Pregnancy Myths and Facts
Soon after you get that first positive pregnancy result, you’ll begin reading and hearing all sorts of advice from well-meaning people and seemingly knowledgeable sources. But how reliable is all this “wisdom”? There are many excellent sources of sound, medically based pregnancy advice from experts that will give you confidence in making decisions throughout your pregnancy. The best guidance you’ll receive throughout your pregnancy is at regular appointments with your OB/GYN. But what about those everyday questions that arise regarding what to eat and what not to eat during pregnancy? Or what kind of activities are safe for pregnancy? Here are a few common pregnancy myths demystified:
Pregnancy Questions: Fact or Fiction
You’re eating for two
False. While some weeks of pregnancy can definitely make you hungrier, you should be increasing the amount of daily nutrients you consume, not simply calories. Make sure you eat a colorful, well-balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains that will give you the fuel your baby needs to develop. According to WebMD, pregnant women only need about 300 more calories per day, which translates to the equivalent of a glass of nonfat milk and half a sandwich.
The shape of your belly will reveal the baby’s gender
False. Some ‘old wives’ tales’ say that if you’re carrying the baby low, you’ll have a boy, while if it’s high, you’ll have a girl. The truth is that a woman’s abdominal muscles stretch with each pregnancy. If you’re carrying the baby high, it might just be because it’s your first pregnancy. Either way, if you want to use belly shape to take a guess at baby’s gender, you have a 50 percent chance of being right!
Avoid spicy foods while you’re pregnant
True, but for reasons you might not expect. Contrary to some versions of this legend, eating spicy foods while pregnant won’t cause your baby to go blind. But it very well may cause some indigestion and heartburn for you. You should avoid foods that may cause you discomfort during pregnancy so that you can feel your best and keep active and healthy as your baby develops.
Don’t change the litter box while pregnant
True. According to WebMD, cats can carry a disease called toxoplasmosis. This bacteria is present in cat waste and can harm a fetus and lead to birth defects. So, if you have a cat, it’s best for someone else to do this chore—even more frequently than usual—during your pregnancy.
A glass of wine or two during a pregnancy is okay
False. Because there has been no safe limit of alcohol consumption established for pregnant women, you should avoid alcohol altogether while pregnant. Pregnancy is the best time to give your baby a good start to nutrition, so make every drink and bite count toward health! Water, milk or small amounts of juice are some of the most beneficial things you can drink while pregnant.
Sleep on your left side at night
True. Lying on your back while sleeping at night can put pressure on your vena cava, a major deep vein in your abdomen. It’s ideal to sleep on your left side after your fourth month of pregnancy to speed delivery of blood and nutrients to your developing baby. A body pillow may help you relax into this position. If you wake up on your back, don’t worry. Just shift to your side and resume your sleep.
Hot tub pregnancy myth: avoid hot tubs
True. It’s important to avoid overheating while pregnant. Fully submerging yourself in a hot tub would elevate your temperature and be uncomfortable and possibly dangerous for you and baby. A warm or cool bath is fine.
“You may have questions and will need good advice during your pregnancy, especially if it’s your first pregnancy,” said Dr. Leslie Gonzalez, a PIH Health board certified OB/GYN in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.
“It’s important to start seeing your OB/Gyn early in the pregnancy, and to keep regular appointments up until the birth of your child. Your mind will be more at ease as you receive care from a professional who can provide support to you and your unique pregnancy.”
To learn more about the wide range of pregnancy, childbirth and women health services at PIH Health, please call 562.904.5151or visit PIHHealth.org.