Telling others that you are pregnant has its pros and cons. On the one hand, you are able to share your joy and excitement. On the other, you are essentially asking to be plagued with every opinion known to man or, truthfully, woman. Each person that you inform will have their own piece of advice that they can’t help but share with you. If you want to have a boy, eat sour vegetables. If you don’t want your baby to be covered in hair, avoid heart burn-inducing meals. There’s no end to the possible suggestions. Every facet of your pregnancy can be accompanied by a sage or not-so-sage tidbit of information. In the end, you will be so turned around that you’ll have lost all common sense. You will have no idea what you should be doing, what you shouldn’t be doing and what is essentially pregnancy folklore. So here are the answers, or at least explanations, to four of the more commonly discussed aspects of pregnancy:
• Exercise – some studies have suggested that exercising in the initial weeks of pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage. These findings are more than a little flawed, as the researchers failed to account for other factors and employed imperfect data-gathering methods. You should continue to work out so long as you feel comfortable. Moderate exercise will actually improve your cardiovascular system and maintain muscle tone. However, don’t overdo it. Suddenly taking up long-distance running or a contact sport, such as boxing, is not recommended.
• Fish – the word alone offsets an ocean of opinions. Until recently, everyone has advised having no more than 12 ounces of fish a week, to avoid mercury poisoning. But, the latest advice is somewhat different, suggesting at least 12 ounces a week. The new recommendation is fueled by a concern of omega-3 deficiency. Apparently, mercury warnings stimulated an all out fish ban. Pregnant women weren’t eating any, and that’s not what you want to do. There are huge benefits to fish consumption, but there are also dangers. Your primary concern, then, shouldn’t be how much salmon you eat but whether or not you’re getting an adequate amount of necessary nutrients. If not, change your diet or consider a fish oil supplement.
• Alcohol – British scientists have given the go ahead. After the first three months of pregnancy, feel free to have a small drink. There’s no conclusive evidence that alcohol in moderation will harm your baby. Oh, but there’s also none that it won’t. And, what exactly is a small drink? The lines around alcohol are too fuzzy to toy with. Your best bet is to steer clear. Once the baby is born, you can uncork the wine. Until then, stick with other beverages.
• Sex – well, I’m certainly not going to tell you to abstain. Having sex while pregnant won’t hurt. However, it also won’t help if your goal is inducing labor. A recent study found that women, who were nearing their due dates and had sex, weren’t any more likely to spontaneously go into labor than those who stayed out of the bedroom. So, have sex if you feel like it. Don’t if you don’t. It won’t matter either way. Of course, you might want to keep in mind that once the baby is born, your intimate opportunities are going to wane.
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