Pregnancy is both a joyful and confusing experience! Thankfully, we now have modern technology to clear up some of the confusion through testing that will provide you with valuable information about your health and that of your baby. Let’s see 5 common myths about pregnancy.
Before that, there were all kinds of theories about what you should and shouldn’t do during pregnancy. That’s why we still have so many myths going around. Some of them go back centuries.
You can ask any mother, and she’ll tell you about the vast amounts of unwanted and conflicting advice she got from people close to her and even complete strangers.
People mean well, but it can be harmful both physically and in terms of mental health. Naturally, you want to do everything right, and it gets hard to separate fact from fiction. While the advice you get from medical professionals such as your OB-GYN can be very helpful, it’s not always the case with other sources.
Myth No. 1: Pregnant Women Should Eat For Two
People frequently urge pregnant women to eat more, and if they refuse, some will interpret this as a sign of vanity or selfishness, assuming that they care more about their appearance than the health of the baby.
But actually, you don’t need that many extra calories to provide for a growing fetus. If you’re pregnant, you should increase your caloric intake slightly but only starting from the second trimester. Even then, experts recommend an increase of 340 calories per day and 450 calories per day in the third trimester.
Overeating, especially the wrong kinds of foods, can be harmful. The emphasis should be on keeping a nutrient-dense, healthy diet.
Myth No. 2: Period Pains Will Disappear Once You’ve Had a Baby
The amount of pain women experience during their period varies significantly. Around half of them are lucky enough to never or rarely have this issue, while others snuggle with a bottle of warm water against their abdomen every month.
If you’re part of the latter group and you’ve been told that once you have a baby, you won’t have to deal with period pains anymore, you should know that it’s not quite that simple.
Researchers have looked into this myth and found that as women get older, the pain decreases even if they never had children. It seems that age plays an important role here, and it was assumed the cause for the change was giving birth.
One study monitored 3,500 women for eight years to try to track the difference in period pain after giving birth. Some participants did report less pain, but it wasn’t the case for everyone.
The researchers theorize that giving birth might lead to nerve damage in some cases, affecting the link between the uterus and brainstem, so the pain is no longer felt. The theory comes from analyzing the data that showed the percentage of women who reported a positive change was lower among those that had had a caesarian or had given birth prematurely.
Myth No. 3: Pregnant Women Should Avoid Exercising
Moderate exercise keeps pregnant women in shape and helps them prepare for the physically demanding process of childbirth while also lowering the risk of complications. Contrary to this myth, they should engage in moderate exercise for thirty minutes five or more times per week, like any adult.
Of course, you should first talk to your doctor and tell them about the exercise routine you have planned and the frequency, especially if it’s a new routine or you’re not used to exercising in general.
During pregnancy, the following activities are recommended:
- Walking – at a moderate pace. You should be able to walk and talk at the same time. If you find it difficult to talk because you feel out of breath, it means you need to slow down.
- Gym workout – Cardio on the elliptical or performing water exercises in the pool are both examples of safe methods to stay active.
- Pilates and yoga – Both Pilates and yoga can benefit pregnant women physically and mentally, but it depends on the intensity of the routine. For instance, hot yoga is not advised because it puts the body under too much strain.
It’s very important to keep your exercise routine at a moderate level. You don’t want to push yourself to exhaustion. You should also avoid forms of exercise that can lead to accidents like falling. This means that riding a bike, for instance, may not be the safest idea.
Myth No. 4: Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Can Induce Labor
Another myth says that you can use raspberry leaf tea to induce labor and is therefore not safe to drink for most of the pregnancy. Since herbal teas have long been used by midwives to relieve some of the more unpleasant effects of pregnancy, this is where the myth might come from.
Raspberry leaf tea does not induce labor, but it is a good tonic for your uterus. Some studies found that it reduces the risk of complications and can shorten labor.
In terms of safety, you should consume it in moderation because it has diuretic and laxative properties, so if it’s consumed in large quantities, it can lead to increased urination and diarrhea.
Myth No. 5: Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Drink Coffee
Caffeine is the most commonly used stimulant in the world because so many people start their day with a cup of coffee. But is it safe for pregnant women?
The answer is yes, but just like exercise, it needs to be in moderation. If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably been told by family, friends, coworkers, or anyone passing by who sees you drinking coffee that you shouldn’t do it because it’s bad for the baby.
While it’s true that during pregnancy, your ability to metabolize caffeine decreases, and it can also pass to the growing baby through the placenta, there have been numerous studies on the subject, and as long as it’s not in high quantities, there’s no evidence to suggest it’s dangerous.
You can still have coffee as long as you stay below the recommended threshold of 200 mg of caffeine per day which means about a cup and a half of coffee. Of course, it depends on the intensity of the coffee and the size of the cup, so those are two things you’ll want to pay attention to.