Have you been told to steer clear of cheese and seafood? Or asked if your expecting a girl after suffering consistent morning sickness? In this article we’ll set the record straight about some common pregnancy and birth misconceptions.
Whether you are trying to conceive, currently pregnant or have recently given birth, those close by will most likely be trying to give you advise and warnings. Whether you are receiving advise from your own mother, a relative, a friend or the worst of them all, Dr Google, it is important to understand what information is fact and what is fiction.
While some of the advise you are receiving may be helpful or comforting, always seek appropriate medical advise where necessary. It should be a time of joy and excitement, not a time of myth-related stress.
In this article we will cover a number of pregnancy, birth and newborn myths and misconceptions that often circulate the world.
- 1 20 Pregnancy, Birth and Baby – Myths and Misconceptions Debunked
- 1.1 Pregnancy Myths and Misconceptions
- 1.1.1 #1 Myth: Exercising When Pregnant Will Cause a Premature Labor
- 1.1.2 #2 Myth: Eating Peanuts While Pregnant Will Give my Baby Allergies
- 1.1.3 #3 Myth: I’ve Lost my Mucus Plug so my Labor Should Begin
- 1.1.4 #4 Myth: I Shouldn’t Eat Seafood or Cheese
- 1.1.5 #5 Myth: I Should be Eating for Two
- 1.1.6 #6 Myth: A Glass of Wine Once a Week is Fine During Pregnancy
- 1.1.7 #7 Myth: I will Only Suffer From Morning Sickness for the First Trimester
- 1.1.8 #8 Myth: Carrying High is a Girl and Carrying Low is a Boy
- 1.2 Birth/Labor Myths and Misconceptions
- 1.2.1 #1 Myth: My Baby Should Arrive on Their Due Date
- 1.2.2 #2 Myth: A C-Section is Less Painful than a Vaginal Birth
- 1.2.3 #3 Myth: A Doctor Will be Present Throughout the Entire Labor
- 1.2.4 #4 Myth: I Have Delivered my Baby and my Labor is Over
- 1.2.5 #5 Myth: You Must Give Birth on Your Back
- 1.2.6 #6 Myth: My Pre-Baby Body Will Bounce Back Shortly After Giving Birth
- 1.3 Newborn/Infant Myths and Misconceptions
- 1.3.1 #1 Myth: An Infant Should be Bathed Daily
- 1.3.2 #2 Myth: My Baby Will Walk Sooner if He/She Uses a Walker
- 1.3.3 #3 Myth: An Infant Should Have a Bowel Movement Every Day
- 1.3.4 #4 Myth: Newborns Cannot See
- 1.3.5 #5 Myth: Infants Should Sleep Through the Night From Three Months Old
- 1.3.6 #6 Myth: Picking up a Crying Baby too Often Will Spoil Them
- 1.1 Pregnancy Myths and Misconceptions
20 Pregnancy, Birth and Baby – Myths and Misconceptions Debunked
Pregnancy Myths and Misconceptions
#1 Myth: Exercising When Pregnant Will Cause a Premature Labor
This is one of the most told myths when you are pregnant. Many mothers are told by friends to cease exercising when pregnant as this can cause you to go into premature labor.
While exerting yourself to extremes is unsafe for you and your baby, regular exercise is actually beneficial. Exercise can help with pregnancy discomforts and allows your body to prepare for a complication free vaginal delivery. Many women are suggested to be active postpartum to help them regain strength.
#2 Myth: Eating Peanuts While Pregnant Will Give my Baby Allergies
There is no evidence to suggest that eating highly allergenic foods such as peanuts while pregnant will increase the likelihood of the infant having food allergies. Cutting allergenic foods from your diet when pregnant is actually not recommended as many of these foods provide crucial nutrients for you and your baby.
#3 Myth: I’ve Lost my Mucus Plug so my Labor Should Begin
You’ve lost your mucus plug but let me tell you there’s no point staring at the clock. While loosing a mucus plug often indicates that labor is close, this does not mean your waters will be breaking on the same day.
While some women state that their contractions began only hours after loosing their plug, other women say they waited weeks for a contraction to begin. Your mucus plug can even come away in pieces, so if you notice your beginning to see an unusual mucus discharge close to your due date, there is no rush to call a doctor.
#4 Myth: I Shouldn’t Eat Seafood or Cheese
While there is some truth behind this myth, you do not need to give up seafood and cheese altogether while pregnant.
Seafood with high levels of mercury such as tuna should be avoided where possible but other cooked seafood is actually fine to eat. In fact, the Omega 3 (fatty acid) in seafood will actually benefit your health throughout your pregnancy.
During pregnancy unpasteurized cheeses such as Brie and Camembert should be avoided. This is because unpasteurized cheeses have a higher chance of carrying bacteria that can be harmful to your baby. This does not mean you need to steer clear of all cheese though. There is no evidence to suggest eating other pasteurized cheeses such as Cheddar will cause any harm to an unborn baby.
#5 Myth: I Should be Eating for Two
Often pregnant woman feel as though they should be eating double their pre-pregnancy portions. While pregnancy does mean you are growing another human inside, it does not mean you should be eating for two. It is recommended that a pregnant woman should only increase their daily intake by 300 calories while they are pregnant.
#6 Myth: A Glass of Wine Once a Week is Fine During Pregnancy
Many years ago women did not realize the side effects of alcohol during pregnancy. In today’s society the warnings of consuming alcohol while pregnant are well advertised. Consuming any alcohol while pregnant will increase the likelihood of having a stillbirth, miscarrying or delivering a baby with birth defects.
#7 Myth: I will Only Suffer From Morning Sickness for the First Trimester
This myth is one that those suffering from morning sickness cross their fingers and hope is true. Although morning sickness is the most common during trimester one, many women suffer nausea up until the 20 week mark. Other moms to be, suffer morning sickness on and off until they deliver their baby. Every woman is different when it comes to morning sickness.
#8 Myth: Carrying High is a Girl and Carrying Low is a Boy
There a many ‘old wives tales’ in circulation, many of which are not true. The shape of a pregnant woman’s stomach does not indicate the gender of a baby.
It is generally the size of the baby that will dictate how the woman carries. While ‘old wives tales’ are often false, it is always a bit of fun for mothers to guess the gender of their baby. To find out the real gender of your baby, an ultrasound can determine the gender from 19 to 20 weeks pregnant.
Birth/Labor Myths and Misconceptions
#1 Myth: My Baby Should Arrive on Their Due Date
When you announce that you are expecting the first question people may ask is ‘When is your due date?’.
It is important to realize that a due date is really a rough estimate and an even rougher estimate for those that cannot pinpoint the day they conceived. A due date is a day worked out exactly 40 weeks from the woman’s last period.
Only 3 to 5% of babies are born on their due date. 80% of babies are either born within a two week period before or after their due date leaving the rest of babies to be born prematurely or after the 42 week mark.
Women often put too much emphasis on a due date. If your pregnancy is complication free, doctors will often be happy to allow the baby to come on their own terms (unless you are still pregnant past 42 weeks).
#2 Myth: A C-Section is Less Painful than a Vaginal Birth
This is a tough one. Both are painful. While having a vaginal birth is painful while delivering, c-section moms suffer the pain later from the post-surgery discomfort.
While there are a handful of mothers that handle cesareans really well, a large portion of c-section moms struggle after this abdominal surgery for many weeks.
#3 Myth: A Doctor Will be Present Throughout the Entire Labor
Many women believe there doctor will be present throughout their labor although in most labors this is not the case. Doctors will be present throughout labors where there are complications, although if a labor is progressing smoothly, a doctor may only come for interval checkups. This is not something to be worried about as the midwives looking after you will be present or in close proximity throughout your labor.
#4 Myth: I Have Delivered my Baby and my Labor is Over
You have finally delivered your newborn after what may have seemed like the longest day or night of your life. A labor is not entirely over though until the placenta has been passed. This generally happens under half an hour after the baby has been delivered. The placenta is often painless to deliver compared to child birth.
#5 Myth: You Must Give Birth on Your Back
Often in movies and television shows, the woman gives birth while lying on her back. In reality, you can choose a position that you are comfortable to give birth in. Some woman choose to be on all fours, others lying on their sides and others on their backs. The midwives will help you find a position that you are comfortable with and one that is safe for your baby.
#6 Myth: My Pre-Baby Body Will Bounce Back Shortly After Giving Birth
Many new moms expect to walk out of the hospital looking like they did a year ago. The reality is, it took nine months to grow a baby so to be fair, allow yourself nine months to get your pre-baby body back.
Eating healthy and exercising regularly will help you return to your pre-baby weight. These days there are fitness classes even designed for new moms. If you gave birth via c-section it is always important to get the all clear by your doctor before becoming involved in strenuous exercises.
Newborn/Infant Myths and Misconceptions
#1 Myth: An Infant Should be Bathed Daily
After you have your baby many midwives suggest bathing them on the second or third day of their life. This is because babies are born with natural oils on their skin. If you enjoy bathing your baby continue to do so although note babies do not need to be bathed daily. In saying this, always ensure you keep your babies face, neck, hands and genitals clean.
#2 Myth: My Baby Will Walk Sooner if He/She Uses a Walker
It turns out it is actually the opposite with many walkers and devices causing babies to be delayed in walking.
While walkers strengthens an infants lower leg muscles, the upper leg muscles and hips miss out. Many doctors recommend never purchasing one of these devices. Allow your infants to pull themselves up on furnishings and railings and walk when they are ready.
#3 Myth: An Infant Should Have a Bowel Movement Every Day
Each infant is different when discussing normal bowel movements. For some babies it is normal for them to have a bowel movement a couple times a day, while others may only go once every couple of days.
Generally breastfed babies will not have a bowel movement every day while formula fed babies tend to go more frequently. If you are ever concerned about your infants bowel movements its always good to book in as soon as possible with a GP.
#4 Myth: Newborns Cannot See
While newborns are in fact born with blurry vision, they can still see. The first two weeks newborns can only see in black and white but they can still see the world around them. You may notice your infant focusing on people or objects when they are only a couple of weeks old.
#5 Myth: Infants Should Sleep Through the Night From Three Months Old
While some moms are blessed with babies that virtually sleep through from day one, if your baby is anything like mine, you’ll still be up through the night two years on. Sleeping through the night is a developmental process for an infant. At around nine to ten months old approximately 80% of babies will be sleeping for stints of 7 to 10 hours.
#6 Myth: Picking up a Crying Baby too Often Will Spoil Them
A newborn cannot be spoilt. Their cries often indicate that they are hungry, wet, soiled or in some discomfort (often wind). Learning your babies cues can help determine what exactly they are crying for. Responding to a babies cries in the first few months is important. This is even if you believe that there is nothing for them to be crying about.