15 Pregnancy Myths to know
Pregnancy means overhauling your diet, doing your best to stay healthy and strong, and weathering all sorts of changes to your body.
But there are so many pregnancy myths and misconceptions floating around that it can be difficult for mums-to-be to keep it all straight. After all, there’s well-meaning advice from family members — and then there are doctor’s orders.
Worried about staying healthy during pregnancy? These are 15 common pregnancy myths and misconceptions — so you can feel confident about having the healthiest pregnancy.
1. It’s dangerous to exercise
This is one of the biggest myths and misconceptions about being pregnant. Not only is this myth not true, but we’d go so far as to say it’s the opposite: pregnant women should attempt regular exercise as long as they feel comfortable and have the go-ahead from their doctor. Regular workouts while pregnant can even help with back pain or poor sleep, and, once you’re healed from delivery, it’s ok to start exercising again as a new mum.
2. You’re “eating for two”
While pregnancy can sometimes feel like a licence to eat anything you fancy, They need to watch their caloric intake, just like everyone else. According to WebMd, you only need about 300 extra calories per day to hit all the nutrient requirements of it. For more suggestions about how to foster healthy eating habits during pregnancy, check out our pregnancy eating guide.
3. It doesn’t matter if you gain a lot of weight
Some myths and misconceptions, like this one, can be harmful. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can be dangerous for both mum and baby. Overweight mums have an increased risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and more persistent backaches.
4. You shouldn’t eat seafood
While it’s true your diet changes while pregnant, you can still eat cooked fish, like salmon, tilapia, and scallops, two to three times per week. The omega-3 fatty acids in most seafood are great for staying healthy throughout for being pregnant. However, pregnant women should avoid any seafood with high levels of mercury, like tuna and swordfish, altogether.
5. You can still drink a glass of wine
All alcoholic content is dangerous for baby, according to the latest regulations from the National Health and Medical Research Council. Alcohol increases the risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, and birth defects. Especially when pregnant, it’s important to discuss your use of alcohol with a GP.
6. Avoid caffeine
You might not be able to drink an entire pot of coffee in the morning, but you can still have one cup to help you start off your day. It’s even better to switch to decaf or tea, including green and herbal teas.
7. Say no to cheese
Only some soft or unpasteurised cheeses, like brie, camembert, and goat cheese, are off-limits. These mould-ripened soft cheeses can contain bacteria that may harm your baby. Cheddar, feta, and parmesan are all fair game, though.
8. Don’t take over-the-counter drugs
It can be uncomfortable for being pregnant — but that doesn’t mean you have to be in pain. Certain medications, like paracetamol, are safe for both mum and baby. Pregnant women should avoid ibuprofen and aspirin, however, as these medications can cause complications. As always, it’s best to check in with your doctor about any over-the-counter or prescription medications you may take while pregnant.
9. You’ll have to let your grey grow back in
Some hair dyes have toxic ingredients, which pose health risks. But research shows that these dyes would have to be used in very high concentrations to cause complications to your pregnancy. Carefully read all packaging and consult with your doctor if you’re concerned.
10. No more spa days
If you love to relax with a good mani-pedi, rest assured — you can still get your nails done. Like hair dye, however, it’s safest to limit your exposure. Many nail polishes and nail polish removers contain harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde and toluene, which can pose health risks in high doses.
11. Sex is off the table
You might feel more uncomfortable than sexy while pregnant, but it’s still safe to have sex with your partner. Sex only poses increased risks during the final weeks of pregnancy, when it might affect hormone levels and cause contractions, or for women who have experienced miscarriages. For normal pregnancies, however, getting busy is normal and healthy.
12. You lose the bulk of your weight from being pregnant during the birth
Most mums gain anywhere from 11.5kg to 16 kg during the time there are pregnant— but only lose about 5 kg during birth. (That’s about how much baby and placenta weigh, along with any additional loss in water weight). It can take about a year to lose the remaining pregnancy weight.
13. Being pregnant is happy for everyone
If you’re having a difficult pregnancy, know you’re not alone. According to the Royal Women’s Hospital, about 15 percent of women experience depression and anxiety while pregnant or after giving birth. Even if you planned for and want your baby very badly, being pregnant can be an up-and-down experience — it’s okay to ask for help.
14. You’ll have weird cravings
While it’s normal to experience food cravings early in being pregnant, many women don’t experience cravings at all. It’s not clear why these cravings happen, and there’s no good research on it. But whether you’re craving pickles or cake, salty or sweet, the most important thing you can do is to make healthy food choices.
15. Morning sickness ends early in being pregnant
This is one of those myths and misconceptions most mums-to-be probably wish were true. Sorry to say, while morning sickness is most common in the first trimester, nausea can last until the 20-week mark. Additional rest, drinking water, and nibbling on crackers may help alleviate symptoms.