Pregnancy is a very exciting and important phase for any woman but many weird and conventional myths also surround pregnancy, which involves incorrect information or confusion in the mind of a pregnant woman. So let’s discuss common myths in pregnancy and bust these myths with scientific explanations. Myths can be regarding food, exercise, various physical activities, travelling etc. Let’s start with myths regarding food first
No, it’s not true. A pregnant woman has to just eat a bit more. Always eat a balanced, nutritious diet. She should divide the meal into three major meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) along with three snacks in between. For snacks, she can have peanuts, eggs, dry fruits, jaggery etc. That means she should always take small, frequent meals instead of prolonged fasting.
A pregnant woman only requires approximately 15% more calories than non-pregnant women. That means about 300 to 500 kilocalories per day is required depending upon the pre-pregnancy BMI. She should aim for a gradual increase in calories throughout the pregnancy.
In The first trimester, usually no extra calories are required. In the second and third trimesters additionally, 300 to 400 kilocalories per day are enough for the growth of the baby.
Also, always wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.
Fatty food is not required. She can have various cravings but just keep portions of unhealthy food a little limited. Even tea coffee is allowed if taken in moderation like she can have one to two small cups of tea or coffee in a day. In fruits, pineapple and papaya in small quantities have no harmful effects. Don’t take unripe fruits. So the bottom line is to have healthy food, a balanced diet, frequent meals and don’t skip meals at all.
For example, certain old or conventional beliefs claim that having saffron, coconut water etc. can give birth to fair coloured baby but it’s not true. It all depends upon the genes and colour of the parents and no food can do any wonders.
Current guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise in pregnancy. You can divide it into various intervals like five times of moderate exercise per week for 30 minutes or 10 times of exercise per week for 15 minutes depending upon your convenience. In the 3rd trimester special exercises like squatting or pelvic tilts can be done which help to prepare for labour and delivery. These exercises are beneficial because they reduce the risk of obesity and its complications like gestational diabetes or hypertension. So, in short, pregnancy is a normal physiological process, it is not a disease so she should continue to be as physically active as she was before pregnancy.
Hence, basic household work and office work is to be continued. Only if she has any complications, her doctor will put her on some restrictions on physical movement or activity in pregnancy. If she were doing any exercises before pregnancy she can continue with that also. Only very hard-core gymming exercises, boxing, jogging etc. are to be avoided in pregnancy. Exercise also helps in reducing back pain which is very common in pregnancy and reduces insomnia in pregnancy too.
Certain precautions should be taken during pregnancy. While exercising wear loose clothes, drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated before and after exercise to avoid any dehydration. Yes, she can safely drive and air travel during pregnancy and she should put a seat belt below her belly. In cases of prolonged travels by air where the risk of blood clot formation in the legs or swelling in the legs can happen, she should use tight stockings, maintain hydration and try to move lower limbs often.
The conventional beliefs range from using the shape of the pregnant woman’s face, belly or preference to certain food items like certain food cravings in pregnancy to guessing the sex of the baby or depending upon the baby’s heart rate, but all these beliefs have no scientific basis.
Occasionally these are allowed. If she is doing it on and off it’s ok. If she has any allergy to these products she should avoid using laser treatment and chemical treatment of her face. Hair coloring is better if it is a semi-permanent hair colour and she should wear gloves while applying the colour or these chemicals. There should be a limited time period, in a well-ventilated room and less skin contact should be there. She can apply henna too.
Ghee will not make her baby slip through the birth canal. She needs exercise and an active lifestyle for that. Also, it depends on the size of the baby, pelvis etc.
Certain foods and drinks can bring in labour for example spicy food, castor oil etc. But these cause heartburn, diarrhea etc. and there's no scientific evidence that those things induce labour.
This is not true. She should always eat something light before going to the hospital because if she takes some heavy food she might feel like vomiting.
In reality, she may be able to. It depends on how the current pregnancy is progressing, the woman’s labour and the risk of any potential complications.
That going out, eating, drinking, stitching etc. can harm the developing baby which is also not true. It is just a wrong belief and not to be taken seriously.
It’s not true. Non-vegetarian food if properly cooked is perfectly fine in pregnancy. Only raw meat or raw eggs are not to be consumed. Mercury-containing fish is also not recommended.
No cream can prevent stretch marks. It depends upon the genes or her skin type. Also how much stretching is there in the pregnancy like in cases of good size babies or in twin pregnancy there is more stretching of the skin and hence more stretch marks. Keep the skin well moisturized but you cannot prevent the stretch marks fully.
Lateral position is definitely better in pregnancy as it leads to more blood flow towards the growing fetus. But, you may lie down in any position left or right depending upon her comfort. During the third trimester of pregnancy, avoiding lying on the back is recommended due to the pressure the fetus can put on major blood vessels, which may cause complications. You can choose any other comfortable position, like on the left side.
The baby is well protected in the uterus and is surrounded by the amniotic fluid and the baby is continuously moving inside the uterus. So, your movements or position posture is not going to affect the movements of the baby inside the uterus in any way, is not true at all.
Sexual relations in pregnancy are not restricted unless and until they create complications in your pregnancy. You can safely go ahead with the sexual relations unless your cervix is short. If there is a risk of preterm labour and placenta-previa then your doctor may put you under some restrictions.
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