Pregnancy Myths – Sorting Fact From Fiction

Pregnancy | | INTIMINA
5 min read

From the moment women announce their pregnancy, they are besieged with unsolicited information and advice, that is, more often than not, based on half-truths, misinformation and old wives’ tales. Among these curious tidbits is the fact that heartburn during pregnancy means your baby will have more hair, and the myth that the position of your bump offers a clue to your baby’s gender.

As fun as these guessing games are, sometimes pregnancy myths can create unnecessary stress if taken seriously. We decided it was time to help you sort fact from fiction and clear up some of these pregnancy myths once and for all:

Myth #1: Eating for Two

We have all heard the phrase ‘eating for two, ’ and while it does seem to make sense that when you’re pregnant you need to consume enough food for one adult plus one baby, this isn’t actually the case.  As long as you have a healthy balanced diet and consume around 2000 calories per day, you and your baby will be getting more than enough sustenance. However, during the second and third trimester you should bump up your calorie consumption by 200-300 per day, which is about half an avocado or 50g of hard cheese.

Myth #2: Cut the Coffee

If you can’t face the morning without a cup of Joe, and the thought of giving it up makes you feel very, very tired, don’t panic! You can still enjoy a cup of coffee while pregnant. Though many people think that consuming even a little caffeine can cause miscarriage, this is not true. Whilst it would not be advisable to go crazy on the coffee, one or two cups a day is fine. You can have up to 200mg of caffeine per day without any risk to you or your child – that’s about  two instant coffees or one 10 ounce starbucks.

Myth #3: A Little Drink Won’t Hurt

Now this is a tricky one. Many medical professional advise against drinking when pregnant while others say light drinking occasionally won’t hurt. We are all warned that drinking heavily when pregnant can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) which manifests itself in birth defects and developmental issues.  While having a  sip of alcohol at a special occasion is unlikely to cause any serious problems, it is always best play things on the safe side as no amount of alcohol has been proven totally safe to consume whilst pregnant.

Myth #4: Skip the Fish

Good news – you can eat fish! Seafood can be a really great source of protein, iron, zinc and omega-3s, which are important for your baby’s growth and development. However there are certain types of fish that you should steer clear of; large, predatory fish like shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish. This is because their high mercury content can cause damage to the nervous system of the fetus. Make sure all the fish you eat is prepared carefully to prevent any bacteria that can make you sick. You don’t want food poisoning on top of morning sickness!

Myth #5: Don’t Pet the Cat

Many people believe that becoming pregnant means you need to get rid of your cat. This is not the case! Your cat will not make you sick, but its litter very well might. Cat feces can carry a parasite called toxoplasmosis, and in very rare cases women can pass it onto their unborn babies. If this happens, there is a chance your baby will develop a eye problems or suffer from mental disabilities as they grow up.

To minimize the risk of infection you need to be super careful when emptying the litter tray, or pass the job onto your partner if you can! If there is no one around to give you a hand then it’s best to wear gloves and a face mask, wash your hands and arms carefully and try to change the tray everyday. Also make sure to wipe down all of the surfaces the cat may have touched regularly, especially if it’s in a food prep area.

Myth #6: Let the Roots Grow

You may have heard that hair dye can seep through your scalp and harm your baby. However, the chances of the chemicals in the dye being absorbed through your skin and reaching your baby are very slim . If you are really worried about this, you can still dye your hair while taking extra precautions, for example, don’t let the dye touch your scalp, wear gloves when you apply or use a natural dye like natural henna (avoid black henna as it can cause allergic reactions).

Myth #7: No Jet-Setting for You

Getting onto an airplane whilst pregnant is fraught with questions; will the altitude affect the baby? Will the x-ray scanner harm my child? Am I even allowed to fly?

When you fly at altitude you are exposed to slightly more radiation than usual, yet there is no evidence to say that this can harm your baby. The same goes for airport x-ray scanners, they barely penetrate the body so it’s very unlikely to cause any kind of fetal exposure. And yes, you’re allowed to fly. Regulations do vary from airline to airline, but generally women can fly up to 36 weeks pregnant. After 28 weeks you will need a letter from your doctor giving you the go ahead.

Myth #8: Sex is Off the Menu

No, no and no! Sex is still on the menu! Some people believe that your partner’s, ahem, member, will poke at your baby and to them we say, “You need an anatomy lesson, right now!” Your baby is safely protected by the amniotic fluid in your uterus as well as the muscles of the uterus itself, so a little action between the sheets will do your little one no harm.

Certain old wives’ tales can be a fun way for relatives and friends to engage in your pregnancy – but it’s important not to put too much stock in them. If in doubt, speak with your doctor, because extra worry while you’re expecting is the last thing you need! So banish the myths, focus on the facts and enjoy your amazing pregnancy.

Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners

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