Common pregnancy myths

This article was last updated on June 18, 2022

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Are you confused about what to do and what not to, now that you are pregnant? We get experts to dispel common pregnancy myths

It’s that time in your life when you’re going through a mixture of emotions – excitement, happiness and anxiousness. As a soon-to-be mother you want to try and do everything right in order to have a safe and healthy delivery. But the endless advice that people are giving you can leave you perplexed. Right from your doctor to your parents, friends, relatives and even strangers; everyone has an opinion on what you should and shouldn’t do when you’re pregnant. A lot of pregnancy myths are created through hearsay and need to be sifted out from the truth.

Gynaecologist Dr Rishma Pai says she has come across women who have a number of pregnancy-related misconceptions. A common notion is that eating papaya, eggs and other ‘heaty’ foods may result in an abortion. In fact, there is no such thing as ‘hot’ fruits and if eaten in moderation, it will cause no harm to the baby, she says. With regard to salon treatments like chemically dyeing the hair, Dr Pai says it is best to avoid hair colour during the first three months as the chemicals get absorbed from the scalp and reach the blood stream. During the latter half of pregnancy, it may not be that risky. However, herbal preparations are preferred, she adds.

If you are exercising then ensure that you keep yourself well-hydrated, says Dr Dube. So any specific health tip? During pregnancy, tobacco, unnecessary medicines, etc, should be avoided as they cause a serious threat to both the mother and the foes, he adds.

Expert Leena Mogre doubts certain nutrition myths. Every pregnant woman needs between 2,200 to 2,500 calories as compared to a normal woman who needs just 1,800. Alcohol is a strict no-no. The results of alcohol consumption during pregnancy can be disastrous, leading to birth deformations and even miscarriages,” warns Leena, who says consuming sufficient calcium, vitamins (especially B) and minerals is important. She recommends pregnant women take up swimming, use a Swiss ball for core strengthening and do lots of breathing exercises but only after the first trimester.

Even in a bid to try and guess the sex of the baby before birth, there are a lot of myths doing the rounds. Ante-natal care specialist Sonali Shivlani says the shape and size of the stomach cannot tell the sex but only depicts the way the baby is lying in the womb. If the stomach is protruding outwards, it indicates that the baby is in a vertical position and if the stomach is broad, then the baby is in a horizontal position. The size of the stomach is also dependent on the gestation age of the baby and the height of the mother. Similarly a glow on the mother’s face is no indication of the sex, adds Sonali.

She also has quite a few suggestions on the stretch marks that can show during this phase. Stretch marks caused by the stretching of the skin is hereditary and related to one’s nutrition. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can help make the skin soft and supple internally and reduce the incidence of stretch marks. Sexual intercourse is fine after the first trimester and up to the eighth month. But, it is best to consult with your doctor for each individual case, she adds.

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