15 Pregnancy Myths That Science Doesn't Support

Pregnancy has been called the happiest excuse to feeling like crap. It isn’t ‘that’ time of the month anymore. It’s the time of a woman’s life wherein she’ll be her most euphoric and frustrated self simultaneously. Basically, like a ridiculously long period which promises a bundle of “joy” at the end of it. Sweet.

During this time, with hormones raging higher than a teen girl trying her first bra on, we find ourselves getting irrational and clutching on to anything that might mean something to the pregnancy. Ladies in the neighborhood who’ve been midwives become our best friends and their unsurpassed wisdom in regards to childbirth and parenting occupies much of our mind space, the rest is obviously occupied by, “Heck, this hurts.”

Being complimented on being a to-be mother is a welcome part of our days. However, with the compliments come an array of “scientific facts” that either promise the wellbeing of the fetus or the mother. Older mothers swear by these supposedly correct pieces of information that seem to magically take care of their problems, or makes a woman avoid any future complications.

These supposed ‘facts’, more often than not are misconceptions and myths that have been busted by science over the years. Tempting as it is to hang on to every speculation that makes a woman feel closer to the little one inside her, rationality needs to be the order of the day in such delicate circumstance.

Thus, we have come up with our own list of 15 urban myths that women even now have been misled into believing are true –

15 Head Stand After Being Intimate Helps With Conceiving 

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Ladies, it is 8th grade Biology that tells us a sperm is able to swim to the egg. During insemination, the ejaculation has to meet the cervical wall with a certain velocity. If this velocity is not achieved, the woman does not conceive. It really is as simple as that.

Posture assumed after sex, or even during sex for that matter, will in no way help the wayward sperm find the egg that awaits it. The origin of this myth has a loosely scientific basis; that because of the upside down posture, the sperm wouldn’t have to travel against the force of gravity.

However, the sperm does not solely depend on the kinetics and is equipped to swim and navigate its way to find the egg and result in fertilization of the egg. Spare the gymnastics, and lay back and relax while biology does its thing.

14 Intimacy Induces Labor

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Long story short, it does not. It has been said by many that doing the deed does indeed does induce labor because when the woman is stimulated to an orgasm it triggers intense uterine activity. Hence, it is safe to assume for them that intimacy induces labor.

However, many studies have found quite the opposite. Women who had been intimate during pregnancy went into labor after a longer gestation period than women who abstained. The simple fact of the matter is that after the 40th week, women are more vulnerable to labor than ever before. It can rightly begin any moment.

This is why it is a legitimate mistake to assume that intimacy induced labor when in fact the two are not positively correlated at all. Also, many women experience discomfort in the abdominal and pelvic regions during pregnancy, especially the third trimester when the baby starts to show. The chests is highly sensitive and leakages occur often.

All these factors collectively contribute to a loss of libido, thus rendering intimacy a rather ineffective technique of supposedly inducing labor.

13 Expectant Woman Can’t Fly During The First And Last Trimester

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There are certain measures that pregnant women can take to ensure a safe and comfortable flying experience, but in no medical book does it say that pregnant women cannot fly. One’s altitude does not have anything to do with one’s pregnancy. If it did, women in highlands would not be successfully having babies at all.

A lot of flights, however, bar pregnant women in their last month to board the plane because they fear that she can go into labor while on air. To ensure a comfortable flight, pregnant women should buckle their seat belt below the abdomen. Regularly walking across the aisles is also recommended in order to facilitate blood flow and prevent clotting.

Joints such as ankles, wrists and fingers should also be flexed to ensure ample blood flow. With these little steps, flight are no big deal for a woman who s expecting. Safe to wish ya’ll a happy flight!

12 Like Mother, Like Daughter

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Pregnancies are never accurately defined, women either read articles about how wondrous they are or about how horrible their bodies get during that time. It therefore is natural to expect some guidance from the past by taking example of one’s mother’s pregnancy, but it doesn’t work that way.

The degree of difficulty that one’s pregnancy will mark is not hereditary in nature. It might so be that a woman has a smooth pregnancy without too many trips to the doctor’s, minimal morning sickness and a relatively smooth delivery. However, her daughter’s pregnancy becomes the stuff of nightmares.

Even among sisters, factors influencing pregnancy and birth are not shared parameters. However, there are certain medical conditions such as gestational diabetes and giving birth to big babies can be carried down by genes. Other conditions such as miscarriages, premature labor, overdue babies and intensity of stretch marks are totally unrelated – they are in no way hereditary.

11 Drinking Plenty Of Water Keeps The Baby Clean

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Inside the womb, the baby is cushioned and surrounded by various fluids that protect it from physical harm. It also facilitates skeletal and muscular growth and eases movement inside the womb. The volume of these fluids increases as the pregnancy progresses. These are called amniotic fluids and are packed inside the amniotic sack with the fetus.

The baby’s umbilical cord is connected to the mother’s to accommodate the passage of nutrients from the mother to the child. This is how everything that the unborn child requires is given to them.

While drinking a lot of water is great for the general well being of a human being, and might even be extra beneficial to women who are expecting, it plays no role in the cleanliness of the baby. There are more pressing concerns to be taken care of within the womb and cleaning the baby with water is not in the to-do list of the body during pregnancy.

10 Eating For Two During Pregnancy

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To be fair, this thinking might have originated from a more sophisticated reasoning than what it has now been interpreted as. ‘Eating for two’ initially referred to the calories consumed by a female during pregnancy that was to supplement both herself and the fetus.

It nowhere was mentioned that the amount of food consumed needed to be increased in order to give birth to a healthy baby. The body naturally becomes more efficient during pregnancy and is able to absorb more nutrients than usual from an average meal.

This, paired with eating quality food rather than paying attention to quantity, is considered enough to effectively nourish the child and fulfilling its requirement for nutrients. In fact, eating more than is really required may result in weight gain, which consequently creates difficulties during childbirth and added discomfort during pregnancy.

Women should not increase the size of their portions, It's better to eat quality food than more food.

9 Avoid X-Rays, Computers, Microwaves And Cell Phones

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It has time and time again been reiterated by doctors worldwide that if an expectant woman is in need of an X ray, she should not hesitate in getting one. The amounts of radiation emitted by X rays are not nearly intense enough to even begin to affect the fetus’s rapidly growing cells.

As for the other appliances- there is no scientific argument that advises against the usage of the aforementioned during pregnancy. It is true that computers, microwaves and cell phones emit a certain degree of ionic radiations.

However, these radiations have been proven to be incapable of making molecular changes of any sort. Thus, no mom-to-be should even slightly feel guilty about using the aforementioned appliances. Technological advancements were made to assist humans and make chores easier. Wouldn't it be a shame if women were prohibited from using these said miracles of science when they apparently require them the most.

8 No Fish During Pregnancy

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Yes it’s true that certain types of fish contain high levels of mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls that harm brain cells. Mostly, these are sea fish that obtain these salts due to constant exposure to the same in salt water.

However, river fish are totally safe to consume and are in fact beneficial in nature. The nutrients that fishes contain are extremely good for growth and development in fetuses and in babies, as well as in adults. It also is a benefactor in terms of general health and well being.

By cutting off portions of fish in their meals, to-be mothers might just be depriving their babies of certain nutrients that they need and that will only help them grow better. Apart from this, the omega-3s that fish provides help mothers with postpartum depression.

They sooth the feeling of uneasiness and anxiety, which is why they reduce the chances of postpartum depression. So might as well go ahead and treat oneself on some fish fillet.

7 The Baby's Gender Is Determined By Its Fetal Position 

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Ladies, the gender of the baby has nothing to do with its position in the womb. Unlike a lot of other myths, this one has no rational basis whatsoever. A fetus may assume either the anterior (facing the pelvic bone) or the posterior (facing the abdomen) position in the womb despite its gender. The egg that the female produces always carries an X chromosome.

However, the sperm may carry either of an X or a Y chromosome. The sperm’s share of contribution is what decides the sex of one’s child. Furthermore, all fetuses are of similar structure till around the 20th week of pregnancy. This is when a structure called the genital bud is formed in the body of the fetus.

Till this time, all fetuses are female. This is the reason why males have chest parts in common with women, despite them being redundant in nature.

6 Cravings Indicate The Gender Of The Baby

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It is often assumed that a craving for sweets such as candies and dairy products like puddings and chocolates indicate a female child. While cravings for salty, spicy and sour food mean that it is a boy.

However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that supports this school of thought. A woman might hog chocolates throughout gestation and still give birth to a baby boy and vice versa. Cravings are primarily caused by the raging hormonal thunderstorms that the body experiences during pregnancy.

They sometimes also indicate the deficiency of certain nutrients, thus causing to crave for a particular type of food. These deficiencies may happen despite the gender of the child, thus rendering the two unrelated in all aspects. To determine the gender of the baby, the most efficient way is to get an ultrasound done after the 20th week, when the baby’s gender becomes more apparent.

5 Bumpy Car Rides Trigger Labor

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Nobody like bumpy car rides. But during the gestation period, when the body is its most uncomfortable self, it feels even worse. Women might even get tricked into believing that they have may have started their labor due to the rhythmic contractions that bumpy rides in the car may cause.

Apart from that, control of the sphincter is also lost which may result in various embarrassing and uncomfortable encounters. After the 39th week, labor can begin at any point of time. This causes many women to believe that some of their physical activity might cause labor to begin.

Many women still avoid car rides and other physical excursions because of all the wrong reasons. There is no scientific proof that car rides or any type of movement in a vehicle cause labor. Neither is there any concrete evidence for the same. However, for those who are in their 40th week and await delivery desperately, a bumpy car ride might just be what they’re looking for (joking!)

4 Labor Starts When The Water Breaks

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Labor and water breaking are two independent phenomena. In 80% of the cases, labor begins after a woman’s water has broken, and vice versa in the remaining 20% of the cases. Labor necessarily consists of contractions similar to those experienced during periods, except that the intensity of the pain increases tenfold.

These contractions, along with some external aid, push the baby out of the uterus. While inside the baby is surrounded by a pouch of liquid called the amniotic fluid which cushions and protects the baby. Any tear or rupture results in a flow of clear, odorless liquid from the cervix and the vagina; this is called water breaking.

While after the water breaks labor is imminent in the near future, it may or may not begin immediately. It only is a matter of concern if labor does not begin after more than 24 hours of water breaking.

3 A Big Baby Needs To Be Delivered By Cesarean

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Having a big baby is a medical condition wherein the baby weighs more than an average during gestation period. Many a times, this results in complications during birth. Gynecologists and obstetricians may suggest a C-section in such circumstance keeping in mind the woman’s medical history and the child’s overall health.

However, in most cases, it is safe to give birth to a big baby vaginally through natural labor as well. Sadly, doctors have often been found to mislead women into believing that their baby is too big and labor would need to be induced. Some even suggest a cesarean surgery in order to supposedly avoid harm to the baby’s organs.

In the rarest of cases is it necessary to deliver via artificial means. Most of the times, the weight of the baby is unintelligible amongst the various fluids that surround and envelop it. It is advisable to shun misguided notions and research one’s medical conditions well.

2 A Woman's Face Shape Indicates The Gender Of The Baby

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This myth has grossly sexist roots. The belief that a round and glowing face indicates a girl child and a more sculpted and rugged one means it is a boy. Obviously because while the baby boy will drain the mother of her share of nutrients, the girl is a boon that only gives and renders the mother’s skin healthier than ever.

Ladies, the child one gives birth to is equally angelic despite of its sex. Either of the genders will make no discriminations while absorbing the required nutrients from the body. Most women gain weight during pregnancy. Some even begin to look tired and downtrodden because of it.

These changes are all subjective in nature and depend on the overall health of the mother. The predictions of a baby’ sex is most often mere guesswork and lack any support of scientific argument. Getting an ultrasound is the best option out there.

1 Women Only Go Into Labor Either On Or Before Their Due Date

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There is a universal pregnancy time period that every woman must go through. Until the baby is fully developed, going into labor is unhealthy for the child. In most cases, labor does begin shortly before the due date However, in some rare cases labor does not start even after the due date has passed.

This raises health risks for both the child and the mother. While the baby’s weight adversely affects the health of the mother, the health of the baby itself inside the womb starts deteriorating. In order to avoid such circumstance, labor is often artificially induced in these cases. Sometimes, a cesarean can also be proposed.

The doctor often lays out the pros and cons of both the procedures and advises in favor of one. Then, it is upon the woman to decide which procedure to opt for. Only in the rarest of the cases does the doctor conclusively and firmly advocate a certain procedure keeping in mind the various medical risks.

Sources: LiveStrong, Spinning Babies, WhatToExpect, LiveStrong, Improving Birth and CBSNews

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