When it comes to pregnancy, it’s important to learn all you can about what you can do to support your baby’s health, so any information you can get is going to help.
We’re sure after you announced the good news you found yourself flooded by advice from people, whether you asked or not – little tips from well-meaning relatives and friends who care about you, or even from magazines with the latest tips. But how do you know what’s true and what isn’t?
Your first pregnancy is an exciting time, and you want to know that you’re doing the best for your baby that you possibly can. But there’s a lot of information out there, so how do you know what is a myth and what is fact?
Here are 10 common pregnancy myths to help clear the air.
You Shouldn’t Exercise
As long as you aren’t putting yourself under any intense strain, moderate exercise actually has a lot of health benefits for both you and your baby. In fact, it has been found that babies whose mothers regularly exercised during pregnancy may be born with healthier hearts and bigger brains.
You Can’t Eat Seafood
Before you ditch the fish, do your research. Some fish have high levels of mercury, so they are best avoided. Most of these are predatory fish, like swordfish, king mackerel and bigeye tuna. However, fish is a great source of nutrients and most fish are completely safe to consume for pregnant mothers. It’s also worth to note that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids consumed during pregnancy has been linked to smarter kids. Take a look at the foodstandards.gov.au website for more information on safe mercury levels.
You Need to Eat For Two
It’s not true that you need to eat double. It’s actually estimated that you only need about 300 extra calories a day to support your baby’s growing needs.
You Can’t Drink Coffee
It’s not a good idea to drink a lot of caffeine when you are pregnant, so if you are used to drinking three or more cups a day it might be a good idea to cut down. Despite this, most research suggests that under 200mg of caffeine a day is ok. One cup of instant coffee is normally around 100mg, while filter coffee usually sits at 150mg, so there’s no need to completely cut out your morning cup.
Cravings are a Sign of Health Deficiency
It’s a common misconception that if you have a particular craving it’s because you have a specific nutrient deficiency. This is simply not true. Cravings are more a result of hormonal changes and stem from what the brain wants. Still, if you find yourself craving non-food objects such as dirt or soap, you should contact your obstetrician. It could be a sign of a condition called Pica, which causes severe anaemia.
You Have to Give Up on Sweets
It’s probably not a good idea to binge on the whole confectionary aisle, however, a recent study has found that chocolate may actually be good for your baby. The study found that chocolate may result in your baby being happier in the first six months after birth. Another study found that a moderate consumption of chocolate during the third trimester can result in a 40% lower risk of developing preeclampsia, a harmful high blood pressure condition.
You Shouldn’t Dye Your Hair
Many mothers believe that the chemicals in hair dye should be avoided altogether during pregnancy in the belief that they may seep through the skin and harm the baby. However, the chemicals are nowhere toxic enough to cause any harm transdermally, and most of the molecules are too large to permeate through the skin anyway. Still, some mothers prefer not to dye their hair within the first 12 weeks just to be safe.
Heartburn Means Your Baby Will Have Lots of Hair
It’s a common myth that heartburn during pregnancy is the result of your baby having a lot of hair, but this has not been proven. The fact is that a lot of babies are born with hair and a lot of mothers get heartburn during pregnancy, so there is a correlation. Heartburn, however, is common in all pregnancies, as the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus tends to loosen up, letting more stomach acid through.
You Should Stay Away From Cats
There’s no need to stay away from your fuzzy friends while pregnant, but you should probably stay away from your cat’s litter tray. A condition called toxoplasmosis, caused by contact with cat faeces, can harm an unborn baby. Try to get someone else to change the litter or make sure you wear gloves.
Morning Sickness Only Happens In the Morning
Despite the name, morning sickness can happen at any time of day, as hormones are different and can change between women. Still, the condition is common in the morning for most pregnancies.
If you have any questions about your pregnancy or any other questions about your baby, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Dr Bevan Brown is one of the most trusted obstetricians in Sydney. Personalised care and strong relationships with our patients is of utmost importance!