9 Bizarre Myths About Pregnancy: Many of the old wives’ tales we hear nowadays aren’t around folklore or mystic creatures like it was for past generations. Our tales involve mystifying the things we can see and feel—like pregnancy. As a society, we have countless myths surrounding the no-longer misunderstood process of pregnancy and birth. Some of those myths are fun, while others lead to confusion and misunderstanding about our biology. Here are the ten most common pregnancy myths and the science behind the truth.
Buckle up ladies, you’re in for quite a ride. Here are some of the weird and wonderful pregnancy myths I’ve come across in my career as a Midwife and through my own pregnancy. Sorry to break this one to you, but eating for two during pregnancy is a myth. In fact, there’s no evidence to prove this myth, and overeating can result in maternal weight gain and child obesity.
Your baby will get everything they need from you for the first six months without you needing any extra calories. Once you get to the last trimester, you may need about 200 extra calories (on top of the 2,000 daily recommendation), per day.
9 Bizarre Myths About Pregnancy
Pregnancy is the term used to describe the period in which a fetus develops inside a woman’s womb or uterus. Pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks, or just over 9 months, as measured from the last menstrual period to delivery. Health care providers refer to three segments of pregnancy, called trimesters.
Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woman’s womb. Multiple pregnancies involve more than one offspring, such as twins. Pregnancy usually occurs through sexual intercourse, but can also occur through assisted reproductive technology procedures. A pregnancy may end in a live birth, a spontaneous miscarriage, an induced abortion, or a stillbirth. Childbirth typically occurs around 40 weeks from the start of the last menstrual period (LMP).
This is just over nine months (gestational age). When using fertilization age, the length is about 38 weeks. An embryo is a term for the developing offspring during the first eight weeks following fertilization (i.e. ten weeks’ gestational age), after which the term fetus is used until birth. Signs and symptoms of early pregnancy may include missed periods, tender breasts, morning sickness (nausea and vomiting), hunger, and frequent urination. Pregnancy may be confirmed with a pregnancy test. Methods of birth control—or, more accurately, contraception—are used to avoid pregnancy.
Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters
Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters of approximately 3 months each. The first trimester includes conception, which is when the sperm fertilizes the egg. The fertilized egg then travels down the Fallopian tube and attaches to the inside of the uterus, where it begins to form the embryo and placenta. During the first trimester, the possibility of miscarriage (natural death of embryo or fetus) is at its highest.
Around the middle of the second trimester, the movement of the fetus may be felt. At 28 weeks, more than 90% of babies can survive outside of the uterus if provided with high-quality medical care, though babies born at this time will likely experience serious health complications such as heart and respiratory problems and long-term intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Here are the 9 Bizarre Myths About Pregnancy
1. Tummy rub
As tempting as it may be, a pregnant woman should refrain from the excessive rubbing of her protruding tummy, according to an old wives’ tale from China. If she indulges beyond reason, her baby will be spoiled. What the myth suggests is highly unlikely. It is worth noting, however, that by 10 weeks of gestation the developing fetus can sense touch, producing responses when prodded through the mother’s abdomen.
2. No gifts, please
In some cultures, it is believed that buying, receiving, or opening baby gifts before the baby arrives attracts evil spirits or brings misfortune, such as a miscarriage. Based heavily on fear and belief in magic, this one bears the hallmarks of superstition. Along similar lines, some women believe that the baby’s spirit will be scared away (in a miscarriage) if the pregnancy is announced too early.
This, too, is based on a false understanding of causation. The risk of miscarriage naturally is higher in the first trimester compared with the second and third trimesters. Announcing a pregnancy in those first weeks has no influence on miscarriage risk.
3. You can’t drink caffeine while pregnant
In the past, pregnant women were advised to abstain from caffeine while pregnant, but recent studies show that moderate amounts are safe, as long as a few precautions are taken. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other experts report that pregnant women can safely consume up to 200 milligrams of caffeine a day equivalent to a 12-ounce cup of coffee each day.
Remember that more than 200ml of caffeine a day can increase your risk of a miscarriage since caffeine can penetrate the placenta barrier, so be careful not to exceed your limit. Caffeine is also present in many sodas and chocolates so be extra mindful of them as well.
4. Ugly animals
An old wives’ tale that exists in several cultures suggests that when a pregnant woman looks at an unpleasant or ugly animal, her baby will take on a resemblance to that animal. There is no evidence to support the idea, and more importantly, babies simply cannot be ugly.
5. You can’t be around cats while pregnant
If you’re a cat person or have cats, this is good news! Studies show that contact with cats doesn’t increase your risk of getting toxoplasmosis (an infection that can affect unborn babies). If you were infected with toxoplasmosis before your pregnancy, your unborn child will be protected by your immunity. However, if you’re pregnant you should avoid cat litter since the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis tends to live in cat feces.
It’s also recommended that you avoid stray cats, have your litter box changed regularly, keep your cats indoors, and don’t get new cats while you’re pregnant. If you tend to a garden, be sure to wear gloves when working in topsoil or sand since it can be contaminated with cat feces. If you forget and tend your garden without gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with wash water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
6. The lunar effect
Among the more firmly entrenched superstitions of pregnancy is the notion that the frequency with which babies are born increases during a full moon. Even some medical staff who work in labor and delivery wards believe this one. Possibly reinforcing in the popular mind the plausibility for an actual connection. Despite extensive investigation, however, scientists have yet to identify an association between full moons and birth rates.
7. Give up the spice
The myth also suggests that spicy foods eaten during pregnancy can burn the baby’s eyes, resulting in blindness. Spicy foods also have been blamed for miscarriages and the induction of labor. While those associations might sound plausible to some people, they aren’t real.
Spicy foods can increase a pregnant woman’s risk of heartburn, however. Repeated heartburn during pregnancy may mean that the baby will be born with a head full of hair if we are to believe another old wives’ tale.
8. A mother’s beauty
According to myth, girls steal away their mothers’ beauty. By contrast, if a pregnant woman grows more attractive through her pregnancy, she can thank the little boy in her womb. Of course, the truth of the matter is that morning sickness, changing hormone levels, and an expanding baby bump leaves many pregnant women exhausted and plagued with acne, especially in the first trimester.
So, at the peak of beauty, expecting women generally are not. And that stands regardless of whether the baby is a girl or a boy.
9. Morning sickness
The worse a woman’s morning sickness, the more likely she is to be carrying a girl, or so popular myth suggests. And myth it likely is, if you were to ask an expert on the subject. But research suggests that there could be something to this one.
A study published in 2004 found that the proportion of women who delivered girls was slightly higher for women who sought treatment for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy than for women who did not seek treatment.
However, I hope we have been able to list and explain to you the myth about pregnancy. Please follow our procedure, and if you still want more from us. Do it by leaving a comment in the comment section.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below!
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