The Truth About Some Pregnancy Myths

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Let's Debunk Some Pregnancy Myths, Shall We?

Posted by The MAB Team on 9/26/2012 to Pregnancy
Myth: No Coffee Allowed!

The case against drinking caffeinated drinks like coffee while pregnant doesn’t really have any solid scientific proof. Apparently there is no concrete correlation between coffee/caffeine consumption and preterm birth. However, it is still recommended that pregnant women do not consume more than 1 cup of coffee a day to avoid a possible increased risk of miscarriage or low birth weight babies. Experts say that drinking coffee in excess may lead to these problems, so as long as pregnant women stay within their daily limit, they’ll most likely be fine.

Myth: Oh That’s Ok, You’re Eating For Two!

Sure, you’re eating for two - but not two adults. Many pregnant women use this as an excuse to overeat. In reality, pregnant women should only be increasing their daily food intake by about 300 calories, which is more or less equivalent to a small snack. Normal pregnancy weight gain is approximately 25-35 pounds. Any more than that and you run the risk of having difficulties during delivery, increasing the chances of needing a cesarean section and making it much, much harder to drop the weight afterwards.

Myth: Don’t Get The Flu Shot! Apparently, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of us, pregnant or not, are weary of the flu shot – concerned that we might achieve the ultimate irony … of getting the flu! Or, others fear that the vaccine may hurt their unborn baby. Although many may think differently, according to Nancy Chescheir, a clinic professor at the University of North Carolina, neither of these things have any truth to them. She says there is clear evidence that supports that the flu shot does not DIRECTLY give people the flu, but also that the vaccine causes no harm whatsoever to fetuses. So here’s the thing. The flu shot is really important for pregnant women. Why? A woman’s body undergoes several, countless physiological changes that mess around with immunity, making her far more vulnerable to getting the flu. Symptoms associated with pregnant women who have the flu are more intense. And pregnant women with the flu are far more likely to develop illnesses that are far more extreme. It would be far more risky to NOT get the shot.

Myth: You Must Have A Sexless Pregnancy!

It is safe to have sex while pregnant, provided it is a low-risk pregnancy. Strong uterine muscles and the amniotic sac protect the baby very well. So no worries there. A doctor may advise against it in certain situations, especially if there is an pre-existing threat of miscarriage, preterm labour and/or unexplained vaginal bleeding. It’s also important to note that while the amniotic sac protects the baby during sex, it does not protect the baby from sexually transmitted diseases. If during sex a pregnant woman is exposed to herpes, genital warts, chlamydia or HIV, any or all of these can be easily passed on to the baby. Furthermore, orgasms, contrary to the beliefs of many, do not cause miscarriages. Orgasmic contractions are entirely different from the ones associated with labour and delivery.

Myth: No Fly Zone!

Sure, pregnant women can be exposed to trace amounts of radiation when passing through airport x-ray machines or flying at high altitudes, but in the interest of reality, we are all exposed to radiation on a daily basis. And apparently high-altitude radiation penetrates the body in negligible amounts and does not directly cause harm to fetuses. Same goes for body scanners and x-ray machines. That being said, pregnant women should never fly without getting medical clearance from their doctor first. Normal, healthy pregnant women will most likely be completely fine to fly. There may also be restrictions with certain airlines if pregnant women are planning to fly in their third trimester.

Myth: Show Your Baby How Much You Love Them With Terrible Hair

Apparently the chemicals found in hair dyes, perms and relaxers are only absorbed through the skin in miniscule amounts. Many physicians do not believe there is a risk associated with the use of hair dyes or similar chemicals and fetuses, especially if ammonia-free treatments are selected. That being said, it is best to avoid any contact with chemicals during the first trimester. This is not only to protect the fetus, but the fumes can often make pregnant women feel nauseous and dizzy.

Myth: Absolutely No Fish For You!

Ok, this is only partially true. Due to the mercury content in fish, it is very important to avoid bigger fish species like tilefish, swordfish, king mackerel and shark. The bigger the fish, the higher the mercury content. Smaller fish species like salmon, tuna and shrimp are safer to consume. Eating two servings of fish per week while pregnant has several health benefits for both mom and baby. Raw fish should definitely be avoided while pregnant though, as they tend to harbor several harmful parasites and bacteria. If you really love sushi, just make sure it’s thoroughly cooked.

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