Latest advances in the field of medicine have transformed the experience of having a baby for a pregnant woman. Yet, the age-old pregnancy myths in India are still popular, though quite baseless, and they can bother a pregnant woman considerably. Actually, there is no scientific basis to these common myths of pregnancy, yet they have a deep psychological effect on pregnant women. They worry unnecessarily, which is like adding fuel to the fire – the anxieties aid in fuelling the fire of mood swings. One can laugh at them and push them aside but in pregnancy, even the most intellectual gets affected!
Let us see what these culprits are.
Pregnancy Myth 1:
Exercise during pregnancy can harm the baby.
Exercises that give a jolt to the body like Racket sports and jumping and jogging should be avoided.
A planned Prenatal Exercise Programme is very important to relieve many discomforts of pregnancy and also aids in having a smooth delivery.
Pregnancy Myth 2:
A pregnant woman has a fulfill all her food cravings.
All expectant mothers develop likes and dislikes towards certain foods. Craving for a particular food is known as “Pica”. One should indulge with moderation, as desire for wrong foods may not benefit either the mother or the baby. On the contrary, she may gain a lot of unadvisable weight, which will come in her way of getting back into shape later on.
Pregnancy Myth 3:
During the 2nd pregnancy, a woman does not require any preparation, nor does she need exercise.
Each pregnancy is different and no two labours are alike. Hence, preparation is essential even in the 2nd pregnancy. She especially needs to pay more attention to exercising well so that the muscles do not become slack. Abdominal strengthening will enable her to get the right support for carrying the baby.
Pregnancy Myth 4:
You must eat for two people.
On a daily basis, the baby requires healthy 300 calories. Hence, all the additional calories consumed will add to the mother’s weight.
Pregnancy Myth 5:
A pregnant woman should not consume black or dark coloured foods, otherwise baby’s skin colour will be dark.
Colour of the baby is already determined by the inherited genes and not by the food ingested by the mother. Many nutritive foods are not eaten because of this false notion.
Pregnancy Myth 6:
If the baby is born at night time, he will be awake at night.
Birth time has no relation to the sleeping and waking times of the baby.
Pregnancy Myth 7:
If tummy gets hairy, it’s a boy.
Increase in male hormones during pregnancy lead to hair growth on the belly.
Pregnancy Myth 8:
During pregnancy, the mother always develops a perfect facial glow.
Not always – Hyper pigmentation, greasy hair and fatigue can occur due to hormonal changes.
Pregnancy Myth 9:
All mothers-to-be develop stretch marks.
Chances of developing stretch marks are 50% – 50%. This is generally inherited – if your mother didn’t – you may not have them.
Pregnancy Myth 10:
If the baby is high – it’s a girl.
If the baby is low – it’s a boy.
Usually, in first pregnancy, due to good muscle tone, the bump is high. In subsequent pregnancies, the abdominal muscle is slack, the bump will be low.
Pregnancy Myth 11:
Big Belly – Big Baby.
Small Belly – Small baby.
A woman with good height may not show too much inspite of the baby being big. In a short statured woman, the belly may look bigger but there is no guarantee of the baby being big.
Pregnancy Myth 12:
If the mother experiences heartburns, baby will be born with lots of hair.
Heartburns occur due to the secretion of gastric juices more frequently by the pressure of growing uterus over the esophagus.
Pregnancy Myth 13:
Family will insist on keeping a big secret about the pregnancy in the first trimester to safeguard the mother and child from the “evil eye” and not allow a miscarriage to happen.
The first three months of pregnancy are a little risky for miscarriages, but there is nothing like an “evil eye” to cause a miscarriage !
Pregnancy Myth 14:
If your complexion sparkles and you look more beautiful, it’s a girl – otherwise a boy.
The glow and the sparkle is the result of increased blood circulation.
Pregnancy Myth 15:
Consuming ghee towards the end of pregnancy will facilitate a smooth and quick delivery.
Ghee is not essential. Sometimes castor oil is suggested to induce labour. Ghee, butter, oil tend to irritate the intestine causing lose motions. As nerve supply to the intestine and uterus is same, uterine contractions get initiated.
Pregnancy Myth 16:
Having sex during pregnancy will result in miscarriage.
Only in complicated or high risk pregnancies, abstinence from sex is advised.
Otherwise, a pregnant woman can have sexual relations as long as she is comfortable.
Pregnancy Myth 17:
Having coconut water after the 7th month will make baby’s hair mushy.
False. Coconut water can be consumed as long as the mother wishes to have it.
Pregnancy Myth 18:
Baby will be born fair skinned if mother consumes saffron milk.
Baby’s complexion and colour is already determined by the genes.
Pregnancy Myth 19:
Eating papaya will miscarry the baby.
Papaya is a heaty food. Large quantities eaten in early part of pregnancy may be harmful. After the first trimester, a slice or two can be consumed.
Pregnancy Myth 20:
You should have Ghee and Badam Sheera once your labour begins.
These foods are very heavy and tend to induce vomiting. Also, they take a much longer time to digest; hence emergency caesareans have to wait.
Pregnancy Myth 21:
Cord around the baby’s neck indicates caesarean delivery.
A baby with loose loop of cord around the neck can be delivered normally, provided its parameters are normal during labour.
Pregnancy Myth 22:
Eat ghee to lubricate the birth passage.
Exercise are more helpful in increasing the flexibility of the pelvic area. Hence, enroll for a good prenatal class to make labour short and easy.
Pregnancy Myth 23:
Pain of childbirth is excruciating and totally unbearable.
The right preparation done in a prenatal class – physical, emotional and mental will help you cope up through labour and the breathing techniques will enable you to control these so called unbearable pains.
Pregnancy Myth 24:
Baby gets suffocated if you pull in your stomach.
Blood circulation to the baby is maintained through the umbilical cord. Pulling in of the abdomen does not restrict this blood flow.
Pregnancy Myth 25:
If you are happy and think positive, the baby will grow better.
Absolutely True. Mother’s moods have a great effect on the baby. During stress, the body chemistry alters. Hence, try and be cheerful and optimistic throughout pregnancy.
Pregnancy Myth 26:
Sitting down on the floor will give rise to premature delivery.
Squatting for a long time in the early part of pregnancy is not advisable. Sitting on the floor is absolutely harmless and tailor sitting is especially recommended to increase the flexibility and reduce low back pains.
Thus, mothers, do not get hassled by wrong notions and worry yourself. Instead, use all the energy towards looking after yourself and doing the right things!