances.


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