Are you pregnant? Do you hope to be? Are you not pregnant, don't hope to be, but are reading this because you're bored? If you answered yes or no to any or all of these questions, then you're probably confused—which is understandable, since pregnancy can be a very confusing time. After all, every single thing you put in, on, or even near your body can affect the outcome of your pregnancy—i.e. the baby—in terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ways. Freaked out yet? Well, you should be. This is really serious! God, what don't you get about that? Luckily, we have a super helpful foolproof guide of dos and don'ts to help you navigate that bag of waters through the best pregnancy in the world.
Let's tackle the most important thing first: alcohol. Doctors say that a glass of wine a day will not harm your unborn baby, or its IQ. Even occasional binge drinking while pregnant (more than five drinks) doesn't seem to be tied to developmental issues. So drink up!
And whatever you do, don't smoke cigarettes, as it causes low birth weight, is linked with asthma in children, triples the risk of meningitis for kids, can affect their reading comprehension, and increases the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage.
However, infant mortality among babies of smoking mothers is much lower than that of the general population. So light up!
Rub almond oil all over your taint to help prevent an episiotomy. But don't do that because almond oil is linked to premature birth. Take folic acid during and before your pregnancy, take probiotics to prevent eczema, take iodine to prevent low IQ, and take choline to prevent schizophrenia.
Take vitamin D to prevent multiple sclerosis and to help your baby's brain development. But there's not enough evidence to show that supplements help, so it would be more effective to spend time in the sun, since it's good for the baby's eyesight and bones. Stay out of the sun, though, because it causes folic acid degradation and could fuck up your skin with pregnancy mask.
Oh, and don't be bipolar. Or young. Or old. Just kidding, being old is fine. It might actually be better than being young, because older moms are less likely to die from breast cancer.
Don't live in a city. Don't live near pollution. Don't live in the United States. Don't live near a highway, because it doubles the risk for autism. And don't live near an agricultural area, because the pesticides could also lead to autism.
Even though nobody knows what really causes autism, there are some links between the disorder and certain prenatal factors that you might want to avoid. Don't be over 40. Don't touch slippery receipts. Avoid immune disorders like celiacs disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Don't get a urinary tract infection. Don't get the flu. Don't get an ultrasound. Don't have asthma or allergies. Don't be obese.
Speaking of weight, lose it before getting pregnant, or risk having an obese child. Go on a low glycemic index diet and get counseling. Exercise is both good and bad. A fatter mom leads to dumber kids.
Don't eat fatty foods because it'll increase your daughter's risk of breast cancer. Drinking water will soothe your aches and pains. Drinking coffee is totally fine, except that it will double your risk of miscarriage. Don't consume cooking oils or nuts. Don't eat lunch meat or bacon or fish with high levels of mercury or pate. Smoked salmon is bad, except that it isn't. Is Aspertame OK? Maybe?
When it comes to (prescription) drugs, antibiotics could cause a miscarriage, epilepsy meds are linked to lower IQ, and the science on blood pressure medication is iffy. But it's not all bad news: laughing gas gets the green light, so it's totally cool to inhale.
What else? Well, you should be married, as it makes you less likely to experience substance abuse or post partum depression than single women or those living in sin. And your husband should have a suitable job, because what he does for a living at the time of your child's conception could actually cause birth defects. So make sure your child's father is not a mathematician, physicist, computer scientist; artist; photographer or photo processor; food service worker; landscaper or groundskeeper; hairdresser or makeup artist; office or administration support worker; sawmill operative; working with oil or gas; working in a chemical industry; printer; or operating cranes or diggers.
So there it is. Your pregnancy will go swimmingly as long as you follow this list religiously. However, if you are already following a religion religiously, then you've probably already had a baby—when you were a teenager. Congrats?
Image by Jim Cooke, source photo via Shutterstock