Pregnancy is a time when one gets to hear a number of myths; you must heard them all. Relax. A lot of the things you hear might not have a scientific basis. Here we deal with some of your worst pregnancy concerns, which could prove to be mere myths.
Learn what’s true and what’s not as we expose 20 common myths.
1. KEEP YOUR PREGNANCY A SECRET TILL YOU CROSS YOUR THIRD MONTH
The day a woman discovers she’s pregnant, she is advised by close family members—usually female and elderly, to keep it a closely guarded secret. Reason—revealing the happy news before completing the first trimester can invite the ‘evil eye’ and result in a miscarriage. Here the poor new to-be mother is bursting to announce the good news to all and sundry, but instead she has to wait a full three months before her world knows.
There is rationale behind this—the first trimester is considered a ‘risky’ period, as there are more chances of miscarriage. But the evil eye et al is to be ignored completely. The first trimester is usually the time when most women experience nausea and other unpleasant factors of pregnancy, so imagined being in office and running to the rest room every five minutes! You will either be ticked off for goofing or the women in the office will definitely catch on. Better you tell them and revel in the pampering from your colleagues as well! And remember, well wishers will only be happy for you.
2. THE SHAPE AND SIZE OF YOUR BELL CAN DETERMINE YOUR BABY’S SEX
This is something no pregnant woman will have missed. It goes like this: ‘If your tummy is sticking out and not one seeing you from behind would guess you’re pregnant, it’s a girl!’ Listening to the finality of that verdict, one would feel like telling the ultrasonologists of the world to look for another profession!
The final word however, is that the shape and size of the belly depend on many factors like the build of the mother, the size and position of the baby, and the amount of fluid around the baby. There is no correlation whatsoever with the sex of the baby.
3. GLOW FOR A GIRL. NO GLOW FOR A BOY
This is another gem! If you start glowing and look more beautiful during your pregnancy you’re sure to have a girl; if you don’t, it’s a boy. All pregnant women glow in the second trimester of pregnancy due to better circulation and a sense of well-being. It bears no relationship to the sex of the baby.
4. IF YOU DENY YOURSELF A FOOD ITEM THAT YOU CRAVE DURING PREGNANCY, THE BABY WILL HAVE SOME FLUID OOZING OUT OF HIS EARS!
Sounds disgusting! But it’s a very common myth. All pregnant women have food cravings; this is called ‘Pica’. The cravings should be indulged, within reason. For example, too many sweets and fried foods are bad for pregnant mothers and will cause undesired weight gain.
5. YOU HAVE TO EAT FOR TWO
Yeah sure! Take this seriously and get ready to continue to look nine months pregnant even after delivery. What one has to remember is that the second person for whom you are supposed to be eating is about the size of a seed at first. Ensure that you take in a healthy 300 extra calories a day, that’s all. And once the baby is born, she will start eating for herself, you don’t do it for her!
6. EATING GHEE AND BUTTER WILL ENSURE A SMOOTH DELIVERY
Most first-time mothers are already dreading the horrors of labor and in that vulnerable state; they are ready to do anything that will ensure a smooth delivery. So they start having dollops of ghee and butter. Towards the ninth month of pregnancy, mothers are fed ghee and butter to ostensibly lubricate the passage for a smooth delivery. There is small element of scientific fact in this. Ghee and butter irritate the intestine and cause loose motions. The same nerve supply to the intestines also supply to the intestines also supplies the uterus which then starts contracting and these pre-labor contractions soften the cervix or mouth of the womb, which makes for an easier delivery. By the same rationale, obstetricians give their patients castor oil around the due date so as to encourage uterine contractions and induce labor. If your weight comes under a reasonable limit, you can have ghee, if not, stay away. Bottom-line: Check with your doctor and practice moderation.
7. SLEEP POSITIONS AFFECT DELIVERY
Pregnant women are often told to sleep in a particular position, facing the altar, facing the sun or facing any particular direction to have a child of the desired sex. No truth here! Any sleeping position which is comfortable is fine. Sleeping on the tummy is also acceptable in the first trimester. However, from the eighth month onwards, a pregnant woman should not sleep on her back, as the uterus is always rotated to the right and the heavy baby then causes pressure on the Inferior Vena Cava, the large vein which carries impure blood to the heart for oxygenation. This causes discomfort to the mother and reduced blood supply to the baby. Hence, either a left lateral position or a right lateral position is preferred. If you have a high blood pressure, doctors recommend that you lie on your left side for about 10 minutes twice a day.
8. CERTAIN FOODS WILL GIVE YOU A FAIR OR DARK BABY
Taking iron supplements will make the baby dark! Sadly, many mothers are discouraged from taking iron supplements because of this. Not taking iron supplements makes the pregnant woman anemic, leading to a host of complications during pregnancy and labor. Some women are told to stay away from urinals…. Aubergine colored baby… no thank you! Here’s another one about having saffron in milk to make the baby fairer. Skin color depends on genes handed down by the parents; saffron or anything will not change anything. One mother I know used to down orange juice by the gallon in the hope of having a fair baby – all she got was acidity!
9. SEX WILL INDUCE LABOR
It will not. There are also other myths about sex stating that intercourse during pregnancy can result in deformity. No truth about either. Whether or not to indulge in sex is determined by an individual’s health, preference, comfort level and the doctor’s advice. There is nothing to stop a woman from enjoying sex till the day she delivers, provided the above factors are taken into account.
10. A HEADSTAND AFTER SEX WILL HELP A WOMAN IN GETTING PREGNANT
Okay! This might only help in giving a woman a broken neck! The journey of the sperm through the fallopian tubes is not affected by gravity in any way. These tubes are actually quite curvy; therefore, a headstand is not going to improve your chances of an egg being fertilized. However, some experts believe that lying down for 20 to 30 minutes after sex can improve the chances of conception.
11. YOU CAN’T GET PREGNANT IF YOU’RE BREASTFEEDING
This one of the myths the many women wish were true. It is said that breastfeeding works as birth control only during the first six moths, after which you are on your own! Chances of pregnancy increase after the mother resumes her menstrual cycle also. So don’t take it too easy on this front, or you will face another pregnancy before you’ve recovered from one!
12. SMALL BREASTED WOMEN WILL NOT HAVE ENOUGH MILK
As absurd as it sounds, this myth is extremely common. Size, as in many cases, doesn’t matter here either! If you are having plenty of liquids, a fair amount of rest and relaxation and adequate nutrition, there’s no reason why you won’t produce enough milk, small breasts or big!
13. ECLIPSE EVASIONS
Eclipses are a particularly fecund source of myths related to pregnancy. Some of them—if a pregnant woman steps out of her house during an eclipse, her baby will be born with some deformity. Another one, if a pregnant woman touches her belly during an eclipse the by will have a birthmark. Anyone who believes these needs to look up the section on eclipses in an encyclopedia!
14. DELIVERY WAYS ARE HEREDITARY
If your mom’s had a Caesarean, you will surely have one! The kind of delivery you will have depends entirely on your body type, the baby’s position and your state of body and mind throughout your term. Hereditary has no place here. If this were the case, all a gynecologist would need to do would be read up the pregnant woman’s mother’s reports!
15. AVOID THE COMPUTER!
Don’t log off yet, there is no evidence to prove that exposure to the computer is harmful for pregnant women. Yes, sitting for long hours in front of the computer can cause other complications, but the computer is not to be blamed for those! Once again, practice moderation and there is no need to disconnect.
16. KEEP AWAY FROM METAL DETECTORS
Many women fear that metal detectors will cause their unborn foetus harm. Well, metal detectors are nothing but magnetic field rays, they cannot cause you any harm….. How can they then cause someone she’s living inside the safe confines of your body any harm? Worry not and breeze your way through them without a fear!
17. SAY NO TO COFFEE
Don’t ban it off your list, unless you down a cup every 10 minutes. If you do, it‘s a cause for worry whether you are pregnant or not. Most experts believe that a small amount of caffeine doesn’t make the slightest difference. Stick to one cup a day. But, be sure to drink a lot of water as well.
18. YOU CAN’T TAKE ANY MEDICATIONS AT ALL
It seems that some women don’t heed advice about stopping harmful substances in pregnancy at all (can you believe that nearly 15% of pregnant women continue to drink alcohol?), whereas other women will suffer great discomfort from conditions as diverse as pain, allergies, yeast infections, etc. to avoid taking any medications at all. There are many medications—over-the-counter and prescriptions—known to be safe in pregnancy; as with any medication issues, when in doubt, ask your clinician or pharmacist.
19. THE SPICY FOOD FRAUD
Spicy food will bring on labor. For the most part, pregnant women can eat just about anything, but there are certain foods that we tell them to look out for, or to try and avoid. Those include very soft cheeses, unpasteurized cheeses and raw-milk cheese. Though rare, they may contain a bacteria called lysteria that has been associated with miscarriage or pre-term labor.
20. UMBILICAL CORD MYTH
There are several such myths, the most common being that a pregnant woman shouldn’t put her arms over her head because the cord will wrap around the baby’s neck. Actually, the movement of the mother doesn’t really affect the umbilical cord – unless she stands on her head! These ancient myths probably stem from a primal fear that a baby will be strangled in utero by the cord, or the cord will kink and cut off the baby’s lifeline. The fact, is that the cord is often around the baby’s neck because when a baby is in the proper head down position, that’s the most natural place for the cord to settle. As for kinking, if it’s a healthy pregnancy, the cord is coated with plenty of Wharton’s jelly.
This jelly provides so much protection around the vessels, it’s virtually impossible to kink.