Congratulations! You’ve just discovered you’re pregnant and amidst all the excitement and happiness, you’re also probably wondering about all the pregnancy lifestyle changes you need to make now.
While you do need to be careful about your caffeine, alcohol and calorie intake, most of your pregnancy will not require any special “treatment”. You’re stepping into a natural process and if your pregnancy is progressing normally, life will carry on as usual.
Read through our list of Frequently Asked Questions below to find answers to your concerns. If you still have any questions afterwards, leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you right away!
Pregnancy Lifestyle Changes – Frequently Asked Questions
Traveling During Pregnancy
Q. Is it safe to travel?
A. Travel is generally safe in pregnancy; typically, the best time to travel is between 14-28 weeks. If you travel during your first trimester, make sure you have a plan for dealing with morning sickness, acidity and fatigue. Your doctor may even recommend that you carry some medicines as a precaution.
Q. What is the safest time to travel during pregnancy?
A. The safest time to travel is during your second trimester, though you can travel throughout your pregnancy with a few precautions. Most women find that their first trimester issues – like nausea and heartburn – settle in the first three months, so travel becomes easier afterwards.
Q. Can I travel by road?
A. Yes, you can. Keep your seat belt on and make sure it does not sit on your baby bump. Take frequent breaks during long-distance travel to avoid leg cramps, backache and motion sickness.
We encourage moms to choose an alternative form of travel (train or air) for long trips whenever possible.
Q. So I can travel by air or train?
A. Yes, because these are usually the safest travel options.
Q. Until what week of my pregnancy can I fly?
A. Most airlines allow pregnant women to travel until their 34th week. You will also need a Fit to Fly certificate from your doctor once your pregnancy starts showing.
Work During Pregnancy
Q. Until when can I continue going to office?
A. As long as you’re comfortable working; many women continue working right until they go into labour.
Q. Do I really need to go on leave before my due date?
A. Towards the end of your pregnancy, you should prioritise your needs for rest, exercise, nutrition and meditation over work. If you feel you work life does not conflict with your needs, you are welcome to keep working until the day you go into labour.
Sex During Pregnancy
Q. Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
A. Yes, having sex is safe during pregnancy. Your developing baby is protected by amniotic fluid and the thick muscles of your uterus. However, it’s normal for the woman’s sex drive to change during pregnancy.
Q. Will having sex induce my labour?
A. No, having sex does not induce labour at any point of your pregnancy. But orgasms might give rise to painless (Braxton Hicks) uterine contractions which do not signal labour pain.
Q. Until when am I permitted to have sex?
A. Unless your doctor advises otherwise, there are no restrictions if you and your partner are comfortable with it.
Q. Will sex during pregnancy harm my baby?
A. If your pregnancy is proceeding normally, there is no harm to you or to your baby if you have sex. Your baby is protected by the amniotic sac and the thick muscles of your uterus. Also, miscarriages usually occur because the baby isn’t developing normally.
Q. What should I eat?
A. You should eat a healthy and nutritious diet which includes dairy, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, fruits, pulses and lean meats and fish. Have small frequent meals throughout the day and keep yourself well-hydrated.
Q. What food do I need to avoid?
A. Stay away from street food, foods high in fats (like ghee and oil) and raw salads at restaurants; you also need to avoid foods with ajinomoto, a high-sodium ingredient usually present in Chinese food.
Q. What fish can I eat?
A. Keep eating the fish you’ve been comfortable eating before you were pregnant.
Q. Do I need an extra protein supplement?
A. Most likely not. An extra intake of dietary protein is recommended during pregnancy through your diet which should be enough for you; protein supplements are prescribed by your doctor if really necessary.
Most women will not need protein powder unless prescribed by their doctors. However, if you’re a vegetarian, make a conscious effort to increase your protein intake by adding an extra serving of dals, milk or milk products or soy with each meal.
Q. Am I permitted to eat non-veg food?
A. Yes you are. Please make sure you eat lean meat (with the extra fat trimmed) and fish that is cooked properly.
Q. Do I need to have ghee with milk for smoother labour?
A. We see many women who have milk with ghee towards the end of their pregnancy; but, there’s no medical evidence that this practice gives them any advantage during labour. On the contrary, having too much ghee can lead to abdominal discomfort and nausea.
Q. How frequently am I permitted to eat out?
A. We encourage you to eat home-cooked food made with organic ingredients as far as possible (to avoid possible harm from pesticides). In case you do end up eating out, try and eat in high-turnover restaurants where the food is cooked fresh frequently.
Exercise During Pregnancy
Q. When can I start exercising in pregnancy?
A. If you’ve had an exercise routine before getting pregnant, you can continue with it. We recommend that women who have been physically inactive start a light exercise routine that includes walking, yoga, or swimming.
Q. Can I work out on a treadmill or a cross-trainer?
A. You can continue using your treadmill or cross-trainer but with extra caution in later pregnancy.
Q. Can I climb stairs?
A. Of course you can; using the stairs is a good way to exercise. We recommend that women use the stairs right until they go into labour. Make sure you wear the right footwear to avoid slipping.
Q. Can I drive when I’m pregnant?
A. Driving is safe during pregnancy. However, by the third trimester, many women find that their baby bump pushes against the steering wheel and their reflexes slow down; this is the time you should consider getting a driver or using a taxi.
Q. Can I take over-the-counter medications if I’m suffering from cold/cough/fever?
A. Yes, you can but only in consultation with your doctor.
Q. How much weight am I allowed to gain?
A. On an average, you should not gain more than 12 kgs.
Q. Do I need to join an antenatal class or just watch a video online?
A. We recommend attending an on-ground antenatal class;
Interact with other members of the care team who you are likely to encounter when you’re in labour.
Understand the process and protocol that is being practiced at the hospital you will deliver.
Interact with other couples who are having the same experience as you.
Q. Can I use hair dye or bleach my skin when I’m pregnant?
A. Yes you can because the chemicals won’t harm you or your baby.