Pregnancy is an extraordinary journey filled with joy and anticipation. However, it's not uncommon for myths and misconceptions to cloud the experience. Did Aunt Helen see you drop a spoon and announce your pregnancy to the rest of the family?
In this blog post, we will debunk common pregnancy myths and provide you with the facts you need to navigate this remarkable phase with confidence and peace of mind.
Pregnancy Myths and Facts
Myth 1: Eating Spicy Foods Can Induce Labor
Fact: While spicy foods may cause discomfort or heartburn, there is no scientific evidence to support the notion that they can induce labor. Labor onset is a complex process determined by hormonal changes and the baby's readiness, rather than the food you consume.
Myth 2: Lifting Your Arms Above Your Head Can Cause the Umbilical Cord to Wrap Around the Baby’s Neck
Fact: Reaching high or raising your arms above your head does not pose any risk to the baby. The umbilical cord is flexible and long enough to allow the baby to move freely in the womb without the risk of entanglement.
Myth 3: Heartburn During Pregnancy Predicts a Baby with a Full Head of Hair
Fact: Heartburn, a common pregnancy symptom, occurs due to hormonal changes and the growing uterus. While some studies suggest a correlation between heartburn and fetal hair growth, it is not a reliable indicator, and many babies are born with or without a lot of hair regardless of heartburn.
Myth 4: The Shape and Height of Your Belly Determines the Baby’s Sex
Fact: The shape and size of your belly are influenced by factors such as body type, muscle tone, previous pregnancies, your weight, and the baby's position [*]. It has no connection to the baby's sex. Since your belly will experience so many changes during your pregnancy, believing this myth would likely cause you the need to explain much after the baby is born!
Myth 5: Consuming Coffee or Caffeine Increases the Risk of Miscarriage
Fact: Moderate caffeine intake (up to 200 mg per day) is generally considered safe during pregnancy and is unlikely to increase the risk of miscarriage [*]. However, it's crucial to consume caffeine in moderation and consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice. Don’t forget caffeine is a diuretic and may increase your need to pee even more than you would just being pregnant!
Myth 6: Sleeping on Your Back Can Harm the Baby
Fact: While sleeping on your side is generally recommended during pregnancy, occasional back sleeping is not known to harm the baby. As pregnancy progresses, sleeping on your side may improve blood flow to the uterus and enhance comfort. Pregnancy pillows are available to help keep you comfortable while you rest during your pregnancy.
Myth 7: Exercise Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy
Fact: Unless advised otherwise by your healthcare provider, regular exercise is generally safe and beneficial during pregnancy [*]. Engaging in physical activity can alleviate pregnancy discomfort, boost mood, enhance energy levels, and promote overall health. Consult with your healthcare provider for guidance on suitable exercises for your specific situation. Just don’t overdo it!
Myth 8: You Should Eat for Two During Pregnancy
Fact: While it's true that your nutritional needs increase during pregnancy, you don't need to eat twice as much. Quality is more important than quantity. Focus on consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats to provide essential nutrients for you and your baby. Pregnancy multivitamins are generally recommended to keep your nutritional levels fit, especially if you’re finding it hard to keep those quality meals down.
Myth 9: Morning Sickness Only Happens in the Morning
Fact: Despite its name, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day. It varies from woman to woman, and some may experience it throughout the day. Stay hydrated, eat small, frequent meals, and talk to your healthcare provider if you're experiencing severe nausea and vomiting or weight loss.
Myth 10: Dogs Can Sense Pregnancy
Fact: While dogs have a keen sense of smell and can detect changes in your body odor or behavior, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that dogs can reliably sense pregnancy. If you suspect you're pregnant, it's best to rely on a pregnancy test for confirmation.
Myth 11: You Shouldn’t Have Sex During Pregnancy
Fact: As long as your medical provider doesn't recommend any restrictions, it is perfectly safe to have sex while pregnant. Because sperm contains the hormone prostaglandin, which helps the cervix soften to stimulate labor, sex with a male partner can even be beneficial. If your water hasn't broken or your provider hasn’t told you to avoid intercourse, you can safely have sex right up until the end of your pregnancy [*].
Myth 12: You Can't Have a Cat in the House While Pregnant
Fact: You absolutely can keep your cat while you are pregnant! Precautions should be taken to avoid contracting toxoplasmosis. That includes adding new cats or kittens to your home during your pregnancy. Toxoplasmosis prevention guidelines also recommend that a pregnant woman not change the litter box, but if there is no other alternative use gloves and then wash hands with soap and water. Litter boxes should be changed daily to prevent the parasite from becoming infectious if it is present [*].
Myth 13: Creams and Oils Can Help Prevent Stretch Marks
Fact: There are a lot of over-the-counter products claiming to prevent stretch marks. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence supporting them. Serums like hyaluronic acid and the herb centella show promise according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association [*].
Myth 14: You Shouldn’t Travel While Pregnant
Fact: Unless you are on bedrest or your doctor has advised against travel, it is safe to travel before the third trimester. In fact, many couples use this opportunity to take a babymoon before their lives change forever as parents.
Myth 15: You Can’t Delay Cord Clamping if You Save Cord Blood
Fact: You absolutely can do both! Delayed clamping relates to a 30-60 second pause before clamping and cutting the umbilical cord. This is believed to allow more blood to flow back to the infant [*]. The remaining blood from the umbilical cord can be collected by the practitioner and saved. The blood is then returned to the collection kit and picked up by the cord blood bank for storage.
As an industry-leading cord blood bank, we understand the marvels of pregnancy and the importance of delivering accurate information. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive resources and support to help you make informed choices for the health and well-being of you and your baby.
The Bottom Line
Pregnancy myths may abound, but by relying on credible sources and consulting with your healthcare provider, you can separate fact from fiction. Embrace this incredible journey with confidence, armed with the knowledge to make informed decisions and enjoy the precious moments of pregnancy. Take on the unsolicited advice of other mothers, along with the pregnancy myths they share. You are now armed with the pregnancy facts!