I'm glad I'm done with pregnancy for all kinds of reasons, but maybe in particular because I don't have to worry about the ever-changing guidelines about what's supposedly safe or not safe to do or eat when you're expecting. It felt so hard to stay on top of those nutritional ideals and activities to avoid, because they were moving targets. One day lunch meat was fine, the next it was an express train to ListeriaVille. Tuna was supposedly ideal for getting healthy omega-3s and B vitamins, until seemingly overnight everyone was all, MECURY CONTAMINATION!!! Exercise is good! Exercise can lead to miscarriage! AIEEEE.

I mean, that shit was stressful, you know? Now that I'm well past the baby-making stage, I can opine more comfortably about what pregnancy "rules" are okay to break. Not that I'm a medical professional, mind you, but here's my two cents about the supposedly helpful advice you should just ignore.

Don't take baths. Dude, you can totally take a bath. Just don't recline in an actual hot tub, because that can raise your core body temperature above 102.2º F, which is not recommended. A warm bath, though? Completely fine. I took one every single night.

Don't eat for two. Okay, I'm not saying that it's actually okay to eat twice as much during pregnancy as you normally would, because blah blah blah excessive weight gain unhealthy BLAH. I'm saying that the current trend towards maintaining a laserlike focus on maintaining a figure-friendly diet seems fraught with the potential of missing out on one of the biggest joys of expecting a baby: ICE CREAM. (Of course, dietary interventions for obese pregnant woman have been shown to reduce complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, and preterm delivery, so ... maybe I should just shut up.) (I'm just saying: occasional treats! Don't completely deny yourself.)

Don't exercise. The details around this once-popular rule are always changing, but I think it's mostly been proven at this point that moderate exercise is good for you, pregnant or not. I wish I'd stayed more active during my pregnancies -- once I started doing some prenatal yoga towards the end of my last pregnancy, I couldn't believe how much better I felt. More energy, less aches and pains, and I slept better at night.

Don't drink coffee. No one will ever, ever, ever, ever agree on whether or not caffeine is safe during pregnancy. My take? A cup in the morning is less than 200 mg a day, and ohhhhh, that cup is SO good. I can't imagine giving it up completely, especially since the jury's still out on its effects in small amounts.

Don't wear heels. I wouldn't spend my every waking hour in a teetering pair of stilettos, and loosening ligaments and uneven weight distribution can make balance a concern, but a decently comfortable pair of heels that makes you feel pretty and pulled-together? Wear 'em with pride, girlfriend.

What pregnancy "rules" did you break?


Image via Linda Sharps