Parenting Pregnancy

11 Really Confusing Pregnancy Rules

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This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure policy here.This is a lighthearted look at pregnancy. I am not a doctor. Advice that I have read or been given by my doctor may not be the best for you, so be sure to ask your own doctor.

Why do the pregnancy rules have to be SO confusing?!

11 Really Confusing Pregnancy Rules

Ever notice how there are rules for everything now? And any rule you can find, there is always an opposite one to be found, thanks to the Internet.

Pregnancy rules are no different. There are just so many contradictions out there!

Here are some of my favorites…

Alcohol is a no-no. Right? Well, unless you have a doctor who tells you that 1-2 glasses of wine a week is perfectly acceptable throughout your pregnancy.

If you eat peanuts while pregnant, your baby will have a peanut allergy. Hang on. This rule just changed. You may now eat the peanuts!

Coffee is the devil. So you should switch to decaf. But only if the drink in question is naturally decaffeinated, because the process to make a drink decaf is a chemical process. And that’s even worse than just having the caffeine to begin with! Coffee it is!

Eating deli meats can make you and the baby sick. Unless you heat the deli meat to steaming hot. Then it’s okay. Mmmm steamy bologna!

Confusing Pregnancy Rules
Soft cheeses are out, because of listeria. Except if they are pasteurized. Which practically every kind you will find at the supermarket is. Unfortunately, you will have to nix that homemade feta you just whipped up in your spare time.

No coffee for you! Drink tea instead! Actually, wait. Don’t drink that tea. It might have herbs that are dangerous to your pregnancy.

Go for a run! It will help you stay healthy. Don’t exercise! You’ll damage the baby!

Make sure you relax. Just not in a hot bath. Water that is too hot could harm the baby. Make it a cold bath, just to be safe.

Don’t empty the cat litter. Toxoplasmosis is very bad for the fetus. Actually, turns out it’s not so dangerous as long as you aren’t eating the cat litter or preparing your food in it. (This was one my husband specifically asked the doctor the first time I was pregnant. To my dismay, my doctor said I could clean the litter, so long as I washed my hands after. Duh.)

Be sure to eat lots of seafood that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. But no: shark, swordfish, tile, albacore tuna, mackerel, or bottom-feeders. Dammit! Guess I’ll have to throw out that shark I just bought at Shop Rite.

Don’t eat for two. Even though you are kind of eating for two.


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  • Sarah @ Finnegan & The Hughes
    August 21, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    We had a full discussion on the cat liter at work (my boss is a parasitologist). I need to ask again, I believe that you should wear gloves.
    My OB said 1 coffee a day was fine and I drank it with both kids
    Sarah @ Finnegan & The Hughes recently posted…Questions to Ask Your Child’s Kindergarten TeacherMy Profile

  • LaNeshe
    February 21, 2016 at 11:40 AM

    LOL. All the rules are really enough to make your head spin. What is interesting is that my doctor never told me ANY of these things. Even in the guide the OB office gives out at the beginning of pregnancy a lot of these common “rules” aren’t listed.
    LaNeshe recently posted…The Time I Almost Choked the BabysitterMy Profile

    • Lindsay
      February 21, 2016 at 8:29 PM

      Right? Most of them are ones you hear from people or read about on Facebook…because everyone has an opinion on what a pregnant woman should and shouldn’t do!

  • Tuzyae
    March 8, 2016 at 3:09 PM

    I actually wrote a blog post about the cat litter issue. Here is the long and short of it:

    Toxoplasmosis is very bad for pregnancy. I think we all know that. Most human cases, however, are contracted via undercooked meat or raw dairy products, not from cats and their litter boxes. Cats are considered the “definitive host” because they are the only animals that shed it in their feces. The rest of animals that contract it just have it hang out in their muscle tissue (or excreted into their milk).

    When a cat is infected with toxoplasma, they shed it for about 3 weeks, then become immune and never contract it again. Most cats that have been indoor all their lives probably never even came into contact with it. So, if you have an indoor only cat, you probably don’t need to worry. If you cat is indoor/outdoor, they probably came in contact with it when they were young and likely aren’t much of a risk to you – and many of these cats do their business outside anyway, so you aren’t dealing with their litter. You feline related risk is higher if you work with rescues or stray cats or in a business that works with cats, like in the veterinary field where you are constantly exposed to new cats with unknown histories. In those cases though, if you’ve been doing it long enough, you’ve probably come in contact with it and built up an immunity anyway.

    Bottom line, yes, you may clean the litter box. As the post mentioned, wash your hands thoroughly afterward – duh. Infection is fecal – oral, so gloves aren’t necessary as it does not transmit through the skin. If you think you might lick your hands directly after cleaning the box if you aren’t otherwise wearing gloves, wear the gloves.

  • Nicole @ House of Hermens
    March 10, 2016 at 9:20 AM

    I love this post! It is so true! I was so curious about all these silly contradictory rules during my pregnancy that I started doing my own research. I found this book called Expecting Better by Emily Oster that was amazing! It takes a look at your list of “pregnancy don’ts” and explains where the research originally comes from for all these silly rules – and a lot of time the reasons behind them is more ‘better safe than sorry’ than actual evidence. It was a funny, engaging read that answered all of the questions that my doctor danced around.

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