On the internet, there are a heap of myths that seem to come up time and time again.
Some you may know too well from personal experience, others you may not have heard of.
Well, we’re going to bust them once and for all… yes you heard it here on BellyBelly.
These 10 myths are NOT true about pregnancy:
Big Pregnancy Myths: #1 Morning Sickness Only Occurs Before Noon
Well, if this is true, your stomach is terrible at telling the time. You seem to have your head in the bowl for most of the day, and lunch is no easier to keep down than your failed attempt at breakfast. Why is it even called morning sickness, when pregnant women also throw up at barbecues and dinner parties? From now on, let's just all call it ‘pregnancy sickness', ok? No more of this morning nonsense.
Pregnancy sickness is most common during the first trimester, and is believed to be caused by rapidly increasing hormones. The nausea and sickness can be experienced at any time of day, and some women find that they feel sick all day long. Most women find that the sickness clears up by the end of the first trimester, though some find it continues until around week 16. For a small number of most unfortunate women, the sickness can last much further into the pregnancy.
Big Pregnancy Myths: #2 You Need To Get Rid Of Your Cat
Stop! Hang up on that animal sanctuary immediately! You don't need to rehome Tiddles just because you are pregnant. In fact, Tiddles can be very much a part of your family. You can still stroke him, cuddle him and snuggle up with him at night, but what you can't do, is handle his poop. Yes, sadly, while pregnant you simply are not allowed to change the litter tray or pick up poop from the garden. Note to reader: try to hide the glee from your eyes when you explain this to your other half.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite sometimes present in cat faeces. If you are infected during pregnancy (or within the three months leading up to conception), there is a small chance that the infection could cause miscarriage, stillbirth or birth defects. The risk of contracting toxoplasmosis during pregnancy is very low, but you should avoid the litter tray during pregnancy just to be on the safe side.
Big Pregnancy Myths: #3 Eating For Two
“Congratulations on your pregnancy, I bought these two huge chocolate cakes, after all – you're eating for two now.” Said no midwife, ever. Eating for two is one of those old wives' tales that just won't quit. You will probably find friends and family pushing cakes, sweets and chocolates onto you with the slogan ‘eating for two’. Notice how you never got offered twice the green salad, or twice the fruit based on this pregnancy myth.
In fact, during the first and second trimesters you should continue to eat your normal calorie intake. You should make an effort to eat healthier, and ensure the calories are from nutrient-rich foods, but there's no need to go bulking up with extra calories. By the time you enter your third trimester, your body will need an extra 200 calories a day. This amounts to a large banana and a glass of milk, so it hardly counts as eating for two.
Big Pregnancy Myths: #4 You Can Avoid Stretch Marks By Using This Product
When marketers look at pregnant women, they see a bump-sized pot of money. All kinds of products are marketed at pregnant women, all claiming to solve one of the many perceived pregnancy problems. If you're worried about stretch marks, you could find yourself forking out on all manner of creams, ointments and oils each claiming to keep stretch marks at bay.
In truth, there is little evidence to back up claims that these products can prevent stretch marks, so you could simply be rubbing money into your bump (hey, maybe that's the answer?!). Many experts believe stretch marks to be hereditary, meaning there is little you can do about them. Your skin is simply stretching faster than ever before (do you really want to slow your bump down?!), and once those skin fibres stretch and break, they don’t magically re-form.
It is important to keep your skin moisturised during pregnancy, so make sure you are drinking enough water. There's no need to spend a lot on bump creams, a simple daily lathering of virgin coconut oil will help to keep your skin moisturised.
Big Pregnancy Myths: #5 You Can Predict The Sex Of Your Baby
Some people (spoiler alert: not experts) believe they can predict the sex of your baby by looking at the position of your bump, the size of your bump, the size of your nose, whether you have cold feet, and how fast your hair grows. Your age, the due date and the date of conception are also considered by some to reveal the likely sex of your unborn child.
Most of these predictions have been disputed by scientific research, and simply remain in circulation as old wives' tales. If you want to know the sex of your baby, your healthcare provider will use an ultrasound scan to determine the information, they would never simply measure the width of your nose before announcing what sex your unborn child would be. Some people believe these old wives' tales to be true simply because they have been right before, because there are only two possible answers and so the law of averages dictates they will be right around half of the time.
Big Pregnancy Myths: #6 Your New Boobs Will Be Awesome
This one is bandied about quite a lot, especially in publications aimed at dads-to-be. Not only is this patronising in a, ‘hey, you must be interested in breasts' sort of a way, it's also not entirely true. Yes, chances are your breasts will get bigger during pregnancy (though not definitely). Yes, perhaps your partner will like them. Yes, perhaps even you will like them, until someone touches them that is.
Your breasts may be tender, sore, painful and may leave you feeling anything but sexy. Even the gentle caress of a cotton bra can leave you in tears, so you may not be in the mood for any fondling. You may find yourself implementing a strict ‘No Touching’ policy in the brassiere department, at least for the first trimester. As you enter the second trimester, your hormones will slow down and you may find that your breasts no longer feel tender.
Big Pregnancy Myths: #7 You Can't Start Exercising During Pregnancy
You may find yourself avoiding strenuous activities during pregnancy, for fear of harming your unborn child. If you don't usually hang out in the bench press area at the gym, then now is not the time to start. That said though, you should exercise throughout your pregnancy.
If you are a fitness fanatic, speak to your healthcare provider to find out if you need to take extra care during pregnancy. Generally, you should be ok to maintain your pre-pregnancy level of exercise, though you may need cut out certain activities. Extreme sports, for example, are not recommended during pregnancy.
If you're not usually into keeping fit, that's no excuse now. Not only can you take up exercise during pregnancy, but you are encouraged to. Keeping fit during pregnancy can help to maintain a healthy weight gain, keep aches and pains at bay, and prepare you for childbirth. If you're new to exercising, sign up for an antenatal fitness class such as yoga or pilates to ease yourself in gently.
Big Pregnancy Myths: #8 Pregnancy Is Wonderful And Joyful
Some women spend their pregnancy skipping along the rose coloured paths on cloud nine, sure, but it's not that way for everyone. So much emphasis is placed on the wonder of pregnancy, and little time is given to discussing the negative emotions experienced by many women during this period.
Pregnancy can be daunting, it can also be stressful, worrisome and filled with anxiety. All of these feelings are normal, and they are experienced by many pregnant women. Experiencing these emotions does not mean that you are abnormal, or will struggle to bond with your baby, or even that you're a terrible mother. Don't add guilt to the list of emotions you're feeling, pregnancy doesn't have to feel wonderful all the time. There is no shame in crying in the bath. Unless the window cleaner sees you.
If you’re not enjoying your pregnancy, be sure to check out our article Not Enjoying Being Pregnant? 8 Helpful Tips.
Big Pregnancy Myths: #9 Births Should Take Place In A Hospital
Hospital births are overwhelmingly seen as the norm, and many women feel that this is really the only option available to them. A small percentage of babies, however, are born at home. These births are attended by healthcare providers who are qualified, trained and experienced to effectively and safely manage homebirths. Some people believe first babies should be born in hospitals, but in fact many are born safely at home.
If you would like to find out more about the possibility of a homebirth, speak to a local homebirth/independent midwife for advice. Unfortunately you may come across biased advice if you speak to your GP or obstetrician, so be sure to hear information from both sides and explore which option makes you feel more at ease. The more at ease you are, the better your birth will be.
Childbirth should be about informed decisions, so make sure you are equipped with the information before dismissing the idea of a homebirth out of hand.
Big Pregnancy Myths: #10 Eating Pineapple Will Bring On Labour
Heavily pregnant women are often frustrated, desperate women who will do just about anything to bring on labour. If you're reading this and eating a very spicy pineapple curry while having sex in a car driving down a cobbled street, you'll understand. The internet is full of blogs, forums and articles about how to bring on labour. One popular method is eating pineapple, which believers argue contains the enzyme bromelain can stimulate the cervix and bring on labour. In reality, pineapples contain so little bromelain that you would need to eat at least seven pineapples for this to have any effect. And even then, the effect is likely to be diahorrea rather than labour.
You can read about natural, labour inducing techniques here – some have studies backing their use.