- Be aware of food safety and make sure food like bacon is cooked properly.
- It’s (usually) OK to maintain your regular exercise but check with your health professional as everyone is different.
- Dyeing your hair is generally considered OK.
- It’s recommended to postpone tattoos and laser removal until after bub arrives.
You’re pregnant, congratulations! It’s such an exciting time but you may find that suddenly you may (or may not) be getting lots of advice. And some of it could be contradictory.
Luckily, there’s a really easy way to know which advice you should be taking, and which you can politely ignore. And it comes down to whether the advice-giver is a health professional.
We asked Midwife Tori Srour and Dietitian Simone Austin all your pressing pregnancy questions. From soft-cheese-safety to exercise recommendations and everything in between.
But remember, if you do have any specific questions or concerns, be sure to reach out to your midwife or GP. They’re the ones who are best placed to answer your questions.
Can pregnant women eat bacon?
Let’s start off with the important topic – because we know answering this one will help you get better sleep while pregnant – can you eat bacon while you’re baking a bun?
According to Simone, pregnant women can enjoy bacon now and again - but they do need to be aware of food safety and make sure it is fresh, fully cooked until steaming hot. So, it’s a good idea to avoid eating bacon when out.
Trust your body and reach out to your health professional if you have any stomach problems – it’s always good to be vigilant.
Can you eat soft cheese when pregnant?
Yes and no – Simone urges caution for any soft cheese or deli meats because of the possibility of foodborne bacteria. “Because of listeria and infections, you need to be really careful of things like soft cheeses, Bries, Camemberts and Ricotta,” she says.
Simone also warns against being cavalier about eating things like delicatessen meats and pates for the same reason. “If you cook them well, it may be OK, but don’t eat them cold,” she says.
It’s important to be careful because although listeria is rare, (affecting 0.7 per 100,000 in the general population), it’s about 20% more common in pregnant women. And cause serious illness in the foetus.
So, along with nappies and wipes – go ahead and put soft cheese on your baby hospital bag checklist. The nine-month wait will make it taste all the sweeter!
What exercise can you do when pregnant?
It’s (usually) OK to maintain any exercise that you’ve been doing before pregnancy. But Tori warns, “Pregnancy is not a time to try anything crazy or new. If you’ve been lifting weights before you were pregnant, then it’s generally OK to continue during your pregnancy.”
She also advises that not every pregnancy is low risk. So, it’s important to follow the advice of your doctor or health professional as it will be tailored to your individual needs.
So, what exercise is best for bub? Tori recommends yoga, walking and anything else that helps you create body balance to help bub find the best position possible. And don’t forget to do some pelvic floor exercises during your pregnancy.
Can you dye your hair when pregnant?
The research in this area is limited, but dyeing your hair is generally considered OK. And our trusty midwife offers reassurance.
“The chemicals in both permanent and semipermanent hair dye aren’t readily absorbed through your scalp so it's actually very unlikely that it could cause harm to your baby,” she explains.
Tori also assures us that it’s OK to continue working as a hairdresser while pregnant as there's no evidence that handling hair dyes could harm your baby. Just make sure you're using gloves (which you would do anyway) and that the salon’s ventilation is good.
Can you get a tattoo while pregnant?
Tori advises that the safety of tattooing and pregnancy is still a grey area. But it’s not recommended for a few reasons. Firstly – there’s a risk of infection and secondly, there’s not enough evidence that it’s OK to take that chance.
“We just recommend that you wait until after you have your baby,” she says.
Can you drink kombucha when pregnant?
Surprisingly, according to Tori, it’s not recommended. Since there’s no safe level of alcohol consumption in pregnancy, and kombucha could contain low levels of alcohol, it’s best to avoid it.
Although homemade kombucha holds more risks, store-bought has also been found, in a few cases, to continue to ferment on the shelves – creating a higher alcohol level.
Tori also points out that there’s also a risk of foodborne bacteria like listeria or salmonella in kombucha as it’s fermented.
Can you get laser hair removal when pregnant?
That’s another no. Tori recommends that due to the lack of studies on it, it’s impossible to say whether it’s OK or not. So, in the absence of research, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
There’s no reason to wonder
Pregnancy is such an exciting time, but it brings no shortage of advice, questions and worries. If you feel at all unsure about anything you’re hearing or reading online, make sure you reach out to your health professional and have a chat.
The good news is bacon is OK, you could probably continue your regular exercise and your hair colour may be maintained.
Tori Srour is a Northern Rivers based midwife who is passionate about empowering and educating women so they can walk away from their birth physically safe and emotionally well.
Simone Austin is an accredited Practising Dietitian, an Advanced Sports Dietitian and President of Sports Dietitians Australia. Her passion for optimising sports performance and health through nutrition has led Simone through her 25+ year career working with some of Australia’s top sports teams.
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board September 2021.