10 Pregnancy myths, debunked

26 Dec 10 Pregnancy myths, debunked

Everything from books to magazines to talk shows to neighbors and colleagues have a belief about pregnancy do’s and don’ts, and some of them are outlandish than the others, but lets look at some of the most commonly believed myths.

MYTH 1: SWIMMING WHEN PREGNANT WILL DROWN YOUR BABY

Nonsense!  Baby is sitting in her very own spa bath right now… kicking back, fully immersed  in amniotic fluid, getting high on life, absorbing that rich oxygen supply that she’s receiving through your gorgeous placenta.

Swimming is great for you and your baby is enjoying the submarine experience.  Low-impact on your ligaments and a good way to gain strength and fitness for birth and beyond.  Baby will benefit from you feeling fabulous!

MYTH 2: SEX WILL CAUSE MISCARRIAGE

Puleease!  No one benefits from this one.  Let’s not make life miserable for no good reason. If you have a normal, low-risk pregnancy, sex will not trigger labour prematurely or cause miscarriage.

Whilst orgasm may cause mild uterine contractions (as can nipple stimulation and prostaglandins in semen), any contractions experienced will generally be harmless and temporary.

You may need to organize yourselves a little creatively, as that bump grows, but I think you’ll manage just fine

This is one myth I am pleased to bust!

MYTH 3: NO BATHS OR YOU’LL DAMAGE THE BABY

This suggestion is almost as miserable as abstaining from sex.

Baths can be super-theraputic during pregnancy; the warmth of a bath can help relax muscles, relieve swelling and reduce stress levels.  Win!

Just ensure that the bath water temperature is NOT hot.  If you find yourself inching slowly down into the water, you probably need to turn that tap on cold!  Be smart, and enjoy that lovely warm, well-deserved soak.

MYTH 4: DRINKING MILK INCREASES YOUR MILK SUPPLY

Uh, negatory… cute thought though.

‘Certainly a lot of what the mother ingests, goes into her breast milk, but milk, over any other type of liquid, doesn’t make a difference in the amount she produces’, says G. Edelstein, MD and Pediatrician.

MYTH 5: CAFFEINE WILL HARM YOUR BABY

Non andarci! (don’t go there!) Do they know your survival’s at stake?  If caffeine’s your vice, ladies, lean in.

If you load up on lattes, it’s true, baby may feel a buzz, as caffeine does cross the placenta.

Australian guidelines recommend you limit your intake to less than 200mg/day.  That’s about 2 instant joys (I mean, coffees) and 2-3 cups of tea.  You just need to work out the quantity of caffeine that’s in your preferred drink.  Check out The Bump Caffeine Chart for Pregnant Women.

Because, if you’re like me, Every.Drop.Counts.

MYTH 6: NO CHEESE, PLEASE!

You might be craving it right now and the good news is you only have to avoid SOME of it.  It’s the soft, mould-ripened and unpasteurised cheeses like brie, feta and goat’s cheese that can carry food-borne illnesses.

Haloumi, parmesan, pecorino, cheddar, tasty and fromage frais?  Load those crackers up ladies, they’re laden with calcium and are the perfect pregnancy snack!

MYTH 7: YOU NEED TO EAT FOR TWO

You might like this one…

I love food and if you’re growing a baby it’s tough work and requires more energy – an additional 300 calories/day to be more precise!

‘Eating for two’ is probably not the best guideline to go by, but make sure you in the least, benefit from those extra 300!

MYTH 8: SEAFOOD HARMS THE BABY

You can feel your fun being stripped away, can’t you?

Seafood is super good for you when you’re pregnant!  Packed with Omega 3 fatty acids and protein, seafood has big benefits for baby.

Seafood high in mercury and has been proven to impair baby’s brain growth and nervous system.  Swordfish, bigeye tuna, shark, marlin to name a few…  are ones to AVOID.

Raw fish can carry bacteria and parasites too, so, sorry moms, best stick with the cooked variety.  However, I hear that Tempura is calling you…

MYTH 9: YOU MUST SUFFER!

Some moms believe they need to shut up and put up with the effects of sickness during pregnancy – totally draconian and untrue!

Always consult your doctor first, however typical over-the-counter green-lights are given to: Tylenol for fever and headache, Robitussin for cold symptoms and Mylanta for heartburn/indigestion.

Many prescription medications are also fine to take during pregnancy, but always follow your doctor’s advice.

Very little research has been done on herbal supplements and the effects on an unborn baby, so again, best check with your doctor first.

Being a martyr is pointless at this stage.  No one will question that what you’re doing is hard work and a marathon at best.  Get what you need to help you do it in style, keeping your humour intact.

MYTH 10: DITCH THE MANICURE

This is promoted by the moms who are jealous of your pregnancy-glow and can’t stand the thought of you getting any more gorgeous.

You most definitely don’t need to forego your mani!  You would need to have long term exposure to these manicure products for there to be a problem, Dr. Stuart Fischbien, MD OB/GYN says.

Well-ventilated spas will be best, to avoid breathing in fumes, but probably the greater risk would be from infection from un-sterilised tools.

If you’re still with me, you may have noticed a pattern here.  Most of these myths seem centred around robbing you of joy and relief during your pregnancy!

I’m sure you’re careful and considered with your choices, but you and your baby also need to make it through this challenging journey, which of course includes a labour at the end!

I want you to thrive and make it to the big BIRTHday with a sense of humour and your sanity intact.  You go girl!


LUCY HERCUS
Mom of six fabulous kids and foster-mom to numerous others. Event manager, doula, childbirth educator, lactation counsellor, owner of Sydney Birth Support, Mamaway Advocate and an encourager of all moms out there giving it their best crack!
Mia Lo
mia.lo@mamaway.com
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