Over the years, old wives’ tales about pregnancy have remained remarkably persistent. However, just because they have stood the test of time doesn’t mean they’re any more true today than they were then.
Don’t tell your ancestors, but many of these pregnancy myths, whether they’re about the baby’s health outcomes or gender, can’t stand up to scientific data.
Some of the myths are interesting, while others lead to misunderstanding and confusion about the health and wellbeing of pregnant women. Keep reading as we debunk some of the most common pregnancy myths.
Myth: Pregnant Women Can’t Drink Coffee
At one point, doctors told pregnant women to abstain from drinking caffeine entirely. Now, however, research shows that it is safe in moderate amounts—as long as you take precautions. According to experts, pregnant women can consume up to 200 milligrams of caffeine a day.
Think of 200mg as one 12-ounce cup of coffee.
It would help if you still took caution, as more than this can increase the risk of miscarriage. Caffeine can penetrate the placenta, so watch how much you consume and avoid breaching the limit. Keep in mind that many chocolates and soft drinks contain caffeine as well, so include those in your daily count.
Myth: Pregnant Women Are Eating for Two
Unfortunately, you can’t use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. There’s no evidence to suggest that a woman must eat double to give her baby everything it needs. Actually, operating can result in the mother gaining too much weight as well as child obesity.
Our bodies are pretty amazing, and your baby will get all of the nutrients they need without the need to eat for two.
However, when you reach the last trimester, you may need to eat an extra snack.
Myth: Pregnant Woman Have Weird Cravings
Have you ever heard the myth that pregnant women crave pickles and peanut butter?
There’s no evidence to prove that pregnancy influences cravings. If you have strange cravings, it is likely due to hormonal changes that affect your taste and smell.
You can also develop cravings for comfort foods triggered by sharp dips and peaks in your blood sugar levels. However, this is different from person to person. If you don’t crave anything during pregnancy, there isn’t anything wrong with you. In fact, consider it a win because you’ll be able to make healthier choices for yourself and your baby.
Side note: tell your doctor or midwife if you have strange cravings for inedible things like clay, dirt, or laundry detergent. This typically stems from Pica which is a symptom of severe anemia.
Myth: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Exercise
If you have the energy, you should absolutely exercise throughout your pregnancy. Not only is this good for your baby, but it’s beneficial for you and your mental health.
Once you consult with your physician or midwife, you can return to your pre-pregnancy workout routine. Just don’t try anything new and strenuous such as jumping, bouncing, sudden jerk movements, holding your breath, and working out in hot environments.
You should attempt to fit in 30 minutes of activity at least five days a week throughout your pregnancy. If you didn’t exercise before you became pregnant, you can practice gentle, low-impact exercises at home.
Myth: Morning Sickness Occurs Only in the Morning
Between 70-80% of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, however, this sickness can occur at any time of the day.
Morning sickness is most common during the first trimester and often improves as pregnancy progresses. If you’re feeling sick, aim to frequently eat small snacks such as toast, dry cereal, or crackers.
Myth: Certain Serums and Creams Can Prevent Stretch Marks
Many creams claim to be the miracle cure for stretch marks, but no serum or cream can ultimately prevent you from getting stretch marks if they’re inside of your genetic makeup.
However, it’s wise to keep your skin moisturized, as this will help it recover more quickly. If you’re concerned about stretch marks, frequently apply a moisturizer at least three times a day during your pregnancy. This will help keep your skin supple and soft. Cocoa butter, shea butter, and jojoba oil work well but talk to your doctor about your options.
Myth: Pregnant Women Can Drink Wine
A common myth is that it’s perfectly fine for a pregnant woman to have a glass of wine or two during pregnancy. However, there is no safe recommendation for alcohol consumption.
If you drink too much, you may harm your baby. You should also avoid drinking during breastfeeding, as alcohol can seep into breast milk.
Myth: It’s Possible to Tell a Baby’s Sex During Pregnancy
Whether someone told you to hold a wedding ring over your abdomen to see which direction in turns, check your baby’s position in your stomach, or determine the sex by noting how active the baby is, you’ve been told a wives’ tale. Have some fun with these at your baby shower, but don’t buy any baby clothes just yet. None of these methods can tell you the gender of your baby—that is what ultrasounds are for!
By the way, did you know that someone has a 50/50 chance of predicting your baby’s gender correctly? This is because the ratio of boys to girls born worldwide is 105:100.
Avoid Spreading These Common Pregnancy Myths
Pregnancy myths have always existed, and it’s likely you’ve heard at least a couple of the old wives’ tales on this list. While these myths are all in good fun, some of them are more serious than others, so it’s important to stay educated for a healthy pregnancy.
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