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Things to Know during Pregnancy


The harmful effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy are well-known and include physical defects, learning disabilities, and emotional problems in children.

Experts haven’t yet defined a safe level of alcohol for women who are pregnant, nor do they know whether or how babies differ in their sensitivity or reaction to alcohol.

Although you shouldn’t worry about alcohol you drank before you found out you were pregnant, you should abstain from any further consumption and avoid all alcoholic beverages.

Let your health care provider know if you are finding it difficult to stop drinking alcohol.

These programs offer evaluation and treatment for alcohol addiction:

The Recovery Center at EvergreenHealth Monroe
(360) 794-1405 or email:

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers
(800) 231-4303 or (425) 823-3116


When you smoke, the placenta is deprived of nutrients and oxygen, which means that less of these get to the developing fetus.

Babies born to mothers who smoke are more likely to be low birth weight and have health problems such as poor lung function.

Smoking can also lead to pre-term labor and an increased risk of placenta previa, or when the placenta covers the opening to the uterus.

If you need assistance with quitting smoking, please let your health care provider know.

Nicotine replacement patches and medications such as Wellbutrin are approved to use during pregnancy and are preferable to smoking.

Illegal drugs

Using drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine and meth during pregnancy has adverse effects on the developing fetus and newborn.

These drugs cross the placenta and enter the fetal blood stream. Use of these drugs can affect central nervous system functioning and can lead to premature delivery, growth retardation, withdrawal symptoms in the newborn, behavioral problems or even stillbirth.

If you use illegal drugs, please notify your health care provider so that we may help you. 

These programs offer evaluation and treatment for addiction to illegal drugs:

The Recovery Center at EvergreenHealth Monroe
(360) 794-1405 or email:

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers
(800) 231-4303 or (425) 823-3116


If you were eating a well-balanced diet before pregnancy, chances are you will not need to make big changes.

Make sure that you are getting food from the five healthy food groups: grains, protein, fruits, vegetables, and milk products.

Emphasize whole wheat bread products and brown rice in place of simple/refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, refined cereal, cookies, etc.

In addition, try to limit extra sugar and fat.

Drink plenty of water, 6-8 glasses a day.

It is also a recommended that you continue to take your prenatal vitamin daily throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Foods to avoid in pregnancy include:

  • raw eggs, unpasteurized dairy products and undercooked meat
  • certain types of fish should not be eaten more than once a week, including canned tuna, mahi mahi, halibut, pollack and cod
  • tuna steaks, shark, swordfish, tile fish, and sea bass should not be consumed
  • all other types of seafood are safe to eat

Weight gain

Weight should be gained slowly and steadily, and varies from woman to woman.

The average weight gain during pregnancy is 25-40 pounds.

Talk to your health care provider if you have questions regarding your individual goal weight gain.


Exercise is encouraged during pregnancy.

Most types of exercise are safe, but you should avoid activities that increase your risk of falls or injury.

Walking, swimming and yoga are great forms of exercise during pregnancy.

After the first five months, it is best to avoid lying flat on your back, as the baby’s weight can interfere with blood circulation.

Make sure to stay well-hydrated and stop exercising if you notice shortness of breath, dizziness, blurry vision, chest pain or severe abdominal or pelvic pain.


Most researchers agree that, although caffeine does cross the placenta, moderate amounts (about 300 mg a day) will not hurt your baby.

This represents about two 8-ounce cups of coffee, two shots of espresso or two caffeinated sodas daily. Keep in mind the serving size of your mug or cup (typically around 12-16 oz).


In most cases, intercourse throughout the pregnancy is fine.

Intercourse will not cause a miscarriage. Miscarriages that occur commonly do so as a result of a chromosomal abnormality or other problem with the developing fetus, not from anything you do or don’t do.

Intercourse will not harm the fetus. It is well protected by the abdomen, amniotic fluid and cervical mucous plug, which prevents semen and bacteria from entering the uterus.

Orgasms can cause contractions; however, most research indicates that if you have a normal pregnancy, orgasm—with or without intercourse—does not lead to premature labor or birth.

If certain problems are present, your provider may ask you to stop having intercourse.

If you have a new sexual partner during your pregnancy, please use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.


Always wear a seatbelt when driving or riding in a vehicle.

Avoid activities that may cause injury or falls.

Avoid completely immersing yourself in hot tubs.

Seek other medical or dental care when needed, but make sure providers know you are pregnant.

If you do not feel safe at home with your partner, please let your health care provider know immediately so that we may be of assistance.

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