Even though saccharin and aspartame have been found to be harmful in animal studies, moderate amounts haven’t been proven harmful in pregnancy. Even so, diet sodas are best avoided. They are filling and allow less space in your stomach for important nutrients. Many also contain caffeine, another no-no when used in excess. Drink milk or water instead.
If you were in shape before you became pregnant, carry on within reasonable limits if your doctor says it’s OK, but don’t get overheated or dehydrated. Exercise outdoors when it’s cool, but avoid icy ground in winter.
If you’ve waited until you were pregnant to start exercising, begin slowly by walking, swimming or taking an aerobics class for pregnant women, Magriples suggests. Stop immediately if your heart starts racing, you feel faint or short of breath, your uterus begins cramping or you experience any vaginal bleeding. (See “Winter Sports”)
Both Magriples and Towers advise pregnant women to exercise strong caution when it comes to taking natural supplements. (See “Vitamins”) “Women don’t think these are a big deal because they can get them at health-food stores,” says Magriples, “but a lot of this stuff is very potent. Herbs are not regulated and could be toxic in pregnancy.” It is probably prudent to avoid herbs; if you are already using them, inform your doctor as soon as possible.
Aspirin can affect blood-clotting in the fetus, a concern at delivery time. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the pain reliever of choice. Second best are these over-the-counter medications in the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) family: ibuprofen (Advil), ketoprofen (Orudis KT) and naproxen (Naprosyn). But there are caveats.<
Taking limited quantities of NSAIDs — a few pills over two or three days, for example — is OK, Towers says. But if used continuously, they can decrease the amount of amniotic fluid and affect the baby’s kidneys. For these reasons, Magriples recommends not using NSAIDs at all after the second trimester.