Don’t drink any caffeine. Don’t use artificial sweeteners. Don’t whiten your teeth. Don’t use fake tanning lotion. Don’t run. Don’t put your arms above your head or the baby’s umbilical cord will become tangled around its neck. Don’t stay up too late or your baby won’t sleep at night. The list of pregnancy “no-nos” goes on and on. As if a growing baby in your uterus and an impending labor aren’t enough about which to worry, mommies-to-be are often given lots of advice about what not to do, and this advice can lead to unnecessary worry.My biggest weakness and, therefore, worry while pregnant and breastfeeding is caffeine. The only way that I have any caffeine control is that Sonic’s Happy Hour falls during nap time, which is sacred time, during which I dare not leave the house or wake my babies. I was told during my first pregnancy to stop drinking all forms of caffeine – soda, hot chocolate, iced tea. Or, maybe I was told to cut down and I took it to the extreme and cut down to zero consumption. But, I have since learned that it’s all about the source of the caffeine. Coffee has more caffeine than tea, and sodas have less caffeine than coffee. A great tool to figure out how many milligrams of caffeine are in your daily drink routine is here: http://www.pregnancytoday.com/articles/nutrition/caffeine-calculator-6182/. So, instead of worrying and not being able to enjoy your daily soda because you are worrying about the effect it is having, wane the worry by using the Caffeine Calculator. Another worry for many women is continuing a running routine during pregnancy. Of course, every woman is different, so before taking any advice from anybody, consult your physician. In most healthy pregnancies, it is safe to continue running during pregnancy, with slight modifications. A great tool to wane the worry is an article through Runners World: http://beginners.runnersworld.com/2010/02/is-it-safe-to-run-while-pregnant-or-trying-to-become-pregnant.html. Here are a few tips:
(1) The American Pregnancy Association recommends keeping the heart rate under 140, so invest in an accurate heart rate monitor. If you’re not used to monitoring your heart rate while exercising, it might take a few workouts until you’ll be able to intuitively feel when you’re nearing 140. After a few workouts, you might not need the monitor anymore, so consider borrowing or renting. If you have a jogging stroller, consider jogging with it (with or without a child in tow) to help maintain your balance, which becomes compromised in the last couple of months of pregnancy. Keep track of how many miles you log during pregnancy – your little one will be excited some day to see how far he “ran” with Mommy before he was even born!
(2) Stay super hydrated. Use the pee test – if it’s pale yellow, you’re probably drinking enough. If it’s a darker shade, drink up!
(3) Don’t push the pace. Don’t try to improve on your time or distance while pregnant – just do what you can and feel great that you are doing it. It’s safe to race as long as you don’t push it. A nice list of local races can be found here: http://www.runontexas.com/calendar/Calendar.htm.
(4) And here’s the most fun tip: You’ll need to consume about 300 more calories per day that you run. Just be sure to get those 300 calories from healthy fats and natural sugars.
So, do your research and don’t get caught up in worry. Enjoy your nine months…they’ll be over all-too-soon!