Maintaining proper nutrition in pregnancy is vital to both mother and baby’s wellbeing. Proper nutrition includes not only a good diet but vitamins and supplements as well. They do not replace proper nutrients obtained from food but help to boost the good nutrients from the food. It is important to eat a well-balanced diet of protein, fat, and carbs combined with the proper exercise routine for optimal health.

Read more about prenatal nutrition

Lifestyle Changes

  • Illegal Substances
  • The use of illegal drugs is strongly discouraged in pregnancy. Please talk to your doctor if you are using illegal drugs and want to quit. There are resources for quitting.

  • Alcohol During Pregnancy
  • When you’re pregnant, your baby drinks what you drink. Alcohol goes into your bloodstream and crosses the placenta. Some unborn babies whose mothers drink alcohol have mental retardation, behavior and learning problems, and problems growing. These problems are serious and can be long-term.
    There is no known safe amount of alcohol (even wine, wine coolers, and beer) when you’re pregnant, and there is no safe time to drink if you’re pregnant. Every pregnancy is different. Even if you had a healthy baby before when you were drinking, the baby you’re carrying now could be harmed by alcohol. Talk to your physician if you have questions about drinking during pregnancy or call Tel-Link (Missouri‚Äôs information and referral telephone line for maternal, child and family health services) at (800) 835-5465 for more information.

  • Smoking During Pregnancy
  • When you smoke, so does your baby. Cigarettes contain poisons such as nicotine, lead, arsenic and carbon monoxide. These poisons get into the placenta, which is the tissue that connects you to your baby and sends oxygen and nutrients and eliminates wastes. Smoking during pregnancy can cause low-birth weight, preterm labor, and infant death. It can cause serious complications such as preeclampsia and abruption. Second-hand smoke CAN cause problems for your baby. There can be long term health risks for your baby. Smoking during pregnancy can cause your baby to have more colds, lung problems, learning disabilities, and physical growth problems. After the baby is born, the baby may get more colds, coughs, and middle-ear infections.

    Contact the Missouri Tobacco Quitline at (800) 784-8669 or visit www.quitnow.net/Missouri for free telephone counseling to help you quit. It is easy. You’ll learn why it’s tough to quit and techniques to help you quit successfully. Another helpful website is http://health.mo.gov/living/wellness/tobacco/atod. Make a difference in your health and the health of your baby. Call the Quitline today.

    Medications safe in pregnancy

  • Heartburn
  • Pepcid, Zantac
    Tums, Rolaids
    Prilosec, Nexium, Zegrid

  • Colds/Allergies
  • Limit Sudafed
    All cough drops
    Robitussin (not DM) for cough
    Zyrtec, Claritin
    Saline Nasal Sprays

  • Back Ache
  • Tylenol
    Icy Hot

  • Constipation
  • Colace
    Milk of Magnesia

  • Sleep Aids
  • Unisom
    Tylenol PM

  • Vaccinations
  • Injectable Flu vaccine
    Whooping cough (tdap)

    Alternative Care/Medicine

    Alternative care is combining traditional prenatal care with eastern medicine in order to achieve the right balance in pregnancy. This can include spa care, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. All are considered safe in pregnancy if used appropriately. Please refer to each section for specific details.

  • Spa Care
  • When you are pregnant it is important to pamper yourself. It is safe to go to a spa and have a pedicure, manicure, facial massage, or hair removal. Studies have been done on pregnant women who underwent these services and there is no harm to the baby. So ENJOY!!

  • Acupuncture
  • Acupuncture is a tradition that goes back more than 2000 years. It is a complement to Western medicine techniques and has many uses in pregnancy. Acupuncture can reduce stress, reduce first trimester morning sickness, reduce hip and low back pain, move the baby out of the breech position in the third trimester, help with mild to moderate anxiety and depression, and it can possibly start and reduce the length of labor.
    Acupuncture may also help with improving fertility. Studies show that acupuncture can increase the chances that In Vitro Fertilization will result in a live birth by 10 to 15 percent or more, for example.
    If you are considering having acupuncture in pregnancy, please make sure you ask questions to make sure they are certified to work with pregnant women. Always inform your doctor if you have had any procedure done in pregnancy.

  • Chiropractic Care
  • Chiropractics can control symptoms of nausea in the first trimester, reduce the time of labor and delivery, relieve back neck or joint pain, realign pelvis after delivery, and can possibly help change breech position to head down.
    Speak with your doctor if you are receiving care from any other provider. Make sure you find a certified chiropractor who works with pregnant women. If you are experiencing pain, bleeding, or contractions contact your doctor and abstain from further treatment until you are seen.

  • Massage Therapy
  • Massage therapy in pregnancy has been shown to improve maternal health, labor outcomes, and newborn health because it reduces stress and anxiety in pregnancy. It decreases cortisol and norepinephrine which are two stress hormones released in the body. There are many massage techniques available but Swedish Massage tends to be the most beneficial.
    Message therapy can reduce stress, relieve nerve pain (especially pelvic pain), relieve sciatic nerve pain, improve circulation, and reduce swelling in hands and feet.
    Make sure the massage center has a certified person who can perform prenatal massage, and tell them you are pregnant as most places will not perform a massage until after the first trimester. Stay hydrated before and after massages. DO NOT get a massage if you have high blood pressure, are on bed rest, or are having preterm labor issues.
    The safest time to have a massage is after the first trimester. After the baby, you should wait until you have your postpartum visit to make sure you have healed appropriately.


    Exercise is important part of maintaining good health in pregnancy. The most important thing is to listen to your body. If you are not feeling well, bleeding, or having pain, discontinue the exercise. The guidelines below will help you make some good choices for you and your baby.

  • Under 20 weeks
  • You can continue the exercises you are currently doing as long as you are not experiencing pain or bleeding. Usually women have significant nausea in the first trimester which can limit your desire to work out. Make sure you stay hydrated.

  • 20-30 weeks
  • At this time the uterus reaches the belly button and is no longer protected behind the pelvic bones. It is important to only do exercises where you will not get hit in the belly or fall on your belly. Some suggestions include yoga, pilates, water aerobics, walking, and easy step aerobics. Always stay hydrated!

  • After 30 weeks until Delivery
  • Exercise can often make you contract. You do not have to stop exercising unless you are having preterm labor, bleeding, or it is too uncomfortable for you.