15 April 2015

Pregnancy Myths

By the Editorial Comitee IVI Blog

Nowadays there are a number of beliefs about pregnancy that are so ingrained they are believed to be facts. Beliefs such as the shape of your belly indicating he gender of your baby are widespread, but have no scientific grounding and rather are a result of years of cultural beliefs many of which a large number of people still believe.

Whether you’ve experienced these symptoms yourself, or because you’ve heard it from people around you, many of the situations below will sound familiar to you. We hope that these explanations will help you solve some of the doubts you may have during your pregnancy.

“Babies have birthmarks shaped like unfulfilled food cravings”

This is one reason we may find a partner driving around at 1am to try and find an open shop in an attempt to prevent their baby being born with a pickle-shaped birthmark.

Cravings arise even when we’re not expecting a baby, so keep calm and be aware that not fulfilling cravings will not have any impact on your baby. However, it is a good excuse to have a treat! You deserve the occasional marshmallow sandwich in the middle of the night.


“I need to rest during pregnancy”

Nowadays, we know the benefits of exercise for pregnant women, as long as it is safe and in moderation. Pilates, yoga, dancing or just walking will help you feel more flexible during this stage and help you feel stronger once the baby is born.


“It is dangerous to eat pâté or prosciutto if you are pregnant and have not had toxoplasmosis”.

If this infection, caused by a parasite called toxoplasma gondii, is contracted during pregnancy, it could have harmful effects on the baby. Therefore, it is recommended not to eat raw meat, to properly wash fruits and vegetables, and avoid contact with cat faeces. However, if you have already had the infection, there’s no need to worry.

You’ll probably have heard that when you are pregnant you should eat for two. You must take care of your food habits throughout pregnancy and the right approach is to eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods that will benefit you and your baby (and not just to eat double the amount of anything you like. Gaining two pounds per month of pregnancy is considered a normal weight gain and a balanced diet will allow you to recover faster after delivery.


“I must stay out of the sun during pregnancy”

You might have been warned about the dangers of sunbathing when you’re pregnant, but the fact is that the sun offers great advantages, as long as you take the proper protective measures to avoid sunburn, over-exposure and dehydration. During pregnancy, due to an increased amount of hormones, sunspots may appear. If you want to prevent sunspots and other more severe sun-related skin damage you must use high-factor sunscreen, stay hydrated, avoid midday sun and not lie in the sun for too long. Follows these rules and you are free to lie belly-up as often as you please.


“I shouldn’t have sex during pregnancy”

Sex are not all-out and pregnancy are not enemies, contrary to what is often believed. Your partner’s penis, nor orgasms, can jeopardise pregnancy. Many stories that are heard relating to this topic aren’t true. The truth is that sex during pregnancy prepares your body for delivery, since the vaginal muscles are exercised, which can be helpful in case of vaginal delivery. Besides, during sexual intercourse the baby receives more oxygen, which improves his or her health. Therefore, as long as there are no complications, and you feel like it, you can continue with your normal sex life, adapting positions as your belly grows.


“Does my heartburn mean I will have a hairy baby?”

Another widespread belief is that heartburn during pregnancy means you will have a hairy baby. However, the truth is that the amount of hair seems to be linked to genes. The explanation for heartburn during pregnancy is simple: throughout pregnancy, hormones relax the muscles of the digestive system, making it more likely for the stomach acids to go up the oesophagus, (especially if you are lying horizontally). This becomes more frequent during the last months of pregnancy, when the uterus begins to press against the stomach.

The myths above are odd, but some are even stranger. The gold medal goes to bizarre beliefs such as; raising your hands above your head can strangle the baby with the umbilical cord, swimming in public pools can put the baby in contact with dirty water, if a pregnant woman witnesses a lunar eclipse, her baby will be born with a cleft lip and that the absence of music during pregnancy can cause deafness in the baby.

We hope we have made you breathe a sign of relief; pregnancy does not involve as many hazards as old wives’ tales would have us believe. How about you? Do you know any other myths related to pregnancy?

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