Normal Pregnancy

Lifestyle During Pregnancy

Physical Activities, Immunizations, and Dental Care

Pregnant individuals will need to limit some of their activities and adhere to new ways of living for their health; for example, only participating in mild exercise rather than anything too strenuous. Sexual activities may continue if there are no complications in the pregnancy that require restricted sexual activity for the safety of the fetus and mother. When it comes to water, there are no restrictions other than refraining from water sports at high velocity which could result in injury. Douching is also acceptable if there are no contradicting complications with the pregnancy.

Those who are pregnant should make sure to have at least one general dental care appointment, and they are not restricted from getting any specific dental work done. Immunizations are allowed and getting or maintaining regular vaccinations is encouraged as long as they are not live virus vaccines. When it comes to traveling, there are no restrictions; however, the pregnant person will need to stretch and walk around every two hours.


Another change of lifestyle that a pregnant person may need to make is to stop smoking. Smoking decreases the size of the fetus and makes perinatal death more common. Smoking increases the amount of carbon monoxide a person inhales, which competes for binding of hemoglobin with oxygen, leading to lower oxygen saturation levels. This can cause issues in the health and development of the growing fetus as well as the health of the mother. The nicotine in cigarettes also causes blood vessels to narrow, which lessens the perfusion of the placenta. Finally, smoking makes it difficult for women to maintain and gain the necessary weight because it curbs hunger.


Pregnant individuals should not drink alcohol as this can cause damage to the developing fetus. A major consequence of drinking alcohol while pregnant is fetal alcohol syndrome. This occurs in those whoso mothers consumed three or more ounces of alcohol in a day while pregnant. Health complications related to fetal alcohol syndrome are abnormal facial structuring, heart abnormalities, behavioral issues, and mental disabilities.


Medication must be taken with care during pregnancy. The fetus will be exposed to anything that the mother consumes. In the case of medication, it is important to discuss different risks associated with medications and whether the reward is worth the risk. There is one specific medicine that should be avoided during pregnancy: aspirin. This is because ingesting aspirin can push back the time of labor, restrict the growth of the fetus, separate the placenta from the uterine wall, and remove bilirubin from protein binding sites.

Health Check-ups

For a pregnant individual to ensure that they and their baby are healthy throughout pregnancy, it is important that they maintain regular doctor appointments. From conception up until 32 weeks, it is recommended that the pregnant person have a doctor’s visit once a month. From 32 to 36 weeks, they are recommended to have a doctor’s appointment every other week. Finally, from 36 weeks until the birth of the child, the pregnant person is expected to have a doctor’s appointment once a week. At these appointments, the doctor will check for multiple things including contractions of the uterus, heart rate and movement of the fetus, amniotic fluid volume discrepancies, and bleeding from the vagina.

In summary, pregnancy is a complex process. It includes several different stages which involve changes in levels of different hormones. The change in different hormone levels serves many purposes but can also cause several complications. During pregnancy, a several changes in lifestyle may be required to ensure the health of both the mother and their baby. The pregnant individual may need to change several aspects of her life, from what she consumes to how strenuously she exercises.


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Human Reproduction: A Clinical Approach Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Hala Bastawros, M.D is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.