Pregnancy and lifestyle changes
When you become pregnant there are a few aspects of your lifestyle that may need to be changed, mainly to the food or drinks you may consume. We have compiled a list of lifestyle changes we would recommend making, to ensure you and your baby stay safe throughout this exciting journey. Many of our colleagues at LloydsPharmacy have experienced the journey of pregnancy themselves, so we know how important it is to have the right information for what is best for you and your baby.
Alcohol and cigarettes
We advise not drinking any alcohol throughout your pregnancy. This will give your baby a better chance of healthy brain growth and development.
We also advise that you stop smoking. Stopping can reduce the risk of many things including miscarriages, stillbirths, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, life-threatening placental abruption and your baby being born with abnormalities. Your local LloydsPharmacy team can help you through this journey.
Too much caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage, your baby being small or growing slowly. We would recommend lowering your daily intake to 200mg. For some context, a mug of tea contains 75mg, instant coffee 100mg, filtered coffee 140mg and a 50g bar of milk chocolate contains 25mg.
Herbal teas and supplements
We recommend that you avoid herbal teas and supplements for a few reasons. The first being that the effects of herbal remedies on pregnant woman and their babies is not known. There is also no way to determine how strong the teas or supplements are, and they may react with other medication you are taking. However, ginger tea is safe to drink during pregnancy, and we would recommend this if you are suffering from morning sickness.
There are some foods we recommend avoiding or being careful when eating, as they may make you sick or harm your baby. For example, through the potential presences of bacteria, such as listeria and salmonella.
- Unpasteurised dairy
Unpasteurised dairy, such as milk or cheese, can contain the bacteria listeria. These bacteria can enter placenta leading to infections or blood poisoning in the baby. Pasteurising the milk can kill bacteria, ensuring it’s safe to consumer. Unpasteurised cheeses can include soft cheeses, such as brie and camembert.
- Mould-ripened cheeses e.g blue cheese
- Foods made with raw or under-cooked eggs
Food, such as homemade mayonnaise, that are made with raw or under-cooked eggs as they may be exposed to salmonella.
- Raw or under-cooked meat
- Cold cured meats
Cured meats such as chorizo, pepperoni, salami and parma ham should be avoided.
- Certain fish
Fish such as shark, swordfish, and marlin can contain high levels of mercury. Uncooked fish and shellfish such as oysters, sushi, sashimi may also contain harmful bacteria. Tuna should be limited each week, to limit the exposure to mercury.
- Soft-serve ice cream
Although soft-serve ice cream is made from pasteurised milk, the danger comes from the machines the ice cream is served from. If the machines are not properly cleaned and maintained it could cause listeria to form.
There are certain treatments or medications you should avoid while pregnant. If you are unsure always contact your doctor or speak with a pharmacist in your local LloydsPharmacy before taking them.
- Certain vaccinations
There may be some vaccinations that are not recommended to pregnant woman. We would recommend speaking with your doctor before going ahead with one. There are however some vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine and whooping cough vaccine, that we recommend getting to help protect you and your baby.
- Contraceptive pills
- New or current medication
Speak with your doctor about any medication you are currently on and whether it’s safe to continue when pregnant. Take the same precaution with any new medication.
There are a range of beauty treatments, products and other non-medical treatments we would recommend avoiding.
- Beauty treatments and products
There are certain beauty treatments and products we recommend avoiding. They include products that contain retinol or salicylic acid, botox injections, tanning aids such as sunbeds, injections or pills, and saunas, jacuzzis and hot tubs. You should always advise your beauticians and spa therapists that you are pregnant so they can adjust the treatments if needed.
Since your skin is so sensitive during pregnancy, we recommend avoiding too much exposure where possible and wear a high SPF to protect your skin.
- Tattoos and piercings
The skin is extra sensitive during pregnancy, so we advise waiting until after your pregnancy is over to get any new tattoos or piercings. If you have your belly button pierced, we would recommend removing it before your second trimester to reduce the changes of scarring as a result of the skin stretching.
We recommend staying active throughout your pregnancy. Staying active can go a long way in helping with your postnatal recovery and keep you healthy throughout the pregnancy. Always remember to listen to your body and rest when needed. Always check with your doctor or instructor about whether certain exercises (especially strength training exercises) are ok during pregnancy. They may recommend different alternatives or lower weights.
We would also recommend pelvic floor exercises, which help strengthen the pelvic muscles which can be strained during pregnancy and childbirth. Strengthening the muscles will help with bladder and bowel control.
However, there are a few exercises which we recommend avoiding due to the risk of losing your balance, falling or becoming overheated. These include:
- Scuba diving
- Combat sports such as kickboxing
- Field sports
- Hot yoga
There are certain sleeping positions we recommend avoiding and some that are more beneficial for the baby. We advise avoiding sleeping on your back from 16 weeks. This is due to the weight of your uterus lying on your intestines and some major blood vessels, which could lead to issues such as lack of blood flow to you and your baby.
Sleeping on your left side is most beneficial for the baby as it allows for maximum blood flow and nutrients to the placenta. However, it is perfectly safe to lie on your right side too.