A celebrated life event such as a pregnancy is often surrounded by the dark gloom of old wives’ tales. Our folks have been at it for years, and they always say that there’s no harm in following tradition. On the contrary – there are certainly some pregnancy myths that can be harmful and some just plain cause moms undue stress!
Pregnancy Myth No. 1: More morning sickness means you’re carrying a boy. It is said that a boy makes larger amounts of testosterone circulate in your system, therefore triggering nausea. In the same vein, it is said that testosterone also brings about acne in moms, and that one with an acne attack must surely be carrying a boy. But although acne and some illnesses are triggered by hormones, these hormones are in the mother’s system and not in the fetus’s. Besides, whatever hormones there are come in very miniscule amounts to even affect the mother in the first place.
Pregnancy Myth No. 2: You should eat for two people when you’re pregnant. It’s not the servings or portions that you should double, but majority of the nutrients. On average, a pregnant women requires only an extra 150 calories a day for the first trimester and an additional 250-300 calories for each day after that.
Pregnancy Myth No. 3: Computer radiation can cause miscarriage. CRT monitors manufactured since the mid-1980s only give off minute amounts of radiation and are not likely to affect a fetus even when the mother works on a computer 8 hours a day.
Pregnancy Myth No. 4: The baby can drown if you swim in water over your belly-button. The baby is already swimming in the amniotic sac filled with amniotic fluid, so obviously, there’s no way it can drown this way. On a more serious note, swimming is one of the best and safest exercises you can engage in during your pregnancy.
Pregnancy Myth No. 5: Stress can cause miscarriage. Regular, everyday stress such as meeting deadlines at work, dealing with a demanding boss, or performing the daily commute cannot be conclusively linked to miscarriages. However, severe chronic stress brought on by, say, a divorce or a death in the family has been associated with low birth weights or early miscarriages. This is highly likely due to the resultant increase in the hormones which trigger labor and decrease the fetus’s oxygen supply.
Pregnancy Myth No. 6: Vitamin E lotion can prevent stretch marks. The propensity to acquire stretch marks largely depends on a woman’s skin composition. There are women whose skin is elastic enough to survive the stretching during pregnancy, and there are those who develop very visible marks despite carrying a relatively small baby. Unfortunately, there’s no foolproof way to avoid them, although lotions and creams can soothe a very taut belly.
Pregnancy Myth No. 7: Pregnant women should not lift objects heavier than an average newborn baby. With the exception of those who have conditions restricting them to total bed rest during the course of their pregnancy, mothers are in no great danger if they go on their usual tasks. It’s important, though, to assume the correct posture when lifting weights: Kneel prior to lifting so your legs, not your back, support the load. Moreover, go light on your weight training if you were on a rigorous program before your pregnancy.
Pregnancy Myth No. 8: Your hips get wider with each pregnancy you have. Actually, the hips do widen to accommodate the baby during the delivery. However, they return to their normal position weeks after the event. What may be viewed as a widening of the hips can actually be the stubborn 5-10 pounds of fat that may remain around the waist and hip areas.
Pregnancy Myth No. 9: Baths must be avoided in the last few weeks of pregnancy. There’s no plausible reason to avoid the enjoyment of having a warm bath. However, when you’re almost due, the weight could bear you down and you are more at risk of slips and falls. The bath water should also be soothingly hot and not scalding. Avoid hot tubs and don’t have a bath after you’ve broken water.
Pregnancy Myth No. 10: When a woman gives birth, she has one foot in the grave. This, and the myth about making a will before going into labor, take the good feelings out of giving birth. Sure, there are risks, but if you watch your nutrition all throughout your pregnancy, see your obstetrician on schedule, and take the necessary precautions, your condition may even be a pleasurable experience. Regarding the writing of a will, do it not because you’re pregnant, but because every responsible adult needs to have one, especially once you start having children.