Every woman who has ever been pregnant knows that all of a sudden, everyone, from your family to strangers on the street, has advice to give you during your pregnancy. A lot of it is helpful advice and tips for the months ahead. But everyone hears their fair share of pregnancy myths and old wives’ tales…passed down from generation to generation as fact while having little or no basis in truth. Here are some common pregnancy myths and old wives’ tales.
If you lift your arms above your head, the cord will get wrapped around your baby’s neck.
This isn’t true. Your baby is well-protected in your uterus and the simple act of lifting your arms over your head will not hurt your baby. My favorite guess as to the origin of this myth is that it was invented a long time ago by pregnant women who wanted an excuse to not have to do any hard work!
Heartburn during pregnancy means the baby will have a lot of hair.
False. Heartburn has to do with the baby crowding your abdominal area, as well as pregnancy hormones which make your muscles more lax, including the muscles in your esophagus.
It is dangerous to take a bath while pregnant.
A bath during pregnancy is completely safe, with the exception of after your mucous plug falls out or your water breaks. Your baby is protected inside your uterus by a mucous plug which blocks anything from entering through your cervix and getting to the baby. So enjoy baths while pregnant; instead of being harmful, they can actually be beneficial. When you are at the end of your pregnancy especially, a bath can take pressure off your back and body by providing a buoyant atmosphere for your baby. Also, don’t take a bath in water that is too hot, as that may be harmful to your baby.
If you’re carrying high, the baby’s a girl. If you’re carrying low, it’s a boy.
This is also false, as is the saying that if your belly is shaped like a watermelon you’re having a girl, or like a basketball it’s a boy. How you carry your baby has nothing to do with his or her gender. It all has to do with your muscle tone and the position your baby is in your uterus. Another interesting thing about this myth is that in some cultures they say the opposite; that high means boy and low means girl. That alone raises a red flag as to the truthfulness of this old wives’ tale.
If you don’t eat a food that you crave during pregnancy, your baby will have a birth mark in the shape of that food.
Another myth with no basis in fact. If this were true…wouldn’t we all be walking around with ice cream, hamburger, and watermelon shaped birthmarks?
If you deny pregnancy cravings, you are harming your baby.
This one is partly true, in a way. Some researchers speculate that pregnancy cravings could be a way to let you know when you need certain nutrients. A craving for milk, for example, could possibly signify the need for calcium. This isn’t true in all cases, however. I doubt my craving for crunchy Cheetos was healthy for my baby in any way! And some women can have cravings that are actually harmful, such as a craving for laundry soap, soil or matches. Women who crave these things during pregnancy have pica, a disorder that seems to come from an iron deficiency.
Having a pet cat while pregnant is dangerous.
This is false with one exception. You can definitely keep your pet cat, but should let someone else handle cleaning out your cat’s litter box, or at least wear gloves while doing it yourself. The concern in this situation is toxoplasmosis, a disease spread through cat waste, among other things. Toxoplasmosis is very rare in the U.S., however it’s better to be on the safe side when it comes to cleaning out your cat’s litter box. Toxoplasmosis can also be found in soil and raw or undercooked meat, so be careful of them as well.
Essortment: Pregnancy Health: Common Myths about Pregnancy
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