When it comes to pregnancy, it sometimes seems like it’s easier to become misinformed than it is to actually know a lot about it. While there are definitely things to avoid while pregnant, that list isn’t quite as extensive as most believe, and some misconceptions can cause very real danger for the mother and child. Here are some myths about pregnancy that have been debunked:
Rumor #1 - Flu shots and other vaccines can potentially be harmful to your child
Many expectant mothers believe that getting a flu shot or vaccination puts them and their unborn child at risk of disease. Others believe the preservatives of these vaccines can also be harmful to the child. Both of these sentiments are misconceptions however, as there is no scientific evidence as of yet that correlates vaccinations to being harmful for unborn children. What’s more is that pregnancy shifts the immune system and other normal bodily defense systems in a way that makes mothers susceptible to significantly worse cases of the flu and more.
Rumor #2 - You can’t fly during the first or third trimesters
While it’s not advised to travel when you’re expecting to go into labor or for about two weeks after your baby is born, traveling any other time while pregnant is okay so long as proper precautions are taken. Airlines only have restrictions in place over concerns of the former.
Rumor #3 - “Just one drink” is okay
It’s ultimately the mother’s personal decision what she does or does not decide to do, but it’s been proven time and time again that having any alcohol at all while pregnant can cause any range of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Whether it’s one or more, to keep that chance at 0%, avoid drinking alcohol entirely.
Rumor #4 - You need to eat enough for two
Yes, you are actually feeding yourself and another human at once when you’re pregnant, but studies show you only need to consume about 300 extra calories daily to sustain healthy growth for the baby. Normal women of healthy weight should expect to gain 25-30 pounds during pregnancy.
Rumor #5 - You can’t pet your cat while pregnant
Changing your cat’s litter might put you at risk of toxoplasmosis, but besides that, animals on their own can’t cause harm to your developing child.
Rumor #6 - Avoid caffeinated drinks or stick to decaf
It is true that an excessive intake of caffeine will affect your baby, as both you and them will feel a buzz. However, most doctors agree that up to 200mg of caffeine a day is an okay amount to intake while pregnant -- a few variables depending, that usually equates to about a cup of coffee.
Rumor #7 - Avoid hair dyes and other hair products
While chemicals from hair products do seep into the body through the skin, it’s a negligible amount that isn’t harmful to your baby. It is, however, easier for the scents from the chemicals to make mothers-to-be nauseous, so it’s advised to be careful around them or use them in a room with good ventilation.
Rumor #8 - You can’t eat sushi
Lots of people have concerns about eating raw fish while pregnant, but that’s actually okay in most circumstances. Mothers should only really try to avoid mackerel, shark, swordfish, tilefish, and too much tuna.
Rumor #9 - You should try to avoid cheese
Some cheeses are unpasteurized and have a higher chance of carrying food-borne illness. But most popular cheeses like cheddar and swiss are pasteurized and safe to eat during pregnancy.
Rumor #10 - You shouldn’t have sex while pregnant
Your growing baby is protected by an amniotic sac and very strong uterine muscles. You still have to watch out for sexually transmitted infections however, as the disease will be transferred to your child as well.
Rumor #11 - Avoid hanging around polished furniture
This is another myth centered around the fear of fumes being harmful for the mother or child. Luckily, these fumes can’t cause any chemical harm besides possible discomfort for the mother.
Rumor #12 - You can’t take prescription or over-the-counter medications while pregnant
Many women believe that they have to suffer and trudge through colds or migraines and the like, but many prescription and over-the-counter medications are completely safe to be taken by pregnant women. You should consult your doctor if you’re unsure, but the most common and popular over-the-counter medications have all been okayed for use.
Rumor #13 - You shouldn’t take hot baths while pregnant
It’s true that pregnant women should avoid doing anything that will raise their body temperature over 102 degrees, but that’s reserved for things like really hot baths, jacuzzis, and saunas.
Rumor #14 - Pregnant women should sleep on their side
Mothers to be should stay focused on getting as much rest as possible, period. Any rumors that pregnant women should avoid sleeping on their backs are false, as that is completely harmless to the baby’s development.
Rumor #15 - Stop your workout regimen
On the contrary, low-intensity and low-impact workouts are actually healthy ways to keep the body fit and prepared for the birth of your child while controlling the inevitable weight gain.
Please discuss any of the above rumors with your OB/GYN before you do anything to make sure you have the doctor’s approval.