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15 Surprising Things Pregnant Moms Don't Actually Have To Give Up (And 5 That Are A Must)

"Once a woman discovers that she is successfully pregnant, she will have to make some significant changes to her lifestyle."

Excitement is a natural emotion to feel for an expectant mother. Getting pregnant can be a tricky thing or an unexpected miracle. However, getting adjusted to physical changes, upgrading the wardrobe to maternity wear, and keeping up with prenatal appointments and daily vitamins is not a mom’s only task.

Once a woman discovers that she is successfully pregnant, she will have to make some significant changes to her lifestyle. After all, she is growing a new tiny human.

Motherhood and pregnancy are major life-altering events. And many an expecting mother knows that there is a laundry list of things that are definitely going to be on the not-to-do list when there’s a bun in the oven.

If anything, may this article have a twofold effect of informing mothers-to-be about the things that can still actually do while pregnant, despite old wives’ tales and hearsay.

Plus, may this be a warning for women who have yet to become pregnant, about all the things that they might have to cease once they become a mom.

It’s all worth it in the end. And as an added bonus, it’s fun for moms to feel like they're getting away with something while pregnant, such as nibbling a confection with a cup of coffee, or traveling on holiday, dying her hair, and having a regimen to feel beautiful, confident and strong.

20 Drinking Coffee

Coffee is not just a drink. Coffee is one of those beverages that is often a must-have necessity for a working woman to keep her sanity. So many times pregnant women have recoiled at the thought of having to ditch drinking coffee, and mollify themselves with water or juice instead.

Trust me, there is no substitute that quite mimics the wonders and awesomeness of a good cup of coffee. And even better for expecting mamas, they can still have their regular fix of coffee in the morning or afternoon without being penalized.

Of course, if a mom wants to drink coffee, she’ll want to limit herself to drinking no more than two 8-ounce cups of the stuff. Too much exposure to caffeine in the womb is certainly not good for an unborn baby.

Plus, too much caffeine can throw off the internal clock of a mother. And excessive caffeine consumption via coffee can contribute to obesity or excess growth in a child, according to CNN.

Mothers who enjoy a spoonful or two of sugar in their coffee should consider using pregnancy-safe alternatives, and keep sugar consumption low as well. Too much sugar can have a long-lasting impact on both a mother and her unborn baby’s health.

A modest cup of coffee or two can mean the difference between powering through a day, relaxing a bit, or feeling even more sluggish during pregnancy.

19 Exercise And Moving Around

Maybe in ancient times mothers were given the medical suggestion not to do too much, and just stay put in a bed or chair for long periods. Nothing could be more unhealthy for a mother with a bun in the oven.

Getting enough regular exercise is essential to maintain good health, improve cardiovascular health, keep muscles limber, and boost the immune system. If there was any time to get started on a regular workout schedule, it’s during pregnancy.

Pregnant women have the option of joining group exercise classes made just for pregnant women, in case they don’t feel comfortable working out with people who aren’t sporting a baby bump. Regular low-impact exercise such as yoga, walking and stretching while holding light hand weights is beneficial for expecting mothers. Exercise gets the blood pumping, helps reduce stress levels, improves oxygenation, and keeps a mother’s body more supple and flexible.

Being sedentary is not the healthiest thing for a pregnant lady, and can actually encourage overeating, stress, and low-self esteem about unavoidable physical changes.

Getting enough exercise helps prevent gestational diabetes, increases energy levels, and can help alleviate troublesome swelling, cramping, or bouts of constipation. And for one more bonus to pregnant women, according to Fit Pregnancy, exercising helps keep an expecting mama’s body within a healthy weight gain range.

18 Traveling On Vacation

Some may advise expectant mothers to not go on a vacation when pregnant. However, as long as a mom is not very close to the due date, traveling can still be possible.

Of course, a mother-to-be might have to make some adjustments to their itinerary, but a baby bump shouldn’t stop a pregnant woman from enjoying traveling to a fun or relaxing destination.

One thing that a mom-to-be is going to have to have mapped out, is the location of bathrooms everywhere. As that little bundle of joy hiding out in the womb continues to grow and develop, they increasingly put more pressure on mom’s bladder.

It’s no fun waiting in line to board a train or plane, and suddenly needing to go right that instant. Also, pregnancy takes up a lot of energy, often leaving a mother feeling famished or extremely exhausted. Mom should make sure to have travel-friendly snacks available in her purse or travel bag, and in a clear bag in case of security has an issue.

When traveling, mothers are going to have to adjust their wardrobe and footwear. Before the baby bump arrived, there might have been no problem wearing certain outfits and shoes. However, once a woman becomes pregnant, she’ll want to travel in clothing that is not form-fitting and is comfortable worn for long periods in case of a layover. Footwear should be sensible, and without an extreme heel in case of slips, falls, or having to sprint to a terminal.

17 Taking A Bath

The thought of taking a bath when pregnant can either be heavenly, or a scary pursuit. After all, those bathtubs can become slippery very easily if the wrong bath product is used.

Some mothers may worry that somehow their bathwater is going to invade their womb and bother the baby. Other mothers may want to avoid bathing in the tub because they fear they will overheat the baby. Despite any rumors or fears, a pregnant woman can safely take a bath in the tub. An expecting mother will want to change up her bathtime routine a bit, just to be on the safe side. Moms should choose bath products that will not leave the tub ridiculously slippery and difficult to exit when finished.

Bathwater temperatures should be reasonable and under the 100-degree mark. And it may be helpful if mom chooses to use a chair in the tub, so she can bathe while sitting down.

An expecting mother could also install some safety bars in case of emergency, and to safely enter and exit the bathtub without aid. Baths are actually very helpful for a mom when pregnant, as the water can help tame rampant cramps, soothe away backaches, and get mom in a more relaxed mood. Pregnancy can be tough on the mind and body, so treating oneself to a nice warm bath can be a welcome treat.

16 Changing Up Hair Color

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It can be hard enough to imagine looking frumpy after having a kid, as a result of all the time and energy that a mom spends on her baby and home. However, pregnancy is no time for a mom to resign herself to looking like a plane Jane, or playing it safe with her style.

Pregnancy can and should be a time to celebrate, stay vibrant, and do things that make a mom feel and look beautiful. One simple measure that a mom may want to do when pregnant, is to change up their hair color now and then.

Some moms might freak out at the idea of coloring their hair with dye or risking a couple of highlights. However, depending on how the type of hair product used, there are cosmetics that are perfectly safe to use during pregnancy.

So guess what mamas-to-be? You can indeed dye your hair, provided that there are not ingredients contained within that could pose a risk to the baby’s health, or yours. Expecting mothers may want to choose hair dyes that use a vegetable base, and it is best to wait until after the first trimester has passed to change up the hair color.

15 Running A Marathon

Running a marathon is an amazing feat in itself. Running a marathon while pregnant might seem like a completely off-the-wall insane idea. However, women are pretty amazing, and have successfully managed to not only run marathons, but snag medals to boot! When it comes to pregnant women participating in sports activities that can be on the strenuous side or more extreme, it is understandable to approach it with caution, or completely avoid it.

Women who frequently run for long distances on a regular basis may actually have an advantage over women who don’t. So, committing to running before getting pregnant, conditions a runner for when she does become pregnant.

Don’t believe me? Not only have runners like Amy Keil run marathons while 7-and-a-half months pregnant, but female athletes have also run in Olympic games. According to People magazine, Alysia Montano managed to compete as an Olympic runner while 5 months pregnant.

Running while pregnant may mean that a woman has to take things a bit slower, than if she wasn’t pregnant. But, many medical professionals do encourage women to still run if they wish, because of the benefits of exercise, improved mood, and keeping a healthy amount of weight gain during and after pregnancy.

14 Eating Dairy Products

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Dairy can be a tricky thing for pregnant women. Although cheese and milk are delicious, when it comes to dairy, mothers with a bun in the oven should be cautious.

Dairy products need to be kept at the proper level of refrigeration or prepared so that they do not support the growth of harmful bacteria. Being pregnant can cause the gut to become more sensitive, and heighten the palate and cause knee-jerk reactions to once beloved foods.

Moms want to steer clear of chowing down on any dairy products that have not been pasteurized, just to be on the safe side. Pregnant mothers who tempt fate when eating dairy might not only end up dealing with a case of really bad gas, cramps, and vomiting.

Listeria and other contaminants can not only make an expecting mother very ill, but it can also pose a risk to an unborn child. Pregnant mothers want to avoid consuming raw milk, raw cheeses, and anything that may not be at the right temperature for food safety concerns.

According to Baby Med, listeria can cause a pregnant woman to have a miscarriage or deliver a premature baby. Enjoying epicurean delights that are on the risky side will have to wait, but dairy products that are safe to enjoy are definitely on an expecting mama’s menu.

13 Getting Close With Her Partner

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Pregnancy can be a crazy ride full of fluctuating emotions. If it wasn’t enough dealing with all the responsibilty of caring for a developing human being, juggling work, and getting comfortable with the uncontrollable physical changes caused by pregnancy, intimacy can be a tricky thing.

It is understandable that some ladies don’t want to get too close to their romantic partners when pregnant. They may fear that the baby will be endangered, the baby bump will get squished, or they just don’t feel up to it.

However, pregnancy should not be a reason to eschew getting close with a significant other. In fact, the same love hormone that moms feel when they deliver their babies or nurse is the same hormone that gets released when hugging or kissing someone.

The comfort level of a pregnant woman should be valued and understood. Hormones, stress, and living up to societal, familial, and personal ideas about the pregnancy’s progress can be taxing on an expectant mother. If she doesn't feel up to it, she of course shouldn't push herself. But if misconceptions about safety are what's holding her back from feeling close to her partner, she should know that there really isn't much to worry about.

12 Getting A Massage

If a pregnant mom is thinking about a massage, and that she will have to wait to have one until after the baby is delivered, she couldn’t be more wrong. There is such a thing as prenatal massage, and it is awesome. Seriously.

Pregnant ladies definitely have some unique needs when they are living for two people in one body. Not only do pregnant mamas suffer from cramps, backaches, swollen feet and ankles, but carrying a hefty baby bump can make achieving proper posture awkward and painful. When it all becomes a little bit too much for some moms, it’s time to get a prenatal massage.

An expectant mother should expect to be warmly treated by a caring and experienced prenatal massage therapist. When getting massaged, a pregnant mother will be encouraged to place herself in a position that is both comfortable and safe.

Massages can be safely carried out after the first trimester, so as to not contribute to increased risk of miscarriage. According to Very Well Family, prenatal massage can help improve the flow of blood, improve sleep, and reduce negative emotions. Massage is also helpful for preventing blood clots in the legs, and it just feels divine. Baby bump or not, pregnant mamas should get massages!

11 Wearing Fashionable Clothes: Maternity Wear Is Chic And Comfy Now

The idea that maternity clothing has to be drab, or feel like one is wearing an oversized burlap sack passed off as clothing is an outdated idea. Today, fashion designers recognize the needs and fashionable sensibilities of chic pregnant women.

Thankfully, maternity fashion has come a long way. Not only can mamas find clothing that accentuates widening hips and a burgeoning baby bump, but also find clothing that is on-trend, comfortable, and affordable.

Some maternity wear is so attractive, you might not even care if you are pregnant or not to try it on for size.

There are maternity clothing options that are made for after the baby’s delivery or are designed to be helpful for mothers who choose to breastfeed. Mothers who are concerned with draping themselves in natural and breathable fabrics have many plant-based textiles at their disposal these days. Gone are the days where a pregnant woman has limited options for maternity clothing.

Today’s mother gets to enjoy look effortlessly stylish without having to break the bank. A mom is going to want to not only spend money spoiling herself now and then but also wants to put money toward her future bundle of joy soon to be delivered.

10 Using Essential Oils: Some Are Safe When Pregnant

Essential oils have been treasured in natural medicine for centuries. Certain essential oils have arometherpeutic benefits that can help uplift mood, dispel nausea, or improve breathing by removing congestion. However, not all essential oils are pregnancy friendly, even if they are made using natural plant materials.

Here’s the rub. Pregnancy makes a woman’s skin a lot more sensitive than when she wasn’t pregnant. And not only do expecting mothers have sensitive skin, but they readily absorb whatever hits their skin into the bloodstream, and can pass it on to the baby.

There are certain plants that should not be in contact with a pregnant woman, because of the risk of inducing a miscarriage. One thing mom is going to want to remember is to avoid using essential oils if she is unsure of their effect, until after the first trimester has passed.

According to The Bump, essential oils that include fennel, clary sage, cinnamon, mugwort, camphor, hyssop, wormwood, and pennyroyal might encourage uterine contractions, or cause an unwanted miscarriage.

Essential oils like lavender, ginger, chamomile, and peppermint may be safe during pregnancy. If a mom is pregnant, she will want to consult her physician and an expert in the use of essential oils before using, just to be safe rather than sorry.

9 Cleaning Around The House

Pregnancy is not an excuse to avoid cleaning around the house, but it is a good reason to avoid using certain cleaners, or choosing to get a maid service when possible.

When an expecting mother wants to do any dusting, or wipe down counters in the kitchen and bathroom, she uses pregnancy-safe cleaners and has proper ventilation.

Bleach and ammonia are not particularly harmful to a pregnant woman or her unborn child, but it can trigger some serious nausea. So these products are better left used by someone else to clean, or mom should make sure the ventilation in the room is good.

According to Parens, pregnant women should hire a professional to spray the house for any unwanted pests like insects or rodents. And after a house gets treated with pesticides, she should stay away for a few hours.

Using natural products to get housework done is helpful for pregnant women, such as using materials like vinegar, baking soda, or a lemon to clean surface areas. Mothers with a child in the womb should carefully look over the labels of cleaning products before using. Certain ingredients can be toxic for a pregnant woman and may cause harm to an unborn baby. Aerosol sprays should be avoided because they can linger in the body once inhaled.

8 Wearing Makeup

Wearing makeup does not have to be off-limits when pregnancy. Although, a pregnant mother may want to change up her go-to choice of makeup, especially if it contains ingredients that can be risky for her baby’s health.

Pregnant women may be ready to reach out for some makeup, because of outbreaks, skin discoloration, and other blemishes that they may experience because of hormones.

Pregnancy makes women’s skin super sensitive, and because of a lowered immune system, they are more at risk for infections, tumors, or other skin problems.

The thing that can make makeup so risky when pregnant, is due to ingredients like hydroquinone, phthalates, or other agents which can harm a developing baby. Women who love wearing makeup should look for cosmetics that do not contain retinoids, vitamin K, or other components that have proven hazardous to an unborn baby in the womb. A pregnant woman readily absorbs compounds into her bloodstream more easily, which then pass on to the baby.

Using nail polish, getting artificial nails, and permanents for the hair will have to wait until after delivering the baby. Expecting mothers should definitely be cautious with whatever beauty products they use during the first trimester because they are most vulnerable to having a miscarriage at that time.

7 Going Out In The Sun

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Spending a day at the beach can be a lot of fun, and a great place to show off a healthy and happy baby bump. However, some women may be thinking that they cannot enjoy some fun in the sun, because of risks to their unborn child.

The risk of accidentally overheating a child in the womb is a real concern. Overexposure to UV rays is not a mother-to-be’s only worry when out at the beach. According to Live Strong, a study in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology uncovered that UV ray exposure degrades folic acid.

Folic acid is one of those essential things that a pregnant woman wants to consume in enough quantities.

A pregnant woman who does not consume enough folic acid may contribute to their child developing birth defects like spina bifida. During the first trimester, it is especially important that a pregnant woman has enough folic acid intake. Folic acid can be consumed via dark green vegetables such as broccoli, greens, and eating lentils.

Exposure to sunlight can also darken any hyperpigmentation experienced during pregnancy, and make it more prominent to the eye. When going out in the sun, mom is going to want to wear clothing that is protective, utilize sun hats, umbrellas, and apply SPF protection as needed.

6 Taking Prescribed Medication (Sometimes)

Pregnancy is no time to play around with one’s health, as both mother and baby need to stay well. When it comes to prescription medication, women should consult their physician if they have concerns about any unwanted and potentially harmful impact on their unborn child.

The first trimester is to most sensitive for a developing baby, and anything that a baby is exposed to while in the womb can have a lot of influence on how they turn out. However, being pregnant doesn’t mean a woman can just ditch taking medication that maintains her health and wellness.

Some medications have been deemed safe for women to take during pregnancy. However, if any medications that are required to maintain a pregnant woman have hazardous side-effects for an unborn baby, there is the possibility of switching medication or finding a safe alternative.

Certain health conditions like living with diabetes or an immune disorder require taking daily medication.

Pregnant women should stay aware about how they feel when on their medication while pregnant, consult their physician if they feel they need to make any changes, and stay aware of their baby’s movements while in the womb. The risk of miscarriage for various reasons during the first trimester is a real and present threat. It is understandable that a pregnant woman would have concerns about her medication’s potential risks for her child’s health.

5 Must Give Up: Spry-On-Tans, Cosmetics, Lotions With Certain Chemicals

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Looking beautiful and radiant is important to many pregnant women. Maybe having a natural glow from carrying a child just isn’t enough. But if mom wants to use spray on tans, lotions, or other cosmetics on her skin, she might be getting more than she bargained for. Some cosmetics contain ingredients that can harm an unborn child.

Pregnant mothers need to avoid skin care products that contain ingredients like DHA, or dihydroxyacetone. There is a risk that an expecting mother can develop an allergic reaction to specific ingredients in fake tans and other cosmetic materials, because of changes in hormone levels and sensitive skin.

Other compounds that mothers want to avoid while pregnant include, but are not limited to tetracycline, retinoids, formaldehyde, toluene, and ammonia. The sensitive skin of a pregnant woman is highly vulnerable and can readily absorb and pass on harmful compounds to their child, risking birth defects, low birth weight, and other health problems. When in doubt, a pregnant mother should throw out risky cosmetics, lotions, and avoid fake spray tans. Choosing to switch to using pregnancy-safe cosmetics, or using natural ingredients to make DIY beauty products is a safer bet for both mom and baby. The price of beauty should not risk defects for an unborn child, or allergic reactions in a mom.

4 Must Give Up: Eating Risky Animal Products Like Sushi Or Steak Tartare

No matter how adventurous a mom may be, when pregnant, it might not be the most responsible or safe decision to consume risky foods. I’m talking about eating foods like steak tartare, sushi, or other delicacies which risk mom contracting parasites, foodborne illness, and making their unborn baby sick in the process.

Sometimes a bad tummy ache and relentless cramps are not the only end result of eating risky foods. Sometimes, making the choice to eat certain dishes might send mom to the hospital, resulting in persistent vomiting that causes dangerous dehydration, or even result in a contracted infection or disease.

Eating foods like shellfish, poultry, eggs, and beef undercooked or raw risks exposure to contaminants and bacteria. Moms can develop health problems because of salmonella, coliform bacteria, E. coli, and more.

Some infectious materials and parasites found in food can even induce a miscarriage if a mother is not more cautious about what she puts on her plate.

Pregnant mothers need to avoid eating foods that are not safely and cleanly prepared and make sure that utensils and hands are washed thoroughly when making dishes. It doesn’t take much for an infection, parasite, or illness to pose a risk to mom and baby’s health. When in doubt, mom should just pass on taking a bite.

3 Must Give Up: High Heel Shoes And Stilettos

High heels may look chic and glamorous on the runway at fashion shows, but when pregnant, the responsible thing to do is put such shoes away until after the baby. Honestly, since most pregnant women experience some amount of swelling in the legs and feet, it doesn’t look or feel as lovely when sporting a pair of 3-inch heels or higher.

Not only is swelling a good reason to shelve the high heel shoes for a while, but a mom’s center of gravity is a good reason to don a pair of flats.

As the baby bump grows, it forces a mother forward when she walks, creating an awkward gait. Thanks to hormones created during pregnancy, which cause a woman to have more relaxed joints and muscles, she is more likely to slip and fall when walking. Both high heels and a baby bump can contribute to walking unsteadily.

Wearing high heels is simply no good when pregnant. These shoes put an exceeding amount of pressure on the back, pelvic region, joints, and do not offer the right type of support that a pregnant woman needs. Some women dare to throw caution to the wind and do manage to pull off wearing high heels without a problem during pregnancy. However, it is most likely done for a short amount of time to mitigate risks.

2 Must Give Up: Recreational Partying

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Youth may lead many ladies to dabble with recreational partying or drinking. However, once a woman discovers that she is pregnant, she needs to halt such activities right away. Having a moment of recklessness is not worth it, and babies are innocent and rely on their mother to nurture and protect them.

It’s a no-brainer that smoking is harmful to a developing baby in the womb, just as consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Smoking can contribute to premature birth, low birth weight, and even lead to a baby developing a hole in their heart at birth.

Alcohol consumption can cause a baby to be born addicted to alcohol, especially when a mother has an addiction. Alcohol also contributes to low birth weight, premature birth, and also contributes to developmental delays. Some pregnant women do choose to imbibe a glass of wine now and then when pregnant, and without any noticeable issues. However, there is non-alcoholic wine available on the market for pregnant women to drink. And being a teetotaler during pregnancy isn’t necessarily so terrible.

When it comes to using for recreation or not, addiction is a serious issue. Babies who are exposed to addictive substances and other illicit substances can suffer from withdrawal symptoms at birth. Drug use during pregnancy can lead to a host of birth defects, developmental delays, and difficulties with emotions, stress, and social skills later in life.

1 Must Give Up: Cleaning The Kitty Litter Box

Cats can be wonderful furry companions. After all, the ancient Egyptians thought felines were simply divine. And the relationship between cats and the humans who love and adore them continue to this day.

However, pregnancy will throw a wrench into a cat owner’s routine. If an expectant mother needed a good excuse to get out of cleaning the litterbox, she definitely has one. It’s called being pregnant. Cleaning up around the house isn’t necessarily a big deal for a pregnant woman, provided she limits exposure to toxic and harmful compounds that could injure her baby.

When it comes to cat leavings, however, there’s a disease called toxoplasmosis which can trigger birth defects.

So, if anyone dares to ask a pregnant woman to clean the kitty litter box, she better outright refuse to do so. Even if she chooses to don gloves, eye goggles, and a mask, the risk of inhaling airborne contaminants in a litter box while cleaning is real. Babies who were exposed to Toxoplasma when in the womb, have been born with significant eye or brain damage. Cats will not outright seek to harm a little one, when in the womb or out, but unfortunately, their waste can cause some heavy duty damage for pregnant women and their child.

Sources: The Bump, Romper, Vogue, Fit Pregnancy, Mom Junction, Baby Med, Web MD, Parents, Runner's World, CNN, People, The Daily Beast, VeryWell Family, Live Strong, WebMD, Mom Junction, Parents

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