Myths of Pregnancy

watermelon seedsNow that you are expecting, you may expect “helpful” advice from relatives, in-laws, even the lady at the checkout counter. However well intentioned these people are some of the things you hear about how to take care of your baby are not always true. Here is a short list of the most common things we hear. If you have any doubts always bring it up to us, your physician. We can help you separate fact from fiction.

Fiction
You should not lift your hands over your head /touch your toes while pregnant or the baby will have the cord wrapped around its neck.

Fact
Up to 25 percent of fetuses have the umbilical cord wrapped around the neck. It is the baby’s activity in the womb not the mother’s activities during pregnancy that determines whether the cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck. Another important risk factor is a long umbilical cord. This is not something a pregnant woman can prevent. The good news is that nearly all of these babies develop normally and are successfully delivered.

 

Fiction
Dying your hair is harmful for your baby.

Fact
Dying your hair is safe as long as you use AMMONIA FREE dye to avoid any strong fumes.

 

Fiction
You shouldn’t take hot baths while pregnant.

Fact
Actually, you should avoid saunas, Jacuzzis or anything that raises your body temperature over 102 degrees, but a warm bath will relax your muscles and not cause any harm to your baby.

 

Fiction
You shouldn’t drink coffee while pregnant.

Fact
If a pregnant woman drinks less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day — the amount in about one 12-ounce cup of coffee — there’s no clear evidence she faces any increased risk of miscarriage or low birth weight.

 

Fiction
Walking makes labor go faster.

Fact
It will make you feel better, but there is no evidence that it is going to bring on labor, sorry.

 

Fiction & fact
You should abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. This one is true. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, along with all other American health authorities, advise women to stay away from alcohol; any amount can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

 

Fiction
To keep your unborn child safe, avoid sex and exercise during pregnancy.

Fact
If you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, there is no recommendation to avoid exercise or sex during pregnancy. The baby is protected in the uterus so that sex is unlikely to cause problems. Similarly, moderate exercise is not prohibited during pregnancy and is often recommended. Because excessive body heat can be harmful to a developing fetus, exercising in hot weather should be avoided. If your pregnancy is complicated by bleeding, pre-term labor or other problems, your obstetrician may recommend that you avoid sex as well as certain exercises. If you have any doubt about your pregnancy being complicated, ask us first.

 

Fiction
If you see something ugly when you’re pregnant, your baby will be ugly, too.

Fact
First of all, we can proudly say that at the Center for Women’s Health we have never delivered an ugly baby. Secondly, what you see during your pregnancy has no effect on your baby’s appearance. Genes determine your baby’s looks and as we all know, there are no ugly babies!

 

Fiction
If you watch a lunar eclipse during your pregnancy, your baby will have a cleft lip.

Fact
This ancient myth has been traced back to the Aztecs. They believed that an eclipse was a bite on the face of the moon. If a mother watched it, the same thing would happen to her baby. For protection, the mom must carry something metallic, such as a safety pin, on her underwear. Although it is a beautiful myth, the truth is that a cleft palate is caused by a blend of genetic and environmental factors that in no way include the planets.

 

Fiction
All women feel happy during pregnancy.

Fact
Research shows that pregnant women are just as likely as other women to suffer from mood disorders. Psychiatrists estimate that approximately 20 percent of pregnant women experience anxiety or depression. Depression during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight, so pregnant women who think they may be depressed should talk to their obstetricians. Therapy or antidepressant medication can help.

 

Fiction
You can determine the sex of the baby based on whether you are carrying low or high.

Fact
The only way to truly tell the baby’s sex is from an ultrasound or amniocentesis; all the other methods of prediction you hear about are old wives’ tales. Interestingly, fetal research is confirming some of the folklore about how to tell the sex of a baby. Women who have severe morning sickness really are more likely to have girls. This is about 56% in women with severe morning sickness. Women who rely on a dream or a “feeling” have an astonishingly good chance of being right 70% of the time.

 

Fiction
Children become overweight because of a genetic predisposition or because of family eating habits, not because of anything that happened during pregnancy.

Fact
Women who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy have four times the risk of having an overweight child, a relationship that persists into the offspring’s adolescence. Research shows that children born to normal-weight mothers are less likely to be overweight and have bodies that process fats and carbohydrates in a healthier way than brothers and sisters born to the same mother when she was overweight. This why it is essential that you follow your doctor’s recommendations regarding weight gain.

 

Fiction
Skip the flu shot

Fact
Some pregnant women worry the vaccine might give them the flu. Others fret that preservatives in the vaccine may hurt their unborn baby. A flu injection will not give women the flu, nor is there any evidence that the flu vaccine harms fetuses. Instead the flu shot can protect both. Women who get the flu while pregnant risk becoming extremely sick and have a higher risk of dying from the flu than the general population. If you are worried about preservatives seek out a thimerosal-free flu shot. More Information

 

Fiction
Keep fish off your plate

Fact
Eating two servings of fish per week can be healthy for mom and baby. Coldwater fish, in particular, contains lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which help with your baby’s brain development and vision. However, you must avoid fish high in mercury, such as swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel. Salmon, shrimp, and canned light tuna are better choices. Skip raw fish including sushi or sashimi. According to ACOG, raw fish is more likely than cooked fish to contain parasites and bacteria. It is acceptable, however, to eat cooked sushi.