5 Things you thought you couldn't do while pregnant, but totally can

If I had a dime for everything someone assumed I couldn't do while pregnant--well, you know. Seriously, pregnancy is not a death sentence. Your life does not suddenly end because you are growing another person in your uterus. Sure, there are some things you should avoid, like, you know, drugs, cigarettes, hard alcohol. But for the most part--with the exception of high-risk pregnancies--you can actually continue to live your life much as you always have. Here are five things you thought you couldn't do while pregnant, but totally can: 


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Drink coffee. We are Latinas and most of us grew up in a strong coffee culture. Personally, I often refer to coffee as "life blood." If your tummy can't tolerate it, that's one thing, but you can safely consume up to 300 milligrams of caffeine a day. Which means you can probaly have both a morning cup and an afternoon cafecito without a problem. Especially if you drink a dark Spanish-style espresso roast, which actually has less caffeine in it.

Sleep on your stomach. My doctor laughed at me when I mentioned this to him. His exact words were, "Did I tell you you couldn't?" Basically, you can sleep on your belly until your doctor tells you you shouldn't (which he probably won't) or it is no longer comfortable to do so. I was nearly nine months pregnant and still sleeping about three quarters of the way on my stomach.

Travel. Most doctors will tell you to start staying close to home between 34 and 36 weeks. Other than that, travel is only restricted by your preferences and the policies of your mode of transportation. For airlines, it's typically 30 to 34 weeks and for cruise lines it's 24 weeks. My tip: book that babymoon right in the middle of your second trimester, and make it a good one!

Eat deli meat, hot dogs, cheese etc. The fear is the risk of contracting the listeria infection. Listeria is commonly present on many types of foods and your risk of becoming sick from it does not increase while you're pregnant. However, it is much more difficult to treat if and can affect the baby if it is contracted. Sounds scary, but you just need to make sure meats are heated to steaming and that soft cheeses are made with pasteurized milk (which they always are in the U.S.).

Exercise. I cannot stress enough that exercise is an important part of pregnancy. It helps keep you in good shape throughout the pregnancy, makes you better prepared for the work of labor and delivery and helps you bounce back after the baby is born. You can maintain pretty much any exercise regime you were doing before you were pregnant, until it is no longer comfortable--even if that included lifting weights. At that point you can scale back as necessary. If you weren't previously exercising, talk to your physician about a safe program to start with.

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