Pregnancy Myths advice in pregnancy is so common that it alone should be listed as a symptom along with the expanding belly. In this vein, we see pregnancy myths, or old wives tales, pregnancy urban legends if you will, that have been passed on from generation to generation. Most of these are harmless but can cause tension and stress for some people and a few are potentially dangerous.
We separate fact from fiction regarding pregnancy:
- “No caffeine, seafood, air travel or stress when you’re pregnant.”
Reality: Just because you’re pregnant, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. While a few things are off the table, such as alcohol and raw fish, not everything has to be. You can’t avoid stress, and a little bit of stress is good. Moderation is a good rule of thumb for most things, including activity, food and coffee. Also, anxiety about body image during pregnancy may lead to eating disorders.
Air travel is generally safe during pregnancy and probably the most comfortable in the mid-trimester. However, check with your provider before you book your trip. Travel might not be recommended if you have a high-risk pregnancy.
- “If your mother had an easy pregnancy and delivery, so will you.”
Reality: Hereditary factors have no role to play in predicting how easy or difficult your pregnancy and delivery will be. On the contrary, the size and position of the baby, your diet and lifestyle play a role in determining how things will be.
- “Sleeping or taking a nap on your back will hurt your baby.”
Reality: While you won’t harm your baby if you sleep in this position, you will feel better if you sleep on your side. Experts recommend sleeping on your left side since this is known to increase blood flow to your uterus and placenta.
- The shape and height of your belly can indicate your baby’s sex.
Reality: Although everyone’s sure you’re going to have a boy because you’re carrying low and a girl if it’s high, this popular belief just isn’t true. The facts suggest that the shape and height of your belly is determined by lots of other things including muscle tone, uterine tone (the strength, flexibility and muscular structure of the uterus), and baby’s position.
In fact, carrying low may mean your baby has dropped lower into the pelvis to prepare for delivery. The only way to determine your baby’s sex? Talk to your doctor about getting an ultrasound. Or if you prefer being surprised, just wait until he/ she arrives.
- Underwater births are better for the baby
Reality: It can be, depending on when. Doctors will encourage you to use water in the bath or shower early in labour. Once the baby’s head is delivered it requires air to survive, not water. If you deliver underwater your baby will have a lower Apgar score. Judicious use of water is encouraged early on in labour.
Enjoy your pregnancy and when in doubt, always consult a doctor before self-medicating.