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It goes without saying that pregnancy is an exciting and equally confusing time! With just about everyone you know introducing you to new supposed truths about pregnancy, it is common for you to get lost and not know what to believe. While some myths about pregnancy cannot be backed up by facts, there are quite a few that are worth your consideration.
Common Myths About Pregnancy You Should Know
- Myth: An occasional glass of wine is okay during pregnancy.
Some believe that drinking an occasional glass of wine is harmless during pregnancy, and can have no bearing on your baby.
Fact: Alcohol should be avoided at all costs during pregnancy. This is because there has been no study about the quantity of alcohol that is considered safe when you are pregnant. A mother who has consumed alcohol during pregnancy may put her baby at risk of FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder). Babies of mothers who consumed alcohol have a higher chance of having congenital disabilities, and brain and cell damage.
- Myth: Eat for two during pregnancy.
A popular notion present in most societies is that you will be eating for two when you get pregnant.
Fact: A pregnant woman only needs to add an extra portion of calories to support the baby, and not have meals made for two people. The exact quantity of calories depends on the weight, height, and level of activity of the woman, as well as the trimester of pregnancy. On an average, women need to consume about 300 additional calories during pregnancy.
- Myth: Pregnant women should not take a bath too often.
Pregnant women are often advised not to bathe regularly.
Fact: This myth has absolutely no foundation! Bathing keeps you clean and free of germs that can harm your baby. It is a good hygiene practice, and should be followed during pregnancy just as you would follow it on other days.
However, do not take very hot showers, as it could raise your body temperature, and lead to developmental problems in the baby. As a general rule, avoid bathing in water hot enough to raise your body temperature over 102.2 Fahrenheit. Water temperature of 98.6 Fahrenheit is considered safe for pregnant women.
- Myth: Your baby’s gender is based on the shape of the stomach and the foetal heart rate.
It is believed that if your belly is lying low, then you will have a boy, and if lying high, then you will have a girl. It is also said that a fast foetal heart rate indicates a girl, and a slow foetal heart rate indicates a boy.
Fact: The elevation of the belly is entirely dependent on various physiological factors of the woman. These include your muscle tone, the strength of your abdominal muscles, number of childbirths, the position of the body, and the structure of your uterine muscles. As for the foetal heart rate, it varies throughout your pregnancy based on your baby’s health and age. So, it is just another pregnancy gender myth.
- Myth: Eating papayas and pineapples cause miscarriages.
Eating papayas and pineapples can cause miscarriage or induce labour, and hence, women should avoid these fruits during pregnancy.
Fact: Unripe papaya contains a substance in its latex called chymopapain, which is linked to uterine contractions. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain, which may lead to uterine contractions when consumed in large quantities. However, you would need to consume an unusually large amount of these fruits for negative effects to show. Both the fruits, when consumed in moderation, have a range of health benefits for pregnant women.
- Myth: Eating saffron And oranges during pregnancy can make your baby fairer.
A common myth in India is that drinking saffron milk or eating oranges can improve the complexion of your baby.
Fact: Complexion of the baby is genetically inherited, and consumption of any particular food item has no influence on it.
- Myth: You shouldn’t have sex during pregnancy.
It is believed that sex during pregnancy can cause miscarriage or may even induce labour.
Fact: Sex does not induce labour. It is completely safe to engage in intercourse with your partner during pregnancy, provided it is done in a position that does not put a lot of pressure on your tummy. Your baby is within an amniotic sac that keeps it well-protected. In addition to this, your cervix also has a mucous plug to help guard your baby against infections.
However, doctors may advise against intercourse if you have complications like placenta praevia, a dilated cervix, cervical insufficiency, ruptured membranes, abnormal discharge, and if you are at risk of premature labour.
- Myth: Eating butter or ghee can make your delivery smoother.
It is believed that ghee contracts the uterus and makes the cervix soft, resulting in a smoother delivery.
Fact: A normal delivery is dependent on various factors such as the size of the foetus, its presentation and position, and the shape of your pelvis. Eating ghee or butter has no effect on it.
- Myth: Your skin will glow during pregnancy.
It is believed that pregnancy makes your skin radiant, and gives you an evident natural glow.
Fact: The ‘pregnancy glow’ myth has some truth to it. During pregnancy, there is increased blood flow in your body, which keeps your skin moisturised and nourished. This, paired with a surge in hormones, can contribute to healthier and brighter-looking skin.
However, not every woman is lucky to experience this. Many women also face acne breakouts and other skin problems that may leave their skin looking and feeling worse. The consolation is that most of these conditions rescind after pregnancy.
- Myth: Pregnant women shouldn’t exercise.
Exercising while pregnant can harm the baby, and cause a miscarriage or induce premature labour.
Fact: Regular, moderate exercise if perfectly safe during pregnancy. It may also help you prepare for delivery! Doctors often advise women to engage in moderate exercises for the same reason. However, it is important not to overwork yourself. Consult with your doctor before engaging in any exercise.
11.Myth: You cannot take flights while pregnant.
Flying during pregnancy isn’t safe for the baby, due to the radiation in the airport scanners and the long duration of some flights.
Fact: It is true that long flights (over 5 hours) may cause problems, especially if you are prone to blood clots. Hence, it is best to avoid long flights. However, if you are in good health and have a normal pregnancy, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be flying. Most airlines have restrictions on pregnant women during late pregnancy (third trimester) to prevent labour on route.
- Myth: Eating spicy food can induce labour.
It is believed that eating hot and spicy foods can lead to miscarriage and induce labour.
Fact: There is no evidence to support this myth! The only disadvantage of eating spicy food is the heartburn and gas that you may have to suffer later. If you include a moderate quantity of spicy food in your diet during pregnancy, it will do you no harm. Here is a sample pregnancy diet plan.
- Myth: Pregnant women shouldn’t pet cats.
Pregnant women are asked to stay away from cats to prevent getting in contact with parasites.
Fact: While you will not have to stay away from cats, this is partially true. Cat faeces contain a virus that may cause the toxoplasmosis infection. Hence, it is best not to clean your cat’s litter to avoid exposure to the virus.
14.Myth: If you have heartburn, your baby will have more hair on the scalp.
It is a belief that if you have regular heartburn, your baby will have a lot of hair on the scalp.
Fact: This myth has no scientific backing at all. The genetic makeup of the baby is what determines how much hair he will have. Heartburn is caused in most pregnant women when the growing foetus pushes against the stomach and forces acid into the oesophagus. It can also be due to an increase in the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the valve between the oesophagus and the stomach, making it easy for the stomach acid to reach the oesophagus.
- Myth: You should not raise your arms above your head when you are pregnant.
It is believed that raising your arm above your head during pregnancy may cause the umbilical cord to wrap itself around the baby’s neck.
Fact: There is no evidence to support this myth, and it is safe to stretch your arms above your head without any fear throughout your pregnancy.
It is common to be swarmed with pregnancy myths and vague ideas the minute you announce your pregnancy. While some of them do have a hint of truth in them, others are simply old wives’ tales that have no evidence to support them. Hence, it is advised to seek professional help and advice before you give in to any of these myths.
Also Read: 25 Surprising Facts About Pregnancy