7 Pregnancy Myths Busted
If you talk to your mother or grandmother, you’ll realize that pregnancy has come a long way. We now have technology that can reveal your baby’s gender in the first trimester. We know about the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. Healthy babies are born in hospitals surrounded by doctors and at home with the help of doulas. However, despite all the information available to women today, confusing pregnancy myths still are floating around. Have no fear, mamas! We are here to debunk those myths and let you know the facts—the “do’s and don’ts” of pregnancy.
*The following recommendations are for healthy pregnancies free of major complications.
Myth #1: Exercise is unsafe during pregnancy. Pregnant women can continue safely with normal exercise routines their bodies are used to doing. In fact, at least moderate exercise is recommended to keep your muscles strong and able to handle the exertion of pregnancy. Exercise also prepares you for labor and delivery—which can feel like running a marathon! However, pregnancy is not the time to start an intense, new exercise regimen or push yourself beyond normal exercise limits. Listen to your body. Stop if you are exhausted or feeling ill. Pregnancy is not a time to lose weight, but rather a time to keep your body as strong and healthy as possible. Safe exercises for pregnancy include stretching, yoga, squatting, swimming and walking.
Myth #2: Caffeine is unsafe for consumption during pregnancy. Studies show that around 200 milligrams of caffeine per day (one to two normal size cups of coffee per day) is safe. Any caffeine intake higher than that could increase your chance of miscarriage, according to MayoClinic.org. Also, caffeine is a diuretic and causes dehydration, which should be avoided during pregnancy. So mamas, you still can enjoy a warm latte on these cold winter days!
Myth #3: Pregnant women should not eat fish. Many types of fish are actually very healthy for a mom and baby during pregnancy, as they provide protein, iron, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids (MayoClinic.org). Eating cold water fish, such as salmon, shrimp and canned light tuna, a couple of times a week is recommended. However, pregnant women absolutely should avoid raw fish, such as sushi and rare tuna, and they should limit consumption of high-mercury fish, such as shark, king mackerel and swordfish.
Myth #4: Air travel is unsafe for pregnant women. If a woman is having a healthy pregnancy, she can safely travel via airplane up to 36 weeks. Some doctors even approve travel within the third trimester, depending on the reason for the trip and how the pregnancy is going. Try to avoid lifting heavy luggage or overexerting yourself, however. Give yourself extra time so you’re not racing through the airport, and bring plenty of water and healthy snacks.
Myth #5: Pregnant women should not take medication. A mother’s staying healthy during pregnancy is important. If your body is dependent on regular medication, it may be safe to continue. Talk to your doctor about your medication to develop a plan to stay healthy. Over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol, antacids and certain types of cold remedies, such as expectorants, are generally viewed as safe to use during pregnancy. Also, pregnant women have a strong recommendation to get a flu shot.
Myth #6: Pregnant women should never lift more than 20 pounds. Many women have toddlers at home during their second, third and subsequent pregnancies. Of course Mama should avoid heavy lifting if at all possible—ask Dad or someone else to carry a heavy box or a suitcase or even a child. But we all know waiting on help isn’t always realistic. If your body is used to carrying a heavy toddler and you have no pregnancy complications, you likely can carry your older child throughout the pregnancy. However, if you need a heavy box of books moved, wait until someone else can do it!
Myth #7: Sex during pregnancy is unsafe. This has been proven untrue and, more than likely, your doctor will tell you that maintaining a healthy sex life with your partner is perfectly safe for you and your baby. Parenthood is hard on a relationship! Nurture your marriage in any way you can!
Hopefully, debunking these pregnancy myths puts your mind at ease. Enjoy this time of celebration and spoiling yourself. You are growing another life. Take care of yourself. Go out. Live. Order a latte. Take a walk with your spouse while you argue over baby names. That little bundle will be here before you know it.
Olathe mom Karen Johnson has three children, ages 6, 4 and 2. She writes at The21stCenturySAHM.com.
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.
1. Which of the following is a recommended exercise for pregnancy?
B. rock climbing
D. endurance training
2. Which of the following is unsafe for consumption during pregnancy?
B. raw fish
C. red meat
D. cooked salmon
3. Which of the following are true?
A. Sex is safe during pregnancy.
B. Many medications are safe for pregnant women to take.
C. Pregnant women can safely enjoy one to two cups of coffee per day.
D. All of the above.
4. Pregnant women should not
A. become dehydrated
B. lift their toddlers
C. travel on airplanes
D. take Tylenol
5. Pregnancy is a time to
A. focus on your health
B. enjoy life
C. connect with your partner
D. All of the above