Authored by Revere Health

Can I Do That While I’m Pregnant?

April 25, 2018 | Family Medicine

OBGYN - What to Expect AFTER Expecting

For many pregnant mothers, especially those having their first baby, you probably have a lot of questions for your doctor. Pregnancy comes with numerous changes, and some activities that may be off limits during part or all of the pregnancy term.

Let’s go over some of the most common questions mothers ask their doctors about what they can and cannot do during pregnancy.

Can I Have Sex?

Yes, having sex is safe during pregnancy from the time of conception all the way until your water breaks. However, there are some exceptions, particularly if you’re experiencing vaginal bleeding, or if your doctor has told you to avoid sex for any other reason or complication. You may also use any position during sex, as long as it doesn’t make you uncomfortable or cause pain.

Can I Sleep On My Back?

The answer here depends on how far along in your pregnancy you are. During the first 20 weeks, it’s generally safe to sleep in whatever way keeps you as comfortable as possible. After this point, however, sleeping on the side is recommended. This is because the growing uterus can put pressure on veins that return blood to your heart while you lie flat, which can results in dizziness or lightheadedness.

While you should do your best to stay on your side after week 20, don’t panic if you wake up and happen to find yourself on your back. This happens from time to time, and you aren’t hurting the baby. Simply roll onto your side and go back to sleep.

What Can I Drink?

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what drinks you can and cannot have during pregnancy, but generally it’s fine to consume caffeine while you’re pregnant. You can have up to 200 milligrams per day, which is the equivalent of two smaller cups of coffee or about four cans of soda. If you find that caffeine negatively impacts your ability to sleep or causes any other physical discomfort, it’s probably best to eliminate it from your diet during pregnancy.

Most everyone knows this, but it’s worth repeating: drinking alcohol is a firm “no”. No quantity of alcohol is considered safe during pregnancy, and drinking alcohol can cause serious damage to your growing baby, increasing the risk of premature birth and other birth defects.

What About Travel?

As long as there are no complications or issues your doctor has raised with you, travel is perfectly acceptable anywhere in the world up to 28 weeks of pregnancy, and within the U.S. up to 35 weeks of pregnancy.

Beware of blood clot risk, which increases when you sit in one place for a long period of time—something you may do a lot while traveling, particularly if you are planning air travel. Make time to get up and walk around every couple hours to increase circulation and blood flow, particularly to the legs, and talk to your doctor about the benefits of wearing compression socks or other clothing that can encourage circulation. One other caution: Avoid travel to any countries with active Zika virus for the entire pregnancy, if you are planning to conceive, avoid these same places for at least two months prior to becoming pregnant.

Cosmetics, Spa Services or Other Hygiene Products?

If you’re thinking about a cosmetic procedure or using certain hygiene products, here’s what you should know:

  • Massage, manicure, pedicure: all of these areas are perfectly fine and even encouraged during pregnancy. You should lie on your side for massages after week 20, for similar reasons as you have to sleep on your side after this point.
  • Botox: there isn’t much research on Botox safety for pregnant women. Research that has been done indicates it’s unlikely to cross the placenta, eliminating any major risks. If you use Botox for medical reasons (such as reducing or eliminating migraines), talk to your doctor about the risks to decide if it’s a good idea. If you are using Botox for cosmetic reasons, it’s probably best to put those treatments on pause during pregnancy.
  • Hair dye: you can get your hair colored or highlighted without any issues. Previous studies indicated that hair coloring may have been linked with miscarriages, but further research indicated that there was little to no risk. Check with your doctor prior to getting hair strengthening or perms.
  • Spray tan: there is no certainty within the medical community on whether it’s safe to inhale spray tan chemicals, so pregnant women are advised to avoid these things. Sunless creams and lotions, however, are safe.
  • Bikini wax: Waxing is okay during pregnancy, but keep in mind that it could be more painful than usual because skin is more sensitive during pregnancy.

Other Areas

Here are a few other areas to consider:

  • Concerts and noise. Babies can hear after 20 weeks of pregnancy, but you aren’t damaging their hearing if you take them to a concert due to significant layers in between their ears and the noise.
  • Hot tubs and swimming. Before 20 weeks, you should generally avoid hot tubs, hot baths, saunas and similar hot environments. Talk to your doctor about using these things after 20 weeks, and get out if you are feeling dizzy or lightheaded. Swimming in normal water temperatures is fine during any part of pregnancy.
  • Extreme activities. Activities like ziplines, riding ATVs, jumping on a trampoline, or any other extreme motions that could risk abdominal trauma should definitely be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Raising your hands. There’s an old myth out there that pregnant women who raise their hands above their head will tangle the baby in its cord and risk strangulation—this is simply untrue.

Your doctor can offer further recommendations on what you can and cannot do during pregnancy if you have specific questions about your own lifestyle or activities.

I practice the full range of family medicine including obstetrics, pediatrics, adolescent medicine, adult medicine and some orthopedics. I also perform colposcopy, cryotherapy and vasectomies. Due to the volume of deliveries we do, my practice has evolved to be more centered on women and children’s medicine, although I enjoy all aspects of family medicine.



“Botox? Spray Tans? Bikini Wax? What You Can (and Can’t) Do During Pregnancy.” WebMD.

The Live Better Team


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.