The moment I announced that I’m expecting, I started to hear a lot of old wives’ tales — some of which were amusing. They opened the floodgates to a flurry of speculation, proverbs and theories about babies and birth. You’ve probably heard these too: Carry high, it’s a boy. Carry low, it’s a girl.
Most of these myths cause unnecessary worry’s and further complicate mother and babies health. Is it true that morning sickness is a sign of a healthy pregnancy? In a new book she wrote throughout her pregnancy, science journalist Jena Pincott uses the latest medical understanding to answer once and for all some of the biggest mysteries and misconceptions of this extraordinary time.
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Pregnancy Myth: A woman with a high bump will have a boy, while a low bump suggests a girl.
Fact: Rather it is the mothers’ breast’s that reveals the baby’s sex.
The old adage has it that a woman with a high, tight bump will have a boy, while a low bump that spills over the sides suggests a girl. But surprisingly, your shape on top is a more accurate predictor. Women carrying girls develop larger breasts during pregnancy than women carrying boys. Male foetuses produce more testosterone and require more energy from their mother as they tend to grow bigger and these conditions may suppress breast growth.
Pregnancy Myth: You’re eating for two
Fact: Two adult-sized servings are not necessary
The average woman with a normal weight pre-pregnancy needs only about 300 extra calories per day to promote her baby’s growth. That’s roughly the number of calories in a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich. A woman of normal weight should gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy — less if she’s overweight.
Pregnancy Myth: Having sex hurts the baby.
Fact: Intercourse cannot reach, touch or harm the baby.
Seven layers of skin from the abdominal wall to the amniotic sac protect your baby. Your cervix has lengthened and hardened to prevent anything from getting into the uterus. The only exception to this is a woman whose doctor has told her to abstain because of a complication.
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Pregnancy Myth: Caffeine is a No-No
Fact: Moderate amount of caffeine consumption won’t affect pregnancy
Many pregnant women love their morning cup of coffee, but often they’re warned to give up caffeine because it might cause miscarriage, preterm birth, or low birth weight.
If a pregnant woman drinks less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day — the amount in about one 12-ounce cup of coffee – she doesn’t face any increased risk of miscarriage or low birth weight.
Fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are good for you
Pregnancy Myth: Keep fish off your plate
Fact: Two servings of fish per week can be healthy for mom and baby.
Coldwater fish in particular contains lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which help with your baby’s brain development and vision. You should try to avoid fish high in mercury, such as swordfish and shark. Salmon, shrimp, and canned light tuna are better choices. Avoid raw fish and semi-cooked sushi as it is more likely to contain parasites and bacteria than the cooked ones.
Pregnancy Myth: Pregnant women crave pickles and ice cream
Fact: Food cravings depend on what your body needs
Not all women crave pickles and ice cream. Women who crave pickles are really craving salt and may be mineral deficient, and specifically in sodium. Additional minerals are particularly important in pregnancy. Many women crave junk foods such as ice cream during pregnancy because junk food is associated with comfort.
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Pregnancy Myth: If you’re pregnant, you have morning sickness
Fact: Not every woman will experience morning sickness.
Every woman and their pregnancy hormone levels are different. The feeling of morning sickness is often caused by a rise in the female hormone estrogen during pregnancy. It all depends on the individual.
Pregnancy Myth: You can’t fly during your first or last trimester.
Fact: You can fly whenever you want.
Some airlines won’t let you on the plane in your last trimester, but that has more to do with fears that you’ll go into labor and force the plane to land or spoil the upholstery.
Avoid worrying about these folklores and myths. When it comes to pregnancy, it’s best to rely only on the advice of medical professionals.