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 most myths about pregnancy cannot be backed up with facts, a few of them may be worth your consideration.
Common Myths about Pregnancy You Should Be Aware of
- 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 at all. Bathing keeps you clean and free of germs that may 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 degrees Fahrenheit. Water temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is considered safe for pregnant women.
It is believed that if your belly is lying low then you will have a boy and you will have a girl if your belly is lying high. It is also said that a fast fetal heart rate indicates a girl and a slow fetal heart rate indicates a boy.
Fact: The elevation of the belly is entirely dependent on various physiological factors of the woman. Actually, stomach muscles stretch with subsequent pregnancies. So, if a woman’s belly is higher up, it probably just means she has strong abdominal muscles or it’s her first pregnancy.
A popular notion present in most societies that you will be eating for two when you get pregnant.
Fact: A pregnant woman only needs to add a portion of extra calories to support the baby and not have meals that are made for two people. The exact quantity of calories depends on the weight, height, level of activity of the women, as well as the trimester of pregnancy. On average, women need to consume about 300 additional calories 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’ve consumed alcohol also have a higher chance of having congenital disabilities, brain, and cell damage.
- 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. Prostaglandins, substances in semen, plus the contractions that occur during sex, can hasten labor in some cases. Some doctors even prescribe it.
However, doctors may advise you against it if you have complications like placenta praevia, a dilated cervix, cervical insufficiency, ruptured membranes, abnormal discharge, and if you are at the risk of premature labour.
- Myth: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Exercise
Exercising while pregnant can harm the baby and cause miscarriage or induce premature labour.
Fact: Moderate walking or swimming are excellent ways to stay healthy. It may also help you prepare for the delivery. Doctors often advise women to engage in moderate exercises for the same reason. However, it is important not to overwork yourself and seek permission from your doctor before engaging in any exercise.
- Myth: Eating Spicy Food Can Induce Labour and causes blindness in babies.
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 through later. If you include a moderate quantity of spicy food in your diet during pregnancy, it will do you no harm. Medical experts agree that spicy foods are safe to consume during pregnancy. Spicy foods will not harm your growing baby and might even help your baby develop a taste for certain spices later in life. Although most spicy dishes are safe to eat during pregnancy, avoid dishes that contain undercooked meat, poultry or seafood; unpasteurized dairy products; and fish with high traces of mercury, including swordfish, shark, and mackerel. If you are eating out, ask the waiter about dishes to ensure your dish does not include these foods, which have been known to cause birth defects.
- 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 due to 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 to prevent labour on the route.
Pregnant women as 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 feces contain a virus that may cause toxoplasmosis infection. Hence, it is best not to clean your cat’s litter to avoid exposure to the virus.
- 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 moisturized and nourished. This, paired with a surge in hormones can contribute to a 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.
There’s so much to learn about pregnancy and still many unknowns. If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, work with your doctor. They can help you come up with a plan for a healthy pregnancy and delivery and can answer any questions you have about symptoms, complications, and what to expect.
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