Mythbusting Pregnancy and Childbirth

March 30, 2016 — Leave a comment
Myths About Things to Avoid While Pregnant

Myth: You Should Not Get a Flu Shot
Fact: Quite the opposite, actually.  The flu shot is very important for pregnant women because if one was to become infected with the flu, they have a much higher risk of becoming very ill and a higher risk of dying from the flu than those who are not pregnant.  The immunities are also transferred to the baby which will help protect its delicate immune system during the first months after birth.  Some pregnant women worry that preservatives in the flu vaccine will hurt their unborn child, but studies show there is no evidence that the flu vaccine harms fetuses.

Pregnant woman about to get shot from doctor in office

Image courtesy of earlypregnancy.net

Myth: You Can’t Have Your Hair Colored While Pregnant
Fact: Chemicals from hair dyes are absorbed through the skin, but only in very minimal amounts, which are not harmful.  Play it safe by making sure you are having any chemical hair treatments done in a well-ventilated space with a fan.  And for those that are really worried, you can save all your hair treatments for the second and third trimesters.

Myth: You Shouldn’t Fly While Pregnant
Fact: Many pregnant women worry that radiation from airport body scanners and x-ray machines will harm their unborn babies.  But, have no fear.  The amount of radiation is very small will not harm unborn babies.  We are actually exposed to small amounts of radiation on the ground all the time.  So, go ahead and plan that babymoon.  Just make sure that you are safe and sound at home by 34 weeks, as that is usually when most doctors advice you cease travel.  Many airlines will also not allow you to board without a doctor’s note after 34 weeks.  You may run into some leg/ankle swelling while in-flight so make sure to pack some super-comfortable compression socks.

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Myth: Skip the Gym While Pregnant
Fact: If you’ve been a gym regular, there’s no reason to give it up.  It can actually be quite healthy for you and baby.  Just be sure to keep your workouts low-impact and avoid contact sports or any exercises done on your back.  Be sure to check with your doctor to make sure your routine is still safe.  You can help support your belly with the help of support garments or legwear.

Myth: Avoid Sleeping On Your Back
Fact: Doctor’s suggest that it is best to sleep on your left side since this sleep position is known to help increase blood flow to the uterus.  But, if sleeping on your back is more comfortable, there is no harm for your baby.

Myths About Eating While Pregnant

Myth: Double Up On Your Servings Because You’re Eating For Two
Fact: Not so fast!  Even though you are eating for two, you are not eating for two adults!  The average pregnant woman only needs an additional 300 calories per day to adequately nourish both mom and baby.  Normal weight gain should average around 25 to 35 pounds during the whole pregnancy.  Gaining too much can have lasting negative effects on the baby.

Myth: Don’t Eat Fish or Seafood While Pregnant
Fact: Fish is actually very healthy for both mom and baby, as fish contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which help with baby’s brain development.  Just make sure to stick with coldwater fish, salmon, shrimp or canned tuna, and avoid fish that are high in mercury, such as swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel.

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Image courtesy of Darkkong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Myth: Eat Three Healthy Meals A Day
Fact: It is actually better for a pregnant woman to eat 6 or 7 small meals per day.  Eating small amounts of healthy food frequently will help keep your blood sugar in normal ranges.

Myth: It’s Okay To Have a Small Drink
Fact: Nope!  Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that pregnant women completely avoid drinking alcohol.  There is no amount of alcohol that is safe during pregnancy.

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Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Myth: Avoid Caffeine While Pregnant
Fact: Just say no to alcohol, but a little bit of caffeine is okay.  You will definitely want to limit the amount of caffeine that you consume, but most doctors say that 200 milligrams or less a day is perfectly safe.  This amounts to roughly one 12-ounce cup of coffee.

Myth: Avoid Cheese While Pregnant
Fact: No need to cut out all cheeses, but do avoid the soft, unpasteurized cheeses like Brie, feta and goat cheese, as these can carry food-borne illnesses.  Other cheeses are perfectly safe.

Myths About Baby’s Gender or Appearance

Myth: How High or Low You Are Carrying Determines the Baby’s Gender
Fact: There is no scientific fact behind gender playing a role in the shape and position of a pregnant belly.  The look of your bump is determined by the woman’s muscle structure and abdominal fat, as well as the baby’s position and size.

Myth: Craving Certain Foods Reveals What Gender You Are Carrying
Fact: Scientific fact is lacking in this one, too.  Every woman, baby and pregnancy is different.  Different food cravings have no bearing on the baby’s gender.

Image of pregnant woman in blue clothes

Myth: Heartburn Means Baby Will Have a Lot of Hair
Fact: This one is certainly one of the more common myths, but heartburn and hair do not actually go hand in hand.  Many women who had heartburn have bald babies, while those who sailed through pregnancy without the hand on the Tums bottle have had babies with a full head of hair.

Myths About Labor and Delivery

Myth: Your Water Breaks When You Are In Labor
Fact: Sometimes a woman’s water breaks at that start of labor, but more than likely it is a further point through labor before it breaks.  Some doctors will even break your water to help labor progress further.  The bottom line is don’t wait for your water to break.  If your contractions are strong, regular and frequent, don’t wait.  Make your way to your hospital or birthing center.

Myth: Having an Epidural Increases Your Chances of Needing a C-Section
Fact: Studies show that getting an epidural to help relieve some of the pain of labor does not actually increase the risk of a c-section.  Every labor, childbirth, woman and baby is different.  Some may even find that the epidural help move things along.

americanpregnancy.org

Image courtesy of americanpregnancy.org.

Myth: First Babies Always Arrive Late
Fact: While there is a greater percentage of first time moms that deliver late, this is certainly not the rule.  Your menstrual cycle is actually a more accurate way to determine when your baby will arrive.  If your cycles are shorter, you’re more likely to deliver early.  Longer cycles might indicate a later baby.  But, even this is not an exact science.

Myth: Your Second Childbirth Will Be Easier
Fact: Although your first childbirth experience is usually the longest, it isn’t always.  And the second and subsequent births may not always be easier.  Everything will depend on the baby’s position and condition, as well as anything that might be affecting your health.

Myth: You Will Feel An Instant Bond With Your Baby
Fact: Although many moms do feel the bond right away, others may be feeling too exhausted or overwhelmed.  If you don’t feel that bond right away, don’t worry because your bond will grow stronger before you know it.

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Myth: Your Delivery Will Be Like Your Mother’s
Fact: Although you may have a similar body structure as your mother, this is not the only factor in determining what type of labor and delivery you will have.  The size and position of the baby is the main contributing factor, as well as your health, lifestyle and any number of complications that you may be experiencing.

Disclaimer: This article is meant to be informational.  Always follow the advice and recommendations of your doctor.  Consult your doctor before doing anything that you feel might be risky.

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