Pregnancy is one of the most critical milestones of every woman’s life. It is truly a life-changing experience to know that you’re nurturing someone inside of you and his survival greatly depends on the roughly 40 weeks you’ll have to carry him in your womb.
So far, many studies have been conducted on how women can have a healthier and happier pregnancy. Backed by science, expectant moms can have an easier and more comfortable gestation, although some develop pregnancy complications due to different reasons.
It is undeniable that some parents still believe in pregnancy myths. Many arguments arise out of these beliefs, and one way or another, they could form part of your pregnancy journey.
Pregnancy myths for moms
When you find out you’re pregnant, a lot of things run through your mind. The most common worry, especially for 1st time mothers, is the thought of whether what you’re doing is right and if this could affect your little one growing inside your tummy. Your feelings are 100% valid, and it only shows how much you care and love your baby before even seeing him or her.
Because pregnancy is a new experience for you, you’ll be engrossed in reading books, articles, and blogs about pregnancy. It’s a thoughtful way to get yourself ready for the new yet very challenging chapter of your life. It is also common to ask your circle about possible pregnancy symptoms and the dos and don’ts that come with it.
Your curiosity can somehow lead you down the rabbit hole of some interesting pregnancy myths. And for sure, like myself, you’ll often wonder whether these pregnancy myths hold some truth in them.
Whether you are a 1st time mom or expecting another child, pregnancy myths can come up in conversations or otherwise. Be cautious if you decide to follow them because some pregnancy beliefs not only can compromise your health and safety, but that of your baby too.
The influence behind pregnancy myths
When you get pregnant, especially when you start to show, you’ll get a lot of attention and pregnancy advice. Getting well-meaning advice from people around you, including your mother, your favorite aunt, your closest girlfriends, and yes, even a stranger you randomly met at the grocery store, is expected.
Each piece of advice will definitely make an impression on you, and you may wonder if there is a need to follow through or where it’s all coming from. From the conventional to the most bizarre pregnancy beliefs, you’ll hear a lot more right from when you announce your pregnancy to birth.
These pregnancy and childbirth myths get passed down from one generation to another, and factors such as culture, religion, or even your own family’s tradition could have influenced this.
Pregnancy myths in different parts of the world
Many pregnancy beliefs are still popular all over the world today. Here are some:
- In China, most people believe that when 2 happy events happen simultaneously, there will be an opposite effect that is bound to happen. For instance, a pregnant woman cannot attend a wedding because it’s believed that the bride and groom can “steal” the mother-to-be’s luck and good health. The Chinese also have pregnancy gender myths. The most popular one is the use of a calendar known as the Chinese gender predictor to determine the gender of your unborn baby using your age at the time of conception.
- In India, people believe in several pregnancy diet myths. The kind of food you eat will have a massive effect on you and your baby’s health. For instance, foods such as papayas, mangoes, or pineapples cause more harm than good, as some people believe they trigger a miscarriage. Others believe when you consume spicy food, it will burn your baby’s eyes and result in blindness.
- In Latin America, specifically in Mexico, you cannot go out at night to avoid moonlight exposure. Hispanics also believed a baby’s cleft lip was caused by watching the lunar eclipse while pregnant. This belief originated from the Aztecs because they thought an eclipse represented a bite on the moon’s face.
- In Arab nations, you must indulge your food cravings while pregnant, or else your baby will have a birthmark in the shape of that particular food you are craving. The type of pregnancy cravings you experience will also indicate your baby’s gender.
- In Western Europe, a popular pregnancy superstition is that you shouldn’t walk under a ladder leaning towards the wall or assembled on its own, forming the shape of a triangle. If you pass under the triangle, you will be interfering with the holy trinity, and this will lead to complications with your pregnancy or childbirth.
- In Africa, if you are expecting, you should avoid drinking cold beverages, or else your baby will be born with asthma or pneumonia. There is also a misconception about the size of your hips. Some believe if you have wider hips, your delivery will be effortless, and the chances of having a perineal tear or laceration are slim.
10 weird pregnancy myths busted
The innovations and discoveries made in the medical field today through research and studies have made it possible to debunk so many old wives’ tales about pregnancy and childbirth. Most of the pregnancy myths you know about have proven to be nonfactual, inaccurate, and sometimes exaggerated.
However, you can never deny that there are still those who believe in these myths and the idea that there is nothing to lose when you follow them religiously.
Here are some famous pregnancy myths debunked and explained by medical professionals:
Myth 1: Mixing your urine with bleach can confirm your pregnancy.
Fact: According to medical experts, the bleach pregnancy test myth was proven to be unreliable, inaccurate, without any scientific basis. The reason why a reaction exists between your urine and bleach may be due to the urine pH, not the presence of the pregnancy hormone (hCG) in the urine. The best way to confirm your pregnancy at home is through the standard pregnancy test kits that are readily available in your local pharmacy.
Myth 2: You can tell your baby’s gender based on the shape of your belly.
Fact: This has to be one of the most popular gender myths in pregnancy. However, size, or how high or low your belly is, is not an indication of your baby’s gender. If you are a 1st time mom, your abdominal muscles are not as stretched as those who’ve been pregnant before, which explains why you carry your baby higher than everyone else. Other factors affecting your belly size can be your baby’s position or how far along you are with the pregnancy. The most accurate way to know the gender of your baby is through an ultrasound, which can be detected as early as the 11-12 weeks of your gestation.
Myth 3: Working out while pregnant can strangle the baby in your womb.
Fact: Unless you have an underlying medical condition that prohibits you from working out during pregnancy, you should be physically active and do exercises while pregnant. Your baby is very safe even if you maintain an active-and safe-lifestyle. He won’t feel suffocated because he is floating in amniotic fluid inside your uterus.
Myth 4: Having sex while pregnant can induce your labor or hurt your baby.
Fact: Your baby is well protected inside because of the amniotic sac, so there is no way you’ll access them when having some alone time with your partner. You don’t have to worry about having a Braxton Hicks contraction after sex; it is harmless. You should be abstaining from having sex if you have an incompetent or weak cervix or your placenta is low-lying, or you have experienced bleeding during the pregnancy.
Myth 5: It is unsafe to have hot baths while pregnant.
Fact: For hygienic purposes, it is always advisable to take a bath, especially when you are expecting. Your womb can do the job and regulate itself to provide the optimal temperature for your baby. However, you should ensure that your water does not exceed 98° F (36.7° C) to avoid fetal distress caused by reduced blood flow brought about by the high temperatures.
Myth 6: You should eat for 2 throughout your pregnancy.
Fact: Being pregnant doesn’t give you the license to overeat, and you should definitely not be eating for 2. Experts discredited this pregnancy nutrition myth due to the increased risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and back pains in pregnant women. Your baby’s health indeed depends on you, but a healthy pregnancy only requires you to gain around 25-35 pounds (11.5-16 kgs). Eat healthily.
Myth 7: Morning sickness happens only in the morning.
Fact: This perhaps is the most popular myth regarding pregnancy symptoms, but it doesn’t go as the name suggests. You can get morning sickness almost any time of the day. This generally harmless symptom occurs from the 4th week of pregnancy to the end of the 1st trimester. However, if you experience severe nausea and vomiting, consult your practitioner, as you might have hyperemesis gravidarum.
Myth 8: You will always have that radiant, glowing skin when you are pregnant.
Fact: When pregnant, your hormone levels are higher than usual, and this can cause skin conditions such as acne breakouts or mask of pregnancy. These skin conditions are temporary due to the increased hormonal levels within your body.
Myth 9: Denying a pregnant woman’s cravings can get you a sty on your eye.
Fact: The cravings you get are due to the high level of hormones and the heightened sense of smell and taste, which is very common.
Myth 10: Sleeping on your back can hurt your baby.
Fact: It is recommended for pregnant moms to sleep on their side rather than on their back. It helps prevent back pains, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. As you gain weight throughout the pregnancy, sleeping on your back rests the entire weight on, especially your vena cava, which is the vessel responsible for carrying blood back to your heart. Less blood flow to your heart will cause problems for you and the baby. The best and safest position is sleeping on your left side since it also helps maximize the blood flow to your uterus.
My final thoughts
You’ll come across a lot of unsolicited advice when pregnant. It’s your choice whether or not to believe and follow it. But know where to draw the line since your motherly instinct should tell you what is best for you and your baby.
Your doctor is always available to guide you and provide the best answers to your pregnancy questions.