Debunking 5 Common Myths of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most valuable and significant phases in a woman’s life, also the most cherished one too. As an expecting mother, not only does she receive care, affection and attention from her family and friends, there is a continuous flow of information on the dos and don’ts shared to ensure a healthy pregnancy and fetal growth. While some of these have scientific reasoning, some are mere myths that have been passed on since generations. Instead of adding to the list of worries for the expectant mother, it is always better to find the meaning behind the suggestion and bust the myths. Consult your doctor for advice to clarify the misconceptions during prenatal consultations.

Eat for healthy gestational weight gain, not for two: During pregnancy, it is implied that an expectant mother needs to increase the nutrition intake, however, not the calorie count needed for two people. There are instances where women gain additional gestational weight, which later on, can lead to health risks including postpartum weight retention and obesity, and even childhood obesity. It can also lead to heart disorders, diabetes and hypertension due to excessive weight gain. It is always better to calculate the BMI during the prenatal visit and design a nutrition and diet chart for a healthy gestational weight gain. To avoid additional or inadequate weight gain in some cases, keep a journal of dietary habits to make changes as required. 

Enjoy your spicy food, but in moderation

During pregnancy, one of the most common things that we hear about is the craving for food and we usually blame the hormones for those unusual demands. Many women crave for spicy food or add the extra bit of chilli to their normal food. Since the food also reaches the fetus, it is advisable to consume spicy food in moderation. Not that the spicy food will lead to birth defects, but will have the potential to cause heartburn or nausea, bloating, indigestion and discomfort later for the mother. While preparing spicy food, choose the ingredients that will suit your taste and according to your tolerance for heat. Keep yourself hydrated. Always keep in mind that pregnancy does not allow you to pop in any over the counter medicines without doctor’s advice. Go slow, in moderation if you are not used to spicy food otherwise.

Sleeping on your back doesn’t harm the baby

The fear of unknowingly hurting the unborn typically keeps an expectant mother on her toes. Pregnant women are advised to sleep on their side and not on the back, especially during the second and third trimester, because with the growth of the uterus, there is more pressure on the inferior vena cava, the main vein that passes blood from the lower body back to the heart. Due to this pressure, there is restricted blood flow from the heart to the body including the uterus, leading to nausea, hypotension or low blood pressure, reduced blood circulation and backaches. While it is possible that the fetus might receive less oxygen and nutrients, there is nothing to worry about. It could merely be rolling on your back for a brief period of time. However, ensure that you have enough support and comfort around you while sleeping and avoid lying on your back for a prolonged duration. 

Not the ideal pro-caffeination time

For many of us, caffeine defines our lives. Not only does it kick start our day, it helps us focus and boost our energy levels. Caffeine can be found in coffee, tea, soft and energy drinks and chocolates and even few of them over the counter medicines. Pregnant women, similar to many other misconceptions, are warned against drinking any caffeine drink from the fear of miscarriage, low birth weight or premature birth. During pregnancy, it takes significantly longer time to clear caffeine from the blood and women are found to metabolize slowly. Hence, it is advisable to limit to 200 mg of coffee (two mugs of instant coffee or one mug of freshly brewed coffee) a day only. Consult your doctor before you consume herbal teas for safety. 

Stronger moms for stronger babies

One of the apprehensions that we notice among pregnant women is about exercising due to fear of miscarriage or preterm birth. Exercising during pregnancy does not mean the usual high impact exercises or contact sports but light to moderate training programs that help improve stamina and sleep relaxes the muscles, develop better posture, reduce joint pain and prepares for healthy childbirth. As good as 5 mins to 20 mins of the brisk walk, yoga, lightweight and resistance training, swimming, breathing exercises, bicycling or meditation will have a positive impact on both the mother and the baby. Avoid exerting too much pressure on the body and consult trained professionals and doctors prior to starting any exercise program.



 

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