I read it on the Internet, so it must be true. Right? Um, not so much – especially when it comes to pregnancy.
Well before that link pink plus sign ever crossed the window of that pregnancy test, you were completely into learning about what to expect. You read the blogs, joined the communities and spent hours searching for anything having to do with pregnancy, parenting and babies. You’re totally in the know.
Right about now you’re feeling pretty good about your parenting self. You have all the knowledge you need, and are pretty much a pregnancy expert. And then you find out the real truth. Yep, the real truth.
What’s that truth? It’s that the Internet lies. Okay, so the Internet didn’t lie to you itself. It’s more that it pushes pregnancy lies on you. How? Oh, in many different ways. There are the lies of perfection. Come on, you’ve seen them. The picture perfect preggos on FB and IG. Then there are the lies of omission. Those are the blogs, articles, pics and everything else that gloss over the not so pretty parts of pregnancy.
And then there are the “alternative facts.” Yep. These aren’t just part of politics. They’re part of everything on the Internet. Remember, just because it comes all packaged up with a seemingly “expert” pitch behind it doesn’t make it true. Anyone can create a blog or other sort of website and publish their “truths” about pregnancy. They can tell you that it really only lasts seven months, that you only need to gain five pounds or that L&D doesn’t ever hurt. Obviously, none of these are true. Not to mention, they’re pretty far-fetched.
But, some of the lies the Internet may tell you about pregnancy are a little more challenging to tease out. That’s why we’re giving you a little sampling of them!
15 Pregnancy Is Pretty
You’ve seen the pics. They’re all over the Internet. Those absolutely fabulous mamas-to-be. They’re showing off their bellies, smiling with complete glee. They’ve got long, lush hair, glowing skin and are still a size 4 (just with a teeny, tiny bump directly over the belly area).
Yep. They sure are pretty. Not only are they pretty in one picture, but these mommies are perma-pretty. They have an entire Instagram feed of perfectly posed pics that look more like a maternity-wear catalog than someone’s private photos. Oh, and don’t forget about the rest of the family. Those mamas are sweetly cuddling with their seemingly well-behaved toddlers as dad (who looks like he just stepped out of a men’s magazine) serenely hovers over them.
So this is what pregnancy looks like for everyone right? Um, no. Sure, pregnancy can be pretty. Plenty regular mamas look amazing. But, pregnancy can also include sleep-deprived raccoon-eyes, double chins and that, “I’m going to barf right now” face. If you’re not perfect, don’t stress. Most of us aren’t.
14 It Only Last For Nine Months
Pregnancy is a nine month marathon. Right? Well, that’s probably what you’ve read online. All of those websites tell you that pregnancy lasts for nine months. Hmm. Not really.
Making it to full-term means that you’re 40 weeks along. Okay, so that doesn’t mean that 40 weeks go by from the moment that your egg is fertilized. The time clock starts from the first name of your last period. Then it extends for the next 40 weeks, supposing you don’t go into labor early or have some sort of other complication.
Let’s do some basic math here. Forty weeks divided by four weeks in a month equals what? That’s right, it equals 10 months. You aren’t pregnant for nine months. You’re pregnant for 10.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you’re pregnant all the way through month 10. That would mean pregnancy lasts 11 months. Most women won’t give birth until they get to the end of the ninth month, making it 10 months of pregnancy.
13 Everyone Gets Big, Really Big
That mama with the big ol’ belly pictured online is always what happens during pregnancy. You get big, then bigger and then really, really big. Well, not always. If the Internet told you that every woman gains a whole bunch of weight, you’ve been lied to.
So yes, you will gain weight during pregnancy. It absolutely has to happen. But, not all women gain the same amount of weight. There are a number of factors that go into weight gain, and much of it has to do with your starting size.
Ladies, we’re not all the same size. Duh. You knew that. Look around at your friends, family or the general public. What do you see? There are tall women, short women, women who are pear-shaped, women who look like apples, some who look kind of like long, lean carrots, some who look very Marilyn Monroe-esque and some who look like Kate Moss body doubles. We’re all different. And we will also all look different when pregnant.
If you start out pregnancy at a “normal” weight a healthy gain is between 25 and 35 pounds, according to the CDC. If you’re underweight you should gain between 28 and 40 pounds. Overweight women should gain between 15 and 25 pounds. And obese women (having a BMI greater than 30.0) should gain between 11 and 20 pounds.
12 The Baby Belly Is It
Putting on that baby weight doesn’t mean that it’s all in the belly. Let’s say you start out at what’s considered a normal weight. That means you have a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9. Your doc probably expects you to gain between 25 and 35 pounds. Looking at some of those pregnancy pics online you might e-think that it’s 25 to 35 pounds all in the belly.
Those, “Hey, look at me! I’ve got a basketball under my shirt” pics and posts are totally misleading. Pregnancy weight gain doesn’t just happen where the baby is. It kind of happens all over. And again, it can be totally different for different women.
Yeah, some of the lucky ones do just happen to gain weight in the baby bump area – and they stay slim everyone else. We kind of hate them. Okay, it’s more like we’re crazy jealous of them. Then there are the rest of us. We gain weight on our hips and our thighs. Oh, and that’s not to mention the Kim Kardashian-like butt we grow during those three trimesters.
11 Every Mom-To-Be Is Happy
Pregnancy is blissful. It’s the best time of your life. You’ve got hormones coursing through your body and they’re making you feel euphoric. Or not.
If the Internet ever made you think that pregnancy is the absolute best time in your life, you’re buying into a lie. Yes, some expectant mommies are super-happy. They’ve waited for the whole lives to get pregnant, and now it’s finally here. They’re thankful, they’re grateful and they’re overjoyed each and every day of those three trimesters. They smile through the morning sickness, laugh through the swollen ankles and giggle at the sleepless nights.
But, that’s not always the norm. Some mamas actually second-guess their pregnancy. After buying into the e-lie of the perfect happy pregnancy they feel let down. Instead of happy they feel blue. Instead of joyous they feel kind of gross. Hey, that’s okay. Not everyone experiences pregnancy the same. Just because you aren’t on a pregnancy-induced high 24-7 doesn’t mean you should feel a sense of mommy shame. Just take it day by day, and know that you don’t have to fill every pregnancy moment with rainbows, glitter and giggles.
10 Depression Can Only Happen Postpartum
Postpartum depression (PPD) is serious. Roughly 10 percent of new moms develop this often debilitating condition. Unlike the “baby blues”, which typically aren’t severe and don’t last long, PPD can go on for weeks or months. It can make bonding with baby a challenge and affect nearly every aspect of your daily life. Women with PPD often feel sad, anxious, restless, sluggish and irritable. They may also have difficulty sleeping and suffer from loss of appetite.
You’ve read about PPD online and have your symptoms checklist handy for after the baby is born. But, don’t be fooled into thinking depression will wait until after the big birth day. Between 14 and 23 percent of pregnant women experience depression, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Some of these women may have depressive symptoms or a diagnosed mental health issue prior to pregnancy and others may have developed depression while expecting.
Understanding that depression isn’t something that can only happen in the postpartum period is one step towards a healthy pregnancy. If you’re experiencing any of the PPD symptoms during your pregnancy, seek help right away. Talk to your doctor, get a referral to a mental health professional and make sure that the problem is addressed pronto. The pros can help. Really.
9 The Baby Can Hear, See, Feel
Okay, this one is tricky. So yes, the baby can hear you. The thing is, not right away. Some websites might have you believe that the moment the sperm and your egg meet up you’ve got a teeny tiny microscopic baby with fully formed digits, hair and the ability to hear, see and feel.
In reality, your baby won’t be able to hear much until the second trimester – at least. Yes, those little ears are starting to develop. But, that doesn’t mean the fetus can pick up on what you’re saying. When it comes to seeing, vision is pretty much one of the last of your baby’s senses to develop. When she’s born, your baby won’t be able to see much farther than to your face. While in utero she won’t really have the ability to open her eyes and get a good ol’ view of your womb.
8 Birth Plans Are 100% Necessary
The grand birth plan. Oh, you’ve seen the pros of these plans almost everywhere online. Not only have you seen article after article after article telling you that birth plans are absolute must-do’s, but you’ve also seen templates, outlines and copy and paste versions.
Okay, yes birth plans can be completely helpful. We get that. For some women having a birth plan is comforting and a total stress reducer.
If it seems like the Internet is telling you that you’re already a bad mommy if you don’t have a birth plan, you really just shouldn’t listen. There’s no law saying that you can’t go into labor without having one. The important thing is that you’re educated when it comes to childbirth. You need to know what your options are (such as meds or going natural) and what happens. After that, it’s all up to you. Write out a 40 page plan or don’t. That’s your call.
7 VBACs Don’t Happen
A VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean, is something that many mamas-to-be consider. There are some ugly rumors floating around the euniverse saying that a VBAC just isn’t a possibility. Some say it’s too risky. Others say that it just isn’t healthy. And others say that they just wouldn’t even want to try.
Why is there such a controversy about VBAC? For some women it can pose a danger. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean it’s universally dangerous. The primary concern is uterine rupture. Some studies do show an increased risk for uterine rupture. But, others say that the risk is still just as high when having a repeat C-section.
Hey, it’s not for everyone. Some mamas have real medical reasons that make it impossible to deliver vaginally after having a C-section. But, others don’t. How can you tell which category you fall into? The first step is talking to your medical provider. This isn’t a decision that you can make just by reading an article online.
6 The Pregnant Glow
That pregnant glow! It’s everywhere online. Those angelic mamas-to-be with their dewy skin and rosy cheeks. It’s all about the glow right?
Well, it isn’t for some women. Those social media pics that show glowy women with their pregnant bellies are kind of a lie. Sure, some women glow. Maybe that includes you too. But, it’s certainly not always the case.
Some women have discolored or darkened skin during pregnancy. Chloasma, or the mask of pregnancy, happens when excess melanin is produced by your rising hormones. Will it stay forever? Nope. Will it make you glow? Nope.
Discoloration isn’t the only skin issue that some pregnant women have. Some women also get adult acne. Again, this is courtesy of your fluctuating hormones.
5 Morning Sickness Is In The Morning
The name of this one is the lie. You’ve read all about morning sickness online and think you know what to expect. You wake up, your belly is empty and suddenly you feel majorly nauseous. You run to the bathroom, vomit up anything you had left in there and then you’re fine by the afternoon. After all, it is called morning sickness.
No way! For most women this is more of an all-day affair. Morning sickness can happen at any point in your day. It can happen in the morning, the afternoon, the evening or all of the above.
It also doesn’t always disappear at the end of the first trimester. The Internet may make you believe that it’s all over the moment you hot the 12-week mark. Yes, for some mamas this is totally true. For others, it isn’t. The truth about morning sickness is that it can happen at any time of the day during pretty much any time of your pregnancy. Even though it’s most common in the first trimester, don’t rule it out as you move into the second.
4 Dilation Equals Delivery
You read that dilation means it’s time to go to the hospital. The moment the doc starts measuring those centimeters you can pack up and start the delivery process.
So, that’s not exactly true. Some women don’t really dilate until they know they’re in labor. But others may start the process and still get to stay at home. Why? In the early stage of labor you’re barely dilated (up to 3 cm). Plenty of soon-to-be-mamas are walking around, enjoying their daily lives without even knowing that they’re 1 or 2 cm dilated.
After 5 to 6 cm you’re in active labor. This is the point when the medical pro probably thinks you’re ready to get the delivery train going. Chances are that you’re having contractions and your water probably has broken.
Keep in mind, if you’re reading your BFF’s cousin’s friend’s co-worker’s birth story on FB, and she’s saying that her hubby rushed her to the hospital and she was 1 cm dilated (oh, and she had the baby 15 minutes later), it’s probably not the whole truth.
3 Ultrasounds Are Always Right
It’s a girl! No wait, it’s a boy! The Internet told you that your ultrasound will definitely give you the correct sex of your baby. Okay, so the “Internet” didn’t exactly tell you that. It was more like every person you’ve ever met who has ever had a baby told you that on some form of social media.
You’ve seen something like a zillion ultrasound pics posted on FB and IG. And they all say the same thing, “Yay! We’re having a boy!” of course, they may also say, “Yay! We’re having a girl!” Or, “Yay! We’re having a boy and a girl!”
You’d think with all of those very true ultrasound pics out there that they were 100%. Well, they’re not. For the most part, they’re right on target. But, if the tech can’t get a good angle or you’re getting the ultrasound too early, don’t start buying anything pink or blue yet.
2 Breastfeeding While Pregnant
You can’t breastfeed while you’re pregnant. Isn’t that what the Internet told you? Um, that’s not exactly true. It’s more than not exactly true, it’s a lie.
Hey, it happens. You’ve got a tot who is still nursing. And then you get pregnant – again. You aren’t ready to wean baby number one. You had this whole breastfeeding plan, and don’t want to ruin it. Obviously you don’t want to harm either of your children – the one you already had or the unborn one.
But, someone told you in the Facebook comments section of your question post that you absolutely, positively need to stop nursing now that you’re pregnant. They tell you that by breastfeeding during pregnancy you’re put baby number two (the one who is still in your belly) in jeopardy. There’s no evidence saying this is so. Keep in mind, this goes for a normal pregnancy in which the medical professional doesn’t nix nursing due to possible complications related to your specific situation.
1 Are Herbs Okay?
The Internet has a lot to say about herbal medicine. Before we get into any specifics, it’s ultra-essential to understand that herbal medicine is medicine too. It may not be filled with man-made compounds, but it still affects your body. That means you need to talk to a qualified medical professional before trying any type of herb or supplement during pregnancy. That’s need to, and not should.
There is a lot of echatter about herbal medicine. Some sites say it’s completely safe. After all, it’s natural. Yes, it is natural. But that doesn’t make it completely safe for you or your unborn baby. Along with the effects of the herb or supplement, it’s important to note that the FDA doesn’t evaluate these “natural remedies” in the same way that prescription meds are. This may mean you’re not getting the high quality supplement that you think you are.
Here’s another issue – some Internet sources will say that a specific herb is entirely safe and others will say the complete opposite. Confusing, right? Of course. Again, that’s where the medical pros come in. Never, ever take any type of herb, supplement, vitamin or natural remedy before speaking to your medical provider. Ever.