There was once a time when people truly believed that if a woman looked at anything remotely unattractive when she was pregnant, that it would somehow impact her baby. They also believed that the better a woman’s personal life was the healthier her baby would be. It may seem impossible to think that anyone actually believed these things, but it’s true. Information is always changing, and we are learning things every day.
Pregnancy is a time in a woman’s life when she wants accurate information. She doesn’t want to hear any superstitions or guesses when it comes to her baby’s health and wellbeing, she just wants the facts. In a world where information is at the tip of our fingertips, it is easy to get lost in the world of the internet as moms search for information. Who knows what they can believe and what is just a myth or superstition.
Rest assured, the first two sentences of this article are complete myths, and there is no scientific evidence or data to back up either of their claims. An even crazier "fact" people used to believe is that doctors did not need to wash their hands. That they were somehow naturally clean all the time. They learned quickly (and the hard way) that this was not true.
Due to the internet being a large and overwhelming source for pregnancy information, we did the hard work for every pregnant woman out there. We took the top 15 pregnancy ‘facts’ from the past and prove just how wrong they are. All of this information comes directly from the Kaldas Center; a medical center focused on women care and specializes in pregnancy.
15 Pregnancy Is NOT 9 Months!
Here is one of the biggest myths of all time. We all think that a pregnancy is 9-months long. That is how long TV tells us, and our little pregnancy apps on our phone. It is drilled into our heads that pregnancy is 9-months long. If that doesn’t seem like long enough, we hate to break it to everyone, but pregnancy is actually 10 months long.
How is this so? It all comes down to the numbers. The average pregnancy lasts about 280 days which is 40 weeks. If you take these numbers and break them down that means that women are pregnant for 10 whole months. Pregnancy dating goes off your last menstrual cycle. So, it starts at the first day you have your period. This means that we give you credit for two weeks when you weren’t even pregnant yet.
14 Heartburn = Hair
This is one that a lot of people thought was just a myth or an old wives’ tale, but it is actually one that a lot of people put a lot of trust in. That is the thought that a lot of pregnancy heartburn will mean that your baby will have a head full of hair. The reason a lot of people think this way is because they did have heartburn and babies who were born with hair. This is nothing but a pure coincidence.
Heartburn shows its ugly head in most pregnancies, even those that end in a perfectly bald baby. The hormones that are designed to allow your body to relax to accommodate a growing baby also relax the muscles that are aimed at keeping the stomach acid in your stomach. So, when your baby pushes up on your stomach, the acid travels up causing heartburn. It all comes down to biology and is not an indicator of whether your baby will have hair or not.
13 Sorry To Say You Do Not Eat For Two!
Pregnancy seems to give women a free pass to eat all the food they want and as much of it as they want. They do say that you are ‘eating for two’. While that may technically be true, it is more inaccurate than fact. The average intake of calories for a woman is about 2, 000 a day. If you doubled that it would obviously be 4,000 a day. All this will result in is way too many calories and pounds that may be impossible to lose once the baby is born.
According to the Kaldas Center, an average sized woman with just one baby in her uterus only needs to consume about 300 extra calories a day to accommodate a pregnancy. This is about the same as eating an extra apple. Your baby will take from you what it needs. There are cases where this may be different, such as moms of twins, underweight moms or moms who have some other health concerns.
12 Your Cat Has To Go! (Don’t Worry, It Doesn’t!)
Do you have a little feline friend in your life? A lot of people do. You may be confused if someone has recently told you that you had to get rid of your cat now that you are pregnant. That is because that was a common myth years ago. That when a woman fell pregnant, the cat had to go. This is not true. The only cat related duty that needs to go is changing a litter box.
Changing the litter box should become someone else’s job for the time being because it has the ability to transfer toxoplasma gondii on to an expectant mother, which could be dangerous. Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that can be found and transmitted from cat feces and can be extremely harmful to a developing baby. If you have always been around cats, chances are that you have already encountered this and have built an immunity, but why take the chance?
11 Take It Slow!
When a woman is pregnant she is told very often to take it easy. To not put her body through so much, because she is already growing and nourishing a growing baby. There is also worry about hurting yourself or the baby. While there are things a woman should avoid doing when pregnant, such as lifting heavy objects, there are very little reasons why she can not continue to live an active lifestyle.
Pregnant women used to be told to refrain from running throughout their entire pregnancy, and this is not true. If a woman was a runner before, there are very little reasons why she can not continue this. If she has a high-risk pregnancy or other medical concerns, this would be the only time she would have to take it easy. At the end of the day, if you ran before you fell pregnant and you are comfortable when running, then go ahead and get those shoes on.
10 You Must Always Go For Surgery
There are many environments were a woman can give birth, but the actual birthing process happens one of two ways; vaginal or C-section. C-sections have been life-saving, and we are all glad that they are an option. Without them, the number of women and babies who wouldn't make it through childbirth would be a lot higher. It has always been thought that once a woman has one C-section that she will always need subsequent C-sections for any future pregnancies. This is not true.
It is true that a vaginal birth after a C-section is a little more dangerous, it does not mean that it can not be done. A VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section) is certainly an option for a lot of women. If their previous C-section was due to a breech baby, or if they had a vaginal birth before a C-section then their chances of having a safe VBAC are very high.
9 It Is A Doc Only Zone
If you look back in history, a doctor was everything. They were the person you went to for any aches, pains or illnesses. They were also the one you went to see when it came down to your pregnancy and delivery. It was something that was just never questioned, you just went to your doctor. This is a mindset of the past. First of all, only the mother delivers her baby. There are professionals that help and make sure things go smoothly but let’s get that one thing straight.
Second, there are a whole team of qualified professionals who can help a woman through her pregnancy and childbirth. Midwives, Nurse-Midwives, Family Practice Doctors and OB/GYNs are all qualified and capable of caring for a woman throughout this moment in her life. Doulas may not be medically trained to assist, but they are also available for great moral and emotional support.
8 “You Will Just Have To Deal With Body Changes”
Once we see those two pink lines on a pregnancy test, there are certain things that we just accept. We know that our lives are about to change, we know that we can not drink anymore and we know that our bodies are going to change. It is drilled into our minds to accept it as proof that a living miracle is growing inside of us. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Just because you are pregnant does not mean that you will automatically have to deal with stretch marks, varicose veins or even excess size growth! Every woman is different, and every pregnancy is different and every body is different. There is no way of telling how each woman’s body will react to a pregnancy. Some of these things, like stretch marks, can be genetic. There are also some women who seem to get through pregnancy without any ‘scars.’
7 It Is All In The Heart Rate
Here is another popular ‘myth’ that we are going to prove completely false. When a woman gets pregnant one of the first questions on her mind is if she has a little girl or boy growing in her belly. The baby’s sex is determined right at the time of conception, with its genetic make-up already determined. There are a lot of old wives’ tales out there that a lot of women try just to have one, but there is one that a lot of people mistake as fact and put a lot of trust in.
That is the baby’s heartbeat. Rumour has it a girl’s heartrate will always be above 140, and boys will be lower. There is no way that this could be trusted, because the heartrate of a growing fetus varies from day to day, and that is normal. It is wrong to put your confidence in this because of the rate the heartrate changes. Sadly, no matter what the heartrate is your chances are still 50/50.
6 What Is All This Extra?
Here is an interesting one that even my own mother-in-law believed. She was sure in for a rude awakening after she gave birth. There are many out there who believe that the baby, the placenta and the fluid are all that is involved in all the weight they gain when pregnant. When they believe that, they also believe that as soon as they give birth they are able to fit into their pre-pregnancy clothes. My mother-in-law had to send her husband home to bring some maternity clothes because she realized that she still had a belly.
The truth is that there are many things that make up all that baby weight. The baby, placenta and amniotic fluid do take up a lot of that, but they are not the only ones. A woman’s uterus grows during her pregnancy and it takes time for it to return to normal. There is also an increase in blood volume running through a woman’s body. All of these things take time to return to normal, so definitely bring some bigger clothes with you to the hospital because you will still need them.
5 Stay Out Of The Bedroom!
Being intimate when pregnant worries a lot of moms and dads. It worries them so much that they refrain from partaking in any activities until after the baby is born. This is no way to live, so we are happy to tell you that this is not true. Some are worried that the baby knows what is going on, or that their head will somehow get injured during the process. Nope and nope!
The woman’s body is able to incorporate a man’s, pregnant or not and there is no way anything is getting near the baby. The baby is in an amniotic sac that is very strong, it has a cervix between it and that cervix is filled with a mucus plug that prevents anything from getting through that could harm your baby. The baby is completely safe, and unaware of anything that is going on. The only case where a couple would need to refrain from intercourse is if there was a medical reason.
4 Midwife = Home Birth (Wrong!)
A lot of people like the idea of having a midwife at their birth. They like how it feels more personal, but they refrain from going with a midwife due to the thought that they won’t be able to deliver at a hospital. They want the feel of a more connected birth, but they would still rather be in a hospital in case anything was to happen. They still believe that if you want a midwife you must either give birth at home or in a birthing center.
This one is only half-true. If you want a combination of a midwife and hospital birth you need to find a close hospital that allows midwives to come in and help deliver babies. This will vary by state and country. For example, in Wisconsin, only Certified Nurse Midwives (CNM) are allowed deliver babies in hospitals; provided the woman is low risk. It is important to do your research and see what is available and what your limitations are in your area.
3 Keep It In The Sea!
When it comes to being pregnant, there sure seems to be a lot of rules that someone has to follow. The things you can not do sure does seem a lot longer than the things you are able to do. One of the things that people used to warn pregnant women about years ago was to not eat any seafood at any time. This is only a quarter true. There are some seafood items that a woman would need to stay away from; such as fish with high levels of mercury. There are others that are not only safe but that women are encouraged to eat when pregnant.
Seafood is an excellent source of Omega-3s. These are known as “good fats” and help with the brain development and eye development of the growing fetus. This is often missing from a woman’s diet who does not regularly eat seafood.
2 Just Say No To Buckling Up!
Here is one that we just can not believe people used to think was true. Long ago, they used to tell pregnant women not wear their seatbelt in the car because if there was a collision than the belt would cause serious harm to the growing baby. This does not even sound logical and could not be further from the truth. According to the Kaldas Center, there have been numerous studies done that have shown that the injuries sustained from the seatbelt are minor in nature.
It is much more dangerous to not have a seatbelt and have the chance of being thrown from the vehicle if they were to ever be an accident. This just screams common sense. The seatbelt strap should be placed along your hips, under your protruding belly, but there is no reason for a pregnant woman to not wear her seatbelt.
1 Positive Test? Start Prenatals Now!
When you first see those two lines on a pregnancy test, one of the first things you should do is go to the store and start taking those prenatal vitamins! Wrong! Prenatal vitamins are essential and can help prevent a lot of birth defects and neural tube defects, however they should ideally be taken before a woman even falls pregnant. There are cases where a woman isn’t trying, and she has no choice but to start them when she sees the two lines.
If you are actively trying to conceive a baby or know that there is a high chance you could conceive then you should already be taking these vitamins. They are meant for before conceiving, while pregnant and then while breastfeeding. It is beneficial to make sure your body has a stock of folic acid before that sperm even meets the egg, this means you have an even higher chance of keeping away any neural tube defects. However, it is always better late than never with these vitamins!