Given how little control women have over their bodily functions during pregnancy, true to their womanhood, they go out of their ways to worry about it. With advice pouring in from all quarters, distinguishing the do’s from the don’t’s can be quite bewildering. Read on as we debunk some myths which are surprisingly widely perpetuated despite their ludicrosity.
11 Pregnancy Myths vs Facts:
1. Myth: Avoid Stress during pregnancy.
Fact: All expectant mothers strive to achieve a zen-like pregnancy to ensure healthy growth of the foetus. Studies, however, state that moderate stress level tones and accelerates the development of the foetus’s nervous system. A woman who undergoes moderate stress bears an infant whose brain works at a faster speed at two weeks old than infants of mothers who experienced lower stress and a two-year-old toddler with higher motor and mental development scores.
2. Myth: Say no to sweets and seafood.
Fact: Recent research rubbishes the prohibition of sweets and seafood during pregnancy. Six month old babies of pregnant mothers who consume chocolate daily during their pregnancy show less fear and smile and laugh more frequently while women who have at least five servings of chocolate each week during their third trimester have a 40% lower risk of developing the dangerous high blood pressure condition known as preeclampsia. Children of mothers who ate at least 12 ounces of seafood a week during their pregnancy have higher verbal IQ and better interpersonal and motor skills since fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and low in mercury.
3. Myth: Eat for two.
Fact: You’re growing another human being inside of you, so you should double your food intake, right? Wrong. Carrying a baby requires only 300 additional calories a day- you should eat about one and fifth times your regular diet. Eating for two might land you with a bigger baby, who will have greater likelihood of suffering from obesity and diabetes in later life.
4. Myth: Only ultrasounds or amniocentesis are reliable indicators of baby’s sex.
Fact: Sceptics may have dismissed cultural means of predicting the sex of the infant as old wives tales, but recent studies indicate that there might be some truth to them. Women suffering from severe morning sickness are more likely to have girls, while women carrying boys are likely to have larger appetites.
5. Myth: Month of your birth can’t tell anything about you.
Fact: This is yet another case of busting a supposedly busted myth. Recent foetal research has proved that the time of the year you are born in significantly impacts your mental and physical health. People born in the late summer or early fall are taller and have thicker bones while those born in late winter or early spring are 10% more prone to developing schizophrenia.
6. Myth: Don’t fly during your pregnancy.
Fact: Fly as and when you want. Certain airline policies might not allow pregnant women in their last trimester on board, but this is mainly to prevent emergency landings in case the passenger goes into labour prematurely and to safeguard the aircraft interiors from unexpected puke attacks.
7. Myth: Sleep on your left.
Fact: Due to changing hormones, getting adequate sleep during the pregnancy can prove to be very tiresome. Combat erratic sleep patterns by observing the principle behind rainwater harvesting: catch sleep whenever and however you can, be it on your back or left or right side.
8. Myth: Walking helps labour go faster.
Fact: Generations of women have sought to devise methods of easing the pain of childbirth. Sadly, there’s no evidence in support of this claim. While the physical exertion from walking might make you feel better, by no means does it contribute to easing labour pain.
9. Myth: Mother’s beauty.
Fact: When talking about women, the concept of beauty is never far off. Baby girls are believed to steal the mother’s beauty while women carrying boys tend to grow prettier. Here’s the harsh truth- never mind the much-hyped magical experience, childbearing leaves the expecting mother exhausted due to morning sickness, changing hormone levels and expanding baby bump. Acne outbreaks are also common in the first trimester.
10. Myth: Stay away from ugly animals.
Fact: Several cultures offer a cautionary note to moms-to-be: look at ugly animals and the baby might come to resemble it. How a baby can possibly look unpleasant, the writer fails to understand. While a rebuttal of this myth is hardly required, it does have some interesting implications. Gawk at a peacock long enough and you’re sure to give birth to a diva.
11. Myth: Banish stretch marks with cocoa butter.
Fact: Stretch marks are the bane of the bliss brought by childbirth. Out of the many creams, ointments and pills available, cocoa butter has been hailed as the most effective preventive measure. In reality, using cocoa butter renders women’s skin more sensitive and some women may suffer from allergic reactions.