If you are pregnant, you would have probably heard a dozen pieces of advice about the mother and baby’s well-being. Much of the advice is self-explanatory, such as eating healthy or resting. But some pieces of advice could be myths or harmful.
Top Ten Pregnancy Myths
Pregnancy Myth #1: You Must Eat for Two
There is no evidence to support this myth. In fact, overeating can lead to maternal weight increase and childhood obesity.
For the first six months, the child will receive everything from you, so you won’t need to consume any additional calories. Once you reach the third trimester, you might require an additional 200 to 300 calories per day (on top of the 2,000 recommended daily calories).
Pregnancy Myth #2: You Should Avoid Caffeine While Pregnant
Previously, pregnant women were advised to avoid caffeine while pregnant. However, recent research has shown that with a few precautions, moderate amounts are safe. In fact, pregnant women can safely take up to 200 milligrams of caffeine per day, equal to one or two cups of coffee.
Caffeine can pass through the placenta barrier. Therefore, be mindful not to consume more than 200ml per day since this can increase your chance of miscarriage. Caffeine can also be found in many sodas and chocolates, so beware.
Pregnancy Myth #3: You Can’t Work Out While Pregnant
Exercise is beneficial for your physical and mental well-being as well as your baby’s health.
If you exercised regularly before getting pregnant and are used to your routine, keep up your exercise regimen after consulting your healthcare provider. Stay away from new, vigorous activities like holding your breath, excessive bouncing or stretching, jumping, rapid jerk movements, advanced abdominal moves, and heated conditions like hot yoga.
Aim for 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week while pregnant. Start with gentle workouts such as walking, light yoga, and simple at-home exercises if you weren’t active before pregnancy.
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Pregnancy Myth #4: You’ll Have Weird Cravings
It’s a widespread pregnancy myth that expectant mothers experience weird cravings.
Hormonal changes in your body that alter taste and smell can often cause cravings. Additionally, sudden spikes and drops in your blood sugar levels can make you crave comfort foods loaded with sugar. However, each person experiences these hormonal and blood sugar changes differently.
In truth, the absence of cravings does not indicate a problem with you or the unborn child. Consider yourself lucky if you don’t crave fatty or sweet foods and can make healthier food choices.
Call a doctor if you crave inedible items like dirt, mud, or laundry detergent. This condition, known as pica, may indicate severe anaemia and requires immediate attention.
Pregnancy Myth #5: Morning Sickness Only Occurs in the Morning
Many pregnant women experience nausea or vomiting. This is not restricted to mornings but can occur at any moment of the day due to regular hormonal fluctuations.
Although morning sickness usually gets better after the first trimester, there are easy methods to take care of yourself throughout those first three months.
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Choose foods carefully
- Snack often
- Take care with prenatal vitamins
- Rinse your mouth after vomiting
- Pay attention to your nausea triggers
Pregnancy Myth #6: Creams and Serums Can Stop Stretch Marks
While some creams can improve the fading of stretch marks once they have developed, no cream can fully protect against the development of stretch marks if they are an inherited trait. However, hydrating your skin helps keep it soft and speeds up the healing. If you’re concerned about stretch marks, carefully use a toxin-free moisturiser three times a day to keep your skin soft throughout the pregnancy.
While shea butter, cocoa butter, and deep moisturising creams effectively reduce stretch marks, see your doctor about the skincare products that are most appropriate for you.
Pregnancy Myth #7: You Can Tell the Baby’s Sex During Pregnancy
There are many myths about how one can determine the baby’s sex. Some base it on the baby’s activity level, while some say it depends on the mother’s food cravings.
The sex of your child cannot be determined using such methods.
Pregnancy Myth #8: You Can Drink a Couple of Glasses of Wine
It’s a popular misconception that pregnant women can enjoy a glass or two of wine. Unfortunately, there is no supporting evidence for this.
Since every woman is different and metabolises alcohol differently, there is no safe alcohol consumption recommendation that protects against potential overuse and foetal harm.
Pregnancy Myth #9: You Can’t Be Around Cats While Pregnant
If you have a cat, this is certainly good news. Having a cat doesn’t increase your chances of getting toxoplasmosis, which can be harmful to your unborn baby.
However, if you are pregnant, you should avoid cat litter because the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis lives in cat faeces. Therefore, avoid adopting new cats, have your litter box changed regularly, and keep your cats indoors while pregnant. You should also wear gloves when gardening because the soil can be contaminated with cat faeces or wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with water and soap.
Pregnancy Myth #10: You Should Not Have Sex While Pregnant
You can surely have sex while pregnant if your doctor didn’t advise against it.
If your pregnancy is normal and without complications, having sex and orgasms will not increase your chances of going into labour prematurely or causing a miscarriage. However, later in pregnancy, sex and orgasms can cause mild contractions known as Braxton Hicks contractions. While they are unpleasant, they are perfectly normal and will pass.
Pregnancy myths can cause confusion and anxiety among women. Always consult your doctor before accepting these myths to ensure your and your baby’s well-being.
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