Pregnancy, the most fulfilling experience in a girl’s life, has its share of ordeals. Apart from coping with the various body and mood changes, the mom-to-be is also an easy target of the grandmas, aunts, and countless well-wishers, always keen on advising her on the common dos and don’ts in her nine-month stint. Well, some facts hold relevance, while others are merely myths, prevailing in our society for ages.
Some myths and facts about pregnancy
1# Food myth: ” You are eating for two.”
Pregnant women are often pestered to have more food than their usual intake as they would eat not just for themselves but also for their yet-to-born.
Fact: The body’s capacity to absorb nutrients increases during pregnancy because of the fast metabolism rate. The total calories needed by a person with normal weight are 340 and 450 in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, respectively.
2# Diet choice myth: “Watch what you are eating”
The most common ones are related to gender, which says that sweet-lovers may get ready to decorate their homes in pink (expect a girl), while those loving to spice up their meals can go for blue home décor (expect a boy). It is also said that cravings for ice cream, chocolates, and pickles are the maximum during these months.
Fact: Food craving mostly occurs because of hormonal changes, having nothing to do with the baby’s gender. You can crave a plate of salad or fruits, not just ice cream or chocolates.
3# Pineapple may help in inducing labor.
Fact: Pineapple would induce labor only when consumed in increased amounts, say seven to ten slices at a time, as its bromelain content weakens the cervix, bringing in labor.
4# Sushi myth: Stay away from lip-smacking seafood.
Fact: If your taste buds accept sushi, well, there is no reason you should not eat your favorite seafood when pregnant. Cooked fish should be preferred to raw ones as the latter is high in parasites.
5# Cocoa butter myth: Your skin will glow as never before.
Fact: Studies have shown that cocoa butter does not positively impact the skin, as mentioned. Instead, in some cases, it is also said to trigger allergic reactions.
6# Coffee myth: Avoid drinking coffee.
Fact: Though drinking coffee is considered a big taboo when pregnant, experts may differ in opinion in this regard. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an intake of about 200 milligrams of coffee every day would be okay, though crossing this measurement may be harmful to the mother and baby
7# Chocolate myth: ” Keep your hands off the favorite bars.”
Fact: Recent studies have shown that pregnant women having chocolates would have happy babies. Another finding has mentioned that expecting mothers eating at least five or more chocolate servings in their third trimester are at low risk of pre-eclampsia.
8# Pregnancy test myth: “Check if you have a bun in your oven at home.”
Several at-home strategies to determine pregnancy have been doing the rounds for a long time. Common things used to test pregnancy include bleach, chlorine, vinegar, toothpaste, pine sol, onion, pepper, and so on.
Fact: Confirming your pregnancy using the kits available on the market would still fetch you accurate results, though the homemade remedies are not valid enough.
9# Heartburn myth: “Your baby’s growing tresses are giving you heartburn.”
Babies of pregnant women suffering from heartburn are born with more hair on their head.
Fact: It is believed that the baby’s long hair is causing the mother’s esophagus to burn. However, studies have associated a scientific link between the two, stating that certain pregnancy hormones responsible for heartburn influence hair growth. This equation does not always hold true as women having less heartburn are also seen giving birth to hairy babies.
10# Twin Pregnancy myth: ” They are two in waiting.”
Women with a higher degree of nausea or exhaustion or even those going through fertility treatments have a higher chance of giving birth to twins.
Fact: There is no clear evidence to prove the first point, as women carrying a single child may also have a high degree of morning sickness, while studies have shown that most twins are conceived naturally.
11# Full moon myth: “And it is the moon….”
The birth rates during a full moon are very high.
Fact: The moon’s gravitational pull is thought to strongly influence the woman’s body, resulting in contractions and early birth. However, there has been no scientific proof yet to validate this theory.
12# Sex myth:
Sex during pregnancy may hurt the baby or even induces labor.
Fact: The vagina stretches during this time, thus protecting the cervix, which is also sealed with a thick mucus plug. Unless you are in high-risk pregnancy, there is not much to worry about if you have taken safety measures and got your doctor’s nod
13# Work-out myth: “Stay away from the gym.”
Working out or exercising during pregnancy causes overheating and dehydration, thus harming the baby.
Fact: The above myth may prove right if proper measures are not taken. However, if you drink an adequate amount of water in between, as well as before and after exercise, dress in loose, breathable clothes, and avoid exercising outdoors during the scorching heat, then a moderate workout would not do you much harm.
Funny pregnancy myths
- Husband putting on weight during wife’s pregnancy means it is a girl.
- Your baby will look like the person you confront the most when pregnant.
- Acne during pregnancy indicates a girl-in-waiting.
- Swimming when pregnant may drown the baby.
- Anyone refusing a pregnant woman the food she craves would develop a sty in the eye.
- Getting very hairy when pregnant hints of a boy being in your womb.
Superstitious myths about pregnancy
- As good luck, hold on to a particular charm like a ring, chain, or bracelet.
- Eating spicy food might burn the baby’s eyes or lead to blindness.
- Attending funerals when pregnant is taboo in certain cultures.
- Going close to water bodies may cause the evil spirit to harming the baby.
- Restricting food cravings may cause the baby to have birthmarks in the shape of foods the mother had desired.
- Old wives’ tales say that glancing at an ugly animal when expecting might cause the child to resemble that particular creature.
- Hair cutting may harm the baby and even cause him to stutter.
- Seeing an eclipse when pregnant may make your baby cleft-lipped.
- According to Chinese myth, renovating or changing your home when pregnant may harm the baby leading to birth defects or miscarriage.
These myths about pregnancy have become part and parcel of our lives, and do we say we pay not much heed to them, circumstances compel us to rely on them. Though being cautious during these nine months would be fine, but believing in these myths and causing panic would not be fruitful for the mother and the baby in her womb.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.