Originally published on E!Online, April 14th.
There is a long list of things you aren’t supposed to do when you are pregnant: eat sushi, drink alcohol, smoke, etc. And then there are those things that people think you aren’t supposed to do, but are really OK in moderation.
The first example that I think of is drinking coffee. According to The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it’s perfectly acceptable to have up to 200 mg of caffeine a day. That’s somewhere between a tall and a grande iced Americano or a little more than two shots of espresso. That’s not a lot, especially for a caffeine addict like myself, but it’s something! And I cherish that something.
Not only is it true that you can have caffeine in moderate amounts, but my doctor even recommended it for headaches. Knowing many over the counter medications were forbidden during the 40-week journey (such as Excedrin, Advil, etc.) I asked her what I should do if I got a headache. She recommended two Tylenol with a small dose of caffeine.
Even though I was surprised that I was allowed to have caffeine, I didn’t quite realize what a commonly held misconception it was that pregnant woman shouldn’t have any at all. That is, until I started ordering coffee with a baby bump. Shortly after announcing my first pregnancy, I rolled up to a drive thru to order a drink. I pulled up to the window, ready to eagerly accept my dubble espresso and was met with a barista, who, as soon as she registered that I was pregnant, recoiled from the window and gasped, “Are you even supposed to be drinking coffee??”
“Um, yeah, my doctor said it was OK…” I mumbled, suddenly embarrassed.
Quickly, an associate barreled past the aghast barista and apologized profusely.
“Oh, my god, I am so sorry about that! That is so not supposed to happen,” the new barista told me, handing me my coffee.
“It’s OK!” I chirped back nervously. “It’s actually alright for pregnant women to have…” I trailed off as she moved on to take the next order over her headset.
Since then, it hasn’t been uncommon for me to get weird looks or for the barista to ask me if I want decaf when I order my usual.
“No, regular, please,” I always respond, usually with something like, “I don’t drink all of it,” tacked onto the end of my response as I imagine everyone else in the coffee shop thinking Jeez, she’s drinking all that caffeine while she’s pregnant? What a fetus abuser!
A less common misconception, but one that’s definitely out there is the “you can’t wear heels when you are pregnant” myth. In fact, when I Googled “pregnant heels” the first thing that came up was a quote from BabyCenter saying “wearing heels (even wide-based, clunky ones) is generally not a good idea during pregnancy.” Well, call me a risk taker, but I wore high heels all throughout my first and so far throughout my second pregnancy with no problems whatsoever. I was even dancing on stage in heels while I headlined a show during the first five months of my first pregnancy. I probably would have kept doing it until the day I gave birth if the costumes hadn’t been so skimpy!
The reasoning behind not wearing heels when you are expecting is that your center of gravity can shift during pregnancy, which could potentially throw you off balance and tumbling to the ground. Definitely pay attention to your body and how you are feeling. If you rarely wear heels and aren’t really comfortable in them, pregnancy definitely isn’t the time to be trying out a new pair of six-inch platform stilettos. If sporting heels is second nature, though, I say go for it! I mean, I’ve been known to bite the dust wearing socks more often than heels. Sure, I was careful to take some things more slowly and always use handrails when taking the stairs, but I felt comfortable wearing even my highest heels while pregnant. I paid attention to my body and trusted my instincts.
If you decide to take a ride on the baby train, be sure and talk to your doctor for peace of mind before making any personal decisions. In the meantime, take comfort in the fact that your lifestyle may not have to change that much if/when you get pregnant. Yes, you can still work, exercise, have sex, color your hair, drink coffee and even wear heels if you want to.