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Lifestyle in pregnancy 

Lifestyle in pregnancy
Lifestyle in pregnancy

Murray Enkin

, Marc J. N. C. Keirse

, James Neilson

, Caroline Crowther

, Lelia Duley

, Ellen Hodnett

, and Justus Hofmeyr

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date: 26 October 2020

Prepregnancy counseling for specific indications has a definite place, but there is no evidence at present to warrant routine preconceptional visits. Prepregnancy advice about routine folate supplementation can be important, for reducing the risk of neural tube defects. There is no evidence to warrant any restriction on sexual activity during pregnancy. Smoking-cessation programs should be routinely offered to pregnant women who smoke, but should be used with sensitivity and consideration for each woman’s individual circumstances. The dangers of moderate use of alcoholic beverages during pregnancy have been exaggerated. Women should be warned against excessive use of alcohol. With the implied promise that it will help her have a perfect birth, a perfect baby, and become a perfect mother, a pregnant woman is exhorted to lead a selfless, healthy life, uncontaminated by sex, cigarettes, alcohol, employment, or anxiety. The evidence for most of these exhortations is slight. Where the evidence is stronger, the flaw has been in the way that research and prescription fail to take into account the real lives and responsibilities of women.

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