6 Pregnancy Myths: What’s Fact and What’s Fiction?

Pregnant woman with paper stickers on tummy

Your pregnancy can be one of the most exciting times of your life. It’s also one of the times you want to be the most informed. A lot of myths float around when it comes to being pregnant: you should do this, you should do that, this isn’t healthy for the baby, you shouldn’t eat that. With all of this information being thrown at you daily, it’s hard to separate the good advice from the old wive’s tales. We’ve compiled a list of common pregnancy myths to help you separate the facts from the fiction.

Exercising is bad for the baby

One common myth people tell pregnant women is that exercising is bad for the baby, with some upholding the belief that exercise can even strangle the baby. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Research shows that the fetuses of physically active pregnant women have heart rates that are slower and more variable; both signs of cardiovascular health. 

Pregnant women should feel happy all the time

Many think that with the joy of a new baby arriving in the world comes constant joy dominating the mother’s emotions. This is a pregnancy myth. Not all expecting mothers feel happy throughout the entirety of their pregnancy, or even after. Perinatal depression is common, and mother’s who experience this form of depression may experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and fatigue, making it difficult to carry out daily tasks. It’s important for the expectant mother to know these feelings are normal and are out of her control. Of course, everyone wants to be happy during this time but seeking medical help when symptoms present themselves is crucial not only for the expecting mother but for the baby as well.

Pregnant women need to eat for two

Regardless of what pregnancy myth-spreaders say, expectant women do not need to eat for two. This myth may be one of the reasons why 48% of mothers in the United States gain too much weight. While it’s normal to have an increased appetite during your pregnancy, this doesn’t mean you should be doubling your caloric intake. Doing so may result in the expecting mother gaining an unhealthy amount of weight during the 9 months of carrying. Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal, but gaining too much can lead to an increased risk of gestational diabetes, backaches, high blood pressure, and needing a cesarean birth because your baby is very large. Ask your doctor about your day-to-day meal plan and find out what is healthiest for your baby.

Creams prevent stretch marks

As much as stretch marks caused by pregnancy are a pain, applying creams to your belly will not prevent their development. To date, there is no evidence that things like cocoa butter or anything else that we can recommend will prevent stretch marks. Many doctors have even suggested that the appearance of stretch marks may be a genetic predisposition that can’t be controlled. 

Drinking coffee is out of the question

 Another common myth is that it’s unhealthy for the baby to drink coffee while being pregnant. Moderation is key here. You don’t want to overdo it. Studies have shown that in the first trimester, having excessive amounts of coffee have been associated with a higher risk of miscarriage. So, if you still want to enjoy your daily dose of coffee, limit your caffeine consumption to fewer than 200 milligrams per day.

Sex during pregnancy is unhealthy for the baby

 Not only is this a pregnancy myth, but the opposite is actually closer to the truth: sex while being pregnant can be beneficial. That is, of course, if you are cleared by your doctor to do so. Sex during pregnancy is a safe, partner bonding experience, is great for physical health, can ease pain and discomfort, improves sleep, is a mood-booster, may help labor along, and may ease your postpartum recovery. Having sex while pregnant may also feel more pleasurable than ever before.

Consult an OB/GYN

If you need more information regarding any common pregnancy myths, if you or have any questions about your own pregnancy, consult a provider at Kernodle OB/GYN. The physicians, nurses, and medical staff at our NC practice offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women in Burlington and Mebane, NC. Call us at (336) 538-2367 to make an appointment.

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