Whether you are a first-time mother, subsequent mother or are trying to conceive, you most probably have a plethora of information. So, you will come across many pregnancy myths. There is a lot that happens in your body during the roughly 40 weeks that you carry your baby in the womb. You will hear and read a lot, the truth, lies, facts, and myths.
Information from a midwife or doctor can be trustworthy. However, information that comes from the sides should be verified. It seems everyone has advice for you when you get pregnant. Here are some common pregnancy myths that will get you thinking.
Everything You Need to Know About Pregnancy Myths
If you have heard several myths about pregnancy and wondering whether they are actually true or not, we will uncover that. Check these 11 myths on pregnancy that will enlighten you.
Myth 1: A natural birth is better than a caesarian section
You probably have heard experienced mothers say that giving birth naturally is better than going under the knife. Well, that is a personal preference. Every pregnancy is unique, and every mother has their preferred childbirth method.
The process of laboring and childbirth is long and physically grueling. There is no better option between vaginal delivery and surgery. It all depends on your mental preparedness. There is a general belief that natural childbirth is short and less painful. The truth is whether the contractions are natural or medically induced, it is painful. There is a considerable degree of pain in the moments leading to whichever way you choose to have your baby.
However, it is medically recommended to have natural childbirth except in cases where surgery is inevitable. There are benefits of either having a vaginal delivery or a caesarian section. Have your doctor explain to you how both procedures take place, the risks and benefits. If need be, you can choose the birth method that you find easy.
Myth 2: You should eat double, for you and for the baby
"Please serve double, you need it." "Take an extra plate, for the baby." These are some of the statements expectant mother hear. I mean, come on! You are pregnant, not starving.
You may indeed need to increase your calorie intake during pregnancy. However, you should avoid overeating. The process of increasing calorie intake should be gradually trimester by trimester.
During the first trimester, you may not need to increase the amount of food. You can keep the calories at the usual amount. In the second trimester, a calorie increase by slightly more than 300 per day will not do any harm. In the third and final trimester, they recommend a daily increase by 400.
Even with an increase in the number of calories, you should make sure that the food you eat remains rich in nutrients.
Myth 3: You only experience morning sickness in the morning
I think the phrase 'morning sickness' should be replaced with 'all day sickness' in the medical dictionary. Contrary to its name, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day. You can experience nausea and vomiting in the morning, noon, evening or at night. Only a small percentage of women experience nausea and vomit early in the morning.
Morning sickness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. It can run from mild to severe making a woman suffer psychologically and physically. Certain odors can trigger this condition, foods, excess saliva, and many other things. From nine weeks after conception, you will experience morning sickness any time anywhere.
As much as morning sickness is part of pregnancy, you do not have to suck it up. If it is severe, try conventional relief methods. In case that does not work, try FDA approved medication.
Myth 4: Avoid sex during pregnancy, it harms the baby
This is indeed a myth. Pregnancy should not be a reason for denying your partner his conjugal rights. Sex is pretty safe during pregnancy. You need to listen to your body and respond to your emotions. However, take extra care to make sex as gentle as possible. You need to communicate with your partner and find the most comfortable position especially for you.
It is safe to say that sexual intercourse during pregnancy does not harm the baby in any way. The placenta is perfect enough to cushion the baby against any harm. As you enjoy sex, keep in mind that you may experience some bit of vaginal bleeding post-sex. This is normal and should not be cause for alarm. If you feel uncomfortable, seek advice from the doctor.
In some cases, such as placenta praevia, your doctor may advise against having sex while pregnant.
Myth 5: You should not take coffee during pregnancy
Accept that coffee date from your close friend. Show up in time, drink cappuccino, Americano, latte, espresso, doppio, mocha, or flat white but go easy on the refills. Depending on the kind of coffee you drink, there is a lot of caffeine in it. Just like alcohol and cigar consumption, high amounts of caffeine are linked to miscarriages, still births and low birth weights, although there is no evidence to prove this.
Your doctor may allow small amounts of coffee per day, say less than 200 milligrams. This is caffeine found in about two cups a full caffeine coffee. Half and quarter caffeinated are also good choices during pregnancy. There are also varieties of decaffeinated coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases heart rate and blood pressure; both of these not being a good sign in pregnancy.
Now that we are on beverages, other caffeinated drinks that you can take (but in small amounts) include tea and coke. Lots of fluids are also recommended.
Myth 6: It is dangerous to exercise while pregnant
From the midwife's mouth to your ears, exercise is good for you. You need to take it easy in the first trimester. As the pregnancy progresses, it will be safe to return to your normal workout routine in the second trimester.
Without fear of hurting yourself or the baby, you are at liberty to slowly walk down the stairs, take a walk around the neighborhood regularly, and go for yoga and swimming sessions. Light aerobic exercises 2-5 days in a week are good for a healthy pregnancy and better labor and childbirth process. Exercising also reduces backaches and makes you sleep better.
The best cardio exercises you can do include swimming, running, walking, elliptical, indoor cycling, aerobics, kickboxing and strength training. Certain yoga poses, crunches and sit-ups may be good during the first trimester but you should stop as the pregnancy grows. Generally, avoid exercises that put so much strain on the abdomen or ones that require you to lay on your back for long periods.
As much as exercising is highly recommended, your midwife may ask you not to exercise at all if you have severe anemia, chronic heart or lung condition, or preeclampsia.
Myth 7: A glass of liquor and a cigar will not cause the baby any harm
You probably do not believe that, do you? Of all pregnancy myths, this is ridiculous. Do not be deceived, alcohol however minimal the quantity is bad for your little one. A small amount of alcohol or cigarette smoked in the first trimester increases the risk for premature childbirth. Smoking leads to slow growth and can reduce placental function.
Do not smoke or indulge in alcohol during pregnancy, if you do, you will have a miscarriage. If by chance you survive the miscarriage, you will be running a risk of your baby being born with low birth weight, premature birth or stillbirth. In fact, it is the biggest risk factor for sudden infant death and fetal alcohol syndrome.
To be on the safe side, stay away from the liquor store, from friends who drink, and avoid stocking even a bottle of wine in your refrigerator.
Myth 8: Pregnant women should not pet cats
There is a lot of noise about pregnant mothers not being allowed to rare cats. The reason being, cats spread toxoplasmosis. A pregnant woman can easily get exposed to this parasitic infection and transmit the same to the unborn baby. Toxoplasmosis infection can lead to a miscarriage or malformed baby.
While all these are true, pregnant mothers should not be prohibited from petting cats. It all lies in the way you handle the litter box. The parasite is carried in cat feces. So, if you avoid handling or wear gloves when handling the litter box, you should be safe from this fatal parasite.
Myth 9: A pregnant woman should always sleep on the left side
How is this possible? Even in the absence of pregnancy, it is practically impossible to always sleep on one side. There is no scientific proof that sleeping on the left side is safe for both the mother and the unborn baby. With all the restlessness that comes with pregnancy, why not just find the best position to sleep. You are allowed to shift positions as many times as you want as long as you are comfortable.
Sleeping on the right or left side may become more comfortable as the pregnancy progresses and the fetus grows. The second and well into the third trimester may see the uterus putting a lot of weight on blood vessels and other structures. This makes the baby and you uncomfortable if you sleep on your back.
The rule of thumb for the best sleeping position is "SOS" (sleep on sides). Sleeping on the left side increases the amount of nutrients and blood that reach your baby. But this does not mean you should always sleep on the left side.
Myth 10: Spicy foods induce labor
There is no evidence to back up the theory of spicy foods inducing labor. There is no direct connection between the uterus and the stomach. Your baby will come out when he or she wants. So, you should not think that a particular type of food loaded with spices will bring on contractions and subsequent childbirth.
If spicy foods would induce labor, most women would give birth when they want and not when the time is right. I mean, what will stop you from eating a whole two plates of spice food at 30 weeks?
Some spicy foods are known to increase heartburn and irritate your intestines as opposed to inducing labor. So, do not stock your refrigerator with pineapples, papaya, black licorice, garlic, cumin tea, cohosh, and castor oil in the hope that they will help you when the time for childbirth comes because they will not.
Myth 11: A big bump is always a big baby
No, this is not true at all. Some mothers have had big bellies but end up with a 2.8kg infant while others have had tiny bumps but deliver a whopping 3,7kg babies. The size of your belly does not quickly tell the size of the baby you will have.
Being told that your bump is big and you will have a big baby can cause fear of childbirth. A phrase indicating that your belly is small can also cause a lot of anxiety and thinking that your pregnancy is abnormal. It is safe to leave the issue of bump size in relation to baby size to the midwives.
There are different reasons why a pregnant woman's belly appears big. The height of the mother and how the baby is positioned in the womb contribute to the size of the bump. Your bump may also look big because of too much amniotic fluid accumulating. Another common reason for your belly appearing big could be multiple pregnancies.
These are just a few from a basket full of pregnancy myths. If you are worried about your health and that of your unborn baby, seek advice from your midwife. Now that we have debunked a few of the common myths about pregnancy, you can go ahead and start preparing for conception, take care of your pregnancy, and do not be anxious about childbirth.
If other women have survived pregnancies and childbirths through all these myths, so should you. Finally, your child will not get a cleft palate if you go out in the lunar eclipse during pregnancy, just thought you should know.