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What to Avoid During Pregnancy -- and How Not to Miss It Too Much

Seems like you find out you’re pregnant and suddenly you have to give up (or cut down on) so much that used to get you through the day -- coffee, cigarettes, your standby turkey sandwich. So what can you do instead?

Photo: Shutterstock / The Bump

First off, don’t dwell on the fact that you have to give stuff up. “Instead of being negative, use this as an opportunity to do healthy things we all know we should be doing,” says Laura Riley, MD, ob-gyn, Director of Labor and Delivery at Massachusetts General Hospital and author of You & Your Baby: Pregnancy. Plus, when you step back and really think about it, it’s not really that much that you have to give up. Here are a few strategies to help you cope while you detox from your old routine.

Get an energy boost without a bunch of caffeine
Try:
Six small meals a day. Some experts swear by “the six-meal solution.” The idea is that, instead of three big meals, you eat a bunch of little, healthy ones throughout the day to keep your blood sugar from spiking and dipping -- which could prevent your energy levels from plummeting.
The bright side: “You’re pregnant -- you’re supposed to be tired,” says Riley. In other words, it’s also okay to give yourself permission to take a nap and to take things easier than you used to. Don’t feel guilty about it, and make it a rule to always get a full night’s sleep.

Calm down without smoking
Try:
Yoga breathing. Smoking-cessation programs teach that deep breathing, stretching and relaxation techniques can help quitters cope with the urge to smoke. Yoga’s a great combination of all three. It’s also a great way to deal with stress! Enroll in a prenatal yoga class to learn some moves.
The bright side: If you’ve tried to quit smoking in the past with no luck, this time you have a better reason than ever to stop -- your baby’s health. And think about it this way: Once you’ve given it up for nine months, it will be so much easier to stay smoke-free. Forever.

Grab lunch without deli meat
Try:
Roasting your own turkey. Yeah, we know, it’s a big bummer that you can’t eat a simple sandwich from your favorite deli, but listeria poisoning -- which is caused by bacteria that could potentially live on deli meat -- could really harm your baby. In the worst cases, it could lead to miscarriage, premature delivery or stillbirth. “I’ve seen those cases of listeria and it is such a sad outcome, and people feel so incredibly guilty,” says Riley. But making your own food and knowing that you cleaned it and the utensils properly will give you peace of mind that your food is A-OK to eat. Heating your meat to the point where it steams can kill the listeria bacteria too.
The bright side: You’ll save money by eating out less.

Ease a headache without ibuprofen
Try:
Acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) is completely okay to take, as long as you follow the recommended dosage on the bottle, says Riley.
The bright side: It’s not like you can’t take anything.

Look hot without sky-high heels
Try:
Wedges, kitten heels, lower heels (under three inches) that are thick. Your center of gravity is off now that you're pregnant, and you just don't want to risk wobbles and falls.
The bright side: These are all super-stylish options!

Enjoy girls' night without a cocktail
Try:
A mocktail, of course! Here are a few Bumpies' favorite nonalcoholic drinks. Basically, anything sweet and bubbly (just add seltzer) with a lime perched on the end will still feel festive, despite the lack of booze.
The bright side: You may not be able to drink, but at least you can order some tasty bar food to nibble while you're out with your friends.

Plus, more from The Bump:

9 Pregnancy Myths Busted

Avoid Pregnancy Regret

Worst Pregnancy Advice Ever

-- Elena Donovan Mauer

See More: 1st Trimester , Is it safe