Truth or Lie? 10 Popular Pregnancy Myths
When you first announce your pregnancy or announce that you are trying, people will start offering their advice. The problem? Sometimes their advice isn’t scientifically found and may just be old wives’ tales. And other times, their well-meaning advice could actually be the opposite of what you should follow.
Read on to learn what advice is true and what advice is just downright wrong.
Myth #1: You Shouldn’t Exercise During Pregnancy
Some women believe that exercising during pregnancy can pose risks to their baby such as pre-term delivery and pregnancy loss. We’re going to put this myth to rest once and for all.
Exercise during pregnancy can actually be good for your baby. Studies suggest that exercise could help you build stamina for labour and delivery and could prevent gestational diabetes. The key is to exercise around the same intensity as you did before you were pregnant. For example, if you used to go for a run every morning, running is still safe for you. However, if you never exercised in your life, now is not the time to try to become a triathlete.
As you reach different stages of your pregnancy, different exercises may appeal to you more or less. Adjust your routine to what is comfortable to you. Low impact aerobics are thought to be safer while pregnant.
The one exception to exercising during pregnancy is if you have a health condition such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.
Myth #2: Stress During Pregnancy is Bad for the Baby
Truth — for chronic stress
As an expectant mother, it’s normal to worry. You may worry about if you’ll be a good mother or about your baby’s health. You may have stress about common issues: work deadlines, household chores or paying the bills. These stressors are normal and should not affect your baby’s health.
However, long-term, chronic stress is known to be detrimental to your body in several ways, and therefore may also affect a fetus. Examples of chronic stress could include a dysfunctional relationship or a demanding, high-stress workplace. Stress during pregnancy could make a fetus more susceptible to childhood obesity, according to a 2013 study. Some studies also suggest that high chronic stressors may be linked to pre-term births and lower birth rates.
Whether stress can cause miscarriage is debated. However, if you’re looking to conceive, a partner suffering from chronic stress may pose a problem. Studies have shown that stress affects sperm quality, its concentration and its ability to fertilize an egg. See more pregnancy risks associated with chronic stress.
Myth #3: Eating Right Can Help You Conceive
Our diet can make or break our health — so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it also plays a role in helping us conceive. You and your partner should both follow a healthy diet. You should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and be sure to get your daily intake of iron. It could also be helpful to avoid alcohol while trying to conceive.
In one study, men who ate fatty fish had a 34% higher sperm count than men who ate processed meat. That means your partner should skip the hot dogs and lunchmeats for some salmon or tuna. If your partner already eats healthy, eating more of specific healthy foods could further boost his chances of getting you pregnant. Studies have shown that lycopene, an antioxidant, can increase sperm count up to 70%. The nutrient is found mostly in tomatoes and watermelons.
To improve sperm, men can also eat walnuts and take a supplement that contains folic acid and zinc.
Myth #4: You Should Avoid Coffee While Pregnant
While some women choose to play it safe and avoid caffeine altogether, it’s not necessary. Some women fear that too much caffeine may make it difficult for them to conceive or could cause a miscarriage.
Their concerns aren’t unfounded. In one study, women who consumed 200mg or more a day of caffeine were twice as likely to have a miscarriage compared to those who were caffeine-free. However, there is still not enough research to say that caffeine is harmful when pregnant. While you don’t have to completely cut out coffee, it’s best to limit yourself to about one cup a day.
Myth #5: Don’t Reveal Your Pregnancy Until After the 12th Week
The truth about this one is that it’s up to you; however, there is some merit to this common myth. Most miscarriages happen within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and after this period, your chances of miscarriage drop. Unfortunately, miscarriage is somewhat common. According to the March of Dimes, miscarriages end 15 to 25% of known pregnancies.
Some women choose to keep their pregnancy private until after the 12th week so that if they do have a miscarriage, they won’t have to break the bad news to everyone they told. On the other hand, some women reject this notion and believe that miscarriage should be talked about and support should be offered. The truth of the myth really comes down to whether you’d be okay with sharing the bad news with your loved ones in the event of an unfortunate circumstance.
Women may also choose to wait until after this period for several other reasons. They may attempt to avoid unwanted advice or attention for the first months. They may also fear workplace injustices. How do you know the right time to announce your own pregnancy? Here are some tips.
Myth #6: Boxers Are Better Than Briefs for Conceiving
Yes, your partner should wear boxers if he’s trying to get you pregnant. But hey, we’re not trying to give you fashion advice — science agrees!
The bottom line is that a man’s testes need to be the correct temperature to produce the quality and quantity of sperm needed to get you pregnant. When a man wears briefs, the tight fit could make his testes too warm and unable to produce good quality sperm. Boxers will give your partner more “breathing” room and will allow his testes to reach a temperature lower than his core body temperature.
For the same reason, your partner should also avoid wearing tight pants.
Myth #7: Missionary is the Only Position to Conceive
People love to theorize the best sex position to get pregnant — but the truth is that you can get pregnant in any position. It’s best to get busy in whichever position feels best for you and your partner.
However, some people believe that missionary may be the best position because it allows the sperm to swim upwards. Although there are no studies to confirm or deny this notion, you can try it anyways and see if it works for you.
Myth #8: Don’t Have Sex While Pregnant
Let’s face it: Having to abstain from sex the 9 months you’re pregnant would suck. Luckily, you don’t have to. Some women worry that having sex will hurt their baby or induce labor. That’s simply untrue.
The baby is protected by the amniotic sac, uterus muscles and mucus plug. Since the penis does not go past the vagina, the baby will not feel or be hurt by the movements.
Orgasming may cause uterine contractions, but it will not start labour. What is true is that your sex drive may change as your hormones change. You and your partner may also have to experiment with different positions as your body changes.
Myth #9: You Will Get Pregnant on the 14th Day of Your Cycle
Mostly a lie
Your fertility window depends on the length of your cycle and when you ovulate. For this reason, your most fertile day is individual to you and not the same for all women across the board.
So, how did the idea about the 14th day being best come about? Well, the average length of a woman’s cycle is 28 days. That means the 14th day would be within your fertility window if your cycle is 28 days every month. To find out how long your cycle is, you have to track it for a full month. For a full guide on fertility planning, click here.
Myth #10: You Should Eat for Two
This may be the most commonly believed myth about pregnancy. Sure, it’s great to think that because we are pregnant, we can indulge and eat two portions. It would be a good excuse—if it were true.
The bottom line is that during pregnancy, you should try to be as healthy as you can. You don’t want to be gaining extra weight because you’re overeating.
But wait, doesn’t the baby need to eat too? Yes, but not as much as you think. In your third trimester, you should only be eating an extra 200 calories a day. While becoming hungry and having cravings is normal during pregnancy, try to snack on healthy foods instead.
What are some other pregnancy myths you commonly hear? If you’ve heard any weird superstitions or advice that was surprisingly true, comment below. If this post helped you distinguish fact from fiction, be sure to share the truth with others too!