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13 Common Myths About Pregnancy

Myths About Pregnancy

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Pregnancy and childbirth can be both exciting and scary. A woman’s body will experience many physical and emotional changes during pregnancy.

When you’re pregnant, you want to do what’s best for you and your baby. There’s plenty of legitimate, evidence-based advice on pregnancy dos and don’ts, but there are some you can safely ignore.

Eat as much as two people

Myth #1: Eat as much as two people

Eat for two during pregnancy is a popular phrase that should not be taken literally. A pregnant woman does not need to eat twice! Doubling your calorie intake can lead to weight gain, which can cause problems later in pregnancy.

A pregnant woman should consume only 200 extra calories daily and focus on developing healthy eating habits. The baby needs nutrients to grow and develop, and the mother should eat a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and calcium-rich foods.

drink alcohol during pregnancy

Myth #2: It’s okay to have an occasional glass of wine

You should never drink alcohol during pregnancy. There is no safe amount or type of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, and even moderate consumption can lead to lifelong problems for your baby. Alcohol-related birth defects are completely preventable.

Myth #3: It is not possible to get pregnant during an irregular period

Another pregnancy myth is that irregular periods are a sign of infertility. Hormonal balance regulates the menstrual cycle very delicately. Sleep disturbances, exercise routines, and stress levels can all alter periods. However, if you are consistently irregular, it may be more challenging to get pregnant due to your inability to accurately predict ovulation.

If you experience irregular periods, especially if you haven’t had a period for three or four months, talk to your gynecologist. They can help determine if there is an underlying health problem and talk about treatment options and lifestyle changes that can help increase your chances of getting pregnant.

Myth #4: All bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy means miscarriage

While any bleeding at any stage of pregnancy can be alarming, it is not always associated with miscarriage. Vaginal bleeding is very common in the first trimester, occurring in 20 to 40 percent of women. However, it’s still important to talk to your doctor if you’re bleeding during pregnancy to get the situation evaluated.

Myth#5: If you are over 35, your pregnancy will be high risk

A pregnancy that begins after a woman turns 35 is considered a “high-risk pregnancy” because the specific risks are slightly higher and not inevitable. Most mothers aged 35 or older have normal pregnancies and healthy babies. Being an older mom has its perks, including financial stability and more life experience that can help you along your parenting journey.

Talk to your gynecologist about the types of complications that may occur. These complications can be caused by underlying health problems that become more common with age, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Getting the right treatment for these issues can increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

If you’re 35 or older, make an appointment with your gynecologist and consider the benefits of preconception counseling when you start trying to conceive.

Myth #6: Breastfeeding is done naturally

Many new mothers think breastfeeding is an instinct that comes naturally, but this is not always true. While babies are born with a reflex to seek their mother’s breast, it is quite natural for a mother to need coaching and support to position her baby for breastfeeding. Breastfeeding takes time and practice. The decision to breastfeed is a personal decision and must be made consciously.

drink coffee if you are pregnant

Myth #7: You should not drink coffee if you are pregnant

While a pregnant woman should not drink alcohol, she can enjoy a cup of coffee. Moderation plays an important role in consumption. Research shows that moderate caffeine consumption (200 mg or less per day) does not cause miscarriage or premature birth. This is equivalent to about a 12-ounce cup of coffee. Limiting your caffeine intake from soft drinks, tea, and chocolate is important if you prefer to enjoy a cup of coffee.

Myth #8: After a C-section, you will have C-sections for all future pregnancies

Many women believe that after giving birth by cesarean section, they should plan a cesarean section for their future pregnancy. But this is not always the case. Vaginal delivery after cesarean section (VBAC) is now considered an option for many women. Depending on the mother’s health history, the reason for the primary cesarean, and the location of the cesarean scar, the gynecologist may allow the mother to experience a natural delivery.

Myth #9: All mothers are happy after giving birth

While there will be moments of joy in the journey of motherhood, the idea that everything will happen naturally and easily is inaccurate. Having a baby is a significant life-changing experience, and adjusting takes time and patience.

Some women get the “baby blues” about 2 to 3 days after giving birth and may feel depressed, anxious, or upset. A sudden change in hormones can cause this, and it usually gets better within a few days or 1-2 weeks after giving birth.

The first trimester after giving birth is often called the “fourth trimester.” You may experience changes in your emotions and physical abilities during this time.

If a new mother is struggling with overwhelming feelings of sadness, intense anxiety, and hopelessness that keep her from performing daily tasks, she may be experiencing postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is a serious condition, and if you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your obstetrician.

Myth #10: Pregnant mothers have strange cravings

It is a common pregnancy myth that expectant mothers experience strange cravings.

Hormonal changes in the body that alter taste and smell can often trigger cravings. Additionally, sudden spikes and dips in blood sugar levels can cause moms to crave sugar-laden convenience foods. However, each person experiences these hormonal and blood sugar changes differently.

Lack of desire does not indicate a problem for the mother or the unborn child. If you are pregnant, don’t crave fatty or sugary foods, and can make healthier food choices, consider yourself lucky.

Call your doctor if you crave non-food items such as dirt, mud, or laundry detergent. This condition, known as pica, may indicate severe anemia and requires immediate attention.

Myth 11: Morning sickness only occurs in the morning

Many pregnant women experience nausea or vomiting. It is not limited to mornings but can occur at any time of the day due to regular hormonal fluctuations. Morning sickness usually gets better after the first trimester.

 Myth #11: Creams and serums can stop stretch marks

While some creams can improve the fading of stretch marks once they develop, no cream can completely protect against the development of stretch marks if it is a hereditary trait. However, hydrating the skin helps keep it supple and speeds up healing.

Myth #12: You shouldn’t have sex during pregnancy

If your pregnancy is normal and uncomplicated, having sex and having an orgasm does not increase your chances of preterm labor or miscarriage. However, in late pregnancy, sex and orgasm can cause mild contractions known as Braxton Hicks contractions. While they are unpleasant, they are entirely normal and will go away.

exercise during pregnancy

Myth#13: You should not exercise during pregnancy

This myth has been debunked! Unless advised otherwise by a healthcare provider due to specific medical concerns, exercise during pregnancy is generally safe and even encouraged. Regular physical activity can help maintain the mother’s and baby’s health and well-being. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting or continuing any exercise regimen during pregnancy to ensure it’s appropriate for your circumstances. Certain high-impact or contact sports may need to be avoided, but there are plenty of safe and effective exercises, such as walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga, that can be beneficial during pregnancy.

The bottom line

In short, many myths surround pregnancy, but it’s crucial to separate fact from fiction for the health and well-being of both the mother and the baby.

Additional questions

  1. When should a pregnant woman visit an ob-gyn?

A pregnant woman should typically visit an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) or another healthcare provider specializing in prenatal care as soon as she discovers she is pregnant or suspects she might be pregnant.

  1. Should pregnant women completely avoid hot tubs and saunas?

Pregnant women are generally advised to avoid prolonged exposure to high temperatures, such as those in hot tubs and saunas, especially during the first trimester. Elevated body temperature during pregnancy, particularly in the early stages, can pose risks to the developing baby, including neural tube defects.

  1. Are there certain sleeping positions that pregnant women should avoid?

Pregnant women are generally advised to avoid sleeping on their backs, especially as the pregnancy progresses, due to the potential for decreased blood flow to the uterus and other organs. Instead, sleeping on the left side is typically recommended, as it promotes better circulation and can alleviate pressure on major blood vessels.

  1. What does the desire to consume ice during pregnancy indicate?

Craving ice during pregnancy might indicate pica, often associated with iron deficiency anemia. Pregnant women experiencing this craving should consult their healthcare provider to check their iron levels and receive appropriate treatment if necessary.

  1. What is the cause of hair loss after childbirth?

Postpartum hair shedding, or hair loss after childbirth is common and typically occurs due to hormonal changes. During pregnancy, elevated hormone levels can prolong the growth phase of hair, resulting in thicker hair. After childbirth, hormone levels drop, causing hair to enter the shedding phase simultaneously, leading to noticeable hair loss. This shedding usually starts around three to six months postpartum and resolves independently over time.