Hopefully these seven myths debunked can ease your mind and make you feel better about your growing bundle of joy:
1. Craving Dairy Means It’s a Girl!
If you’re best friend for the last few months has been a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream, don’t start buying everything in pink quite yet. Guessing the gender of the baby has been the source of plenty of myths over centuries, but it’s really a combination of genetics.
At the moment of conception, the sperm introduces either an X or a Y chromosome to the X chromosome already contained in the egg. So, all that time spent trying to guess is better spent on pre-baby relaxation. An ultrasound at 20-weeks is the easiest way to find out before birth.
2. Avoid Sex While Pregnant
Pregnancy requires a woman’s body to go through some pretty extreme changes. The entire process is amazing and disconcerting at times. With the “nature” of pregnancy, it’s no surprise that plenty of women (and men) are squeamish or concerned about sex throughout the pregnancy.
Fortunately, your regular intimacy shouldn’t come anywhere near the baby. As long as your OB/GYN and partner okay it, you can enjoy business as usual. Although, you may have to adjust for your growing stomach eventually.
3. A Little Alcohol is Okay, Right?
“A glass of wine or a beer can help me relax and won’t hurt the baby!” This is a statement that we’ve all heard at least once from a mommy-to-be, and a point of contention for most of us. In truth, there is no safe amount of alcohol you can drink while pregnant.
Alcohol is easily absorbed by the fetus, meaning that the baby is drinking while the mother is. With the tiny size of the fetus, it doesn’t take much alcohol to risk the lifelong effects of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).
FASDs occur when the baby’s brain development is delayed or damaged by maternal alcohol use. Children who are born with FASDs can live with both physical deformities and mental impairments that vary in severity.
This is one myth that borders on dangerous and is completely fictitious. Don’t drink while pregnant, and if you have a problem with alcohol, make the right choice and let your OB/GYN help you find treatment.
4. Say Goodbye to Coffee
We’ve established that alcohol is an absolute no-no while pregnant, but what about that glorious morning cup of coffee? While it is true that caffeine carries over to the fetus, a small amount has been proven to be safe throughout pregnancy. As long as your OB/GYN gives you the green light, you don’t have to start your day without your favorite beverage.
The same goes for tea and any other approved drink that contains a standard serving of caffeine. This doesn’t mean that you and your baby bump should spend the day chugging high octane energy drinks (these are actually harmful to the fetus), but you don’t need to let your Starbucks taste like mom guilt either.
5. Eat Something Spicy to Start Labor
You’re so excited for that 40-week mark, that magical day when you’ll meet your uterine houseguest. But, what happens when that day comes, and goes, without so much as a Braxton Hicks twinge? If you’ve never been 10-months pregnant, then you can’t possibly understand the bladder busting, insomnia inducing, baby acrobatics taking place in late pregnancy.
Some women love to be pregnant, but no one wants to stay pregnant for any longer than they have to near the end. Cue the crazy ways to induce labor. Some women try spicy foods, yams, castor oil, and even laxatives (unsafe) to try to start stubborn contractions. Unfortunately, none of these methods safely work, and you may just end up even more uncomfortable than you started.
The only real and proven way to start labor is with the help of your doctor, who will probably recommend that you be induced before week 42. Babies set their own schedules and listening to your body is key.
6. Skip Your Flu Shots During Pregnancy
We always want to do what’s best for the baby, and a lot of women ask the question, “vaccines while pregnant: are they safe?’
During pregnancy, it’s important to avoid any type of serious illness that can put stress on the mother and child. It makes perfect sense to get any vaccines recommended by your OB/GYN, including the yearly flu shot.
There’s very little evidence that this will have a negative impact on the unborn baby, and plenty of evidence that getting vaccinated is a good decision. Again, this is one of those decisions that definitely needs to be overseen by a medical professional.
7. Pregnancy is the Most Magical Time in Your Life
Gaining 20 plus pounds, swelling feet, a bladder the size of a walnut, constipation, and backaches don’t necessarily make pregnancy much fun for some women. It’s okay to feel worn out or overwhelmed sometimes. Yes, some absolutely love being pregnant, but others can experience symptoms that are downright unpleasant.
Amidst all of the strangers wanting to touch your growing belly and lightening fast hormonal changes, it’s easy to feel guilty for not enjoying every minute of it. It’s important to take time to make happy memories over those 40-weeks, and to try and stay as comfortable as possible. No one can tell you how to feel about the process, and growing a tiny human definitely isn’t easy!
It’s Different for Everyone
No two pregnancies are exactly alike, and it’s okay to voice any and every concern to your OB/GYN. Just make sure to avoid buying into myths that could be useless at best, and harmful at worst. Do your homework, talk to medical professionals, and try to relax while you can!