MYTH: YOU CAN’T EAT CHEESE
FACT: The concern with eating cheese is the presence of bacteria called listeria found in soft, mould-ripened cheeses (such as brie and camembert). Listeria can cause an illness called listeriosis, which can lead to miscarriage or loss of a baby at birth. You don’t have to get rid of all cheese – just stick to hard cheeses like cheddar, feta and Gouda. Soft, processed cheeses like cottage and cream cheese are also fine.
MYTH: YOU CAN’T CONTINUE TO EXERCISE
FACT: Exercise is good for your health and for your growing baby so keep at it. Activities like walking, swimming, Pilates (a form of exercise focused on core strength and flexibility) and low-impact aerobics are good options. However, if you’re generally not active, pregnancy isn’t the time to start. And even if you’re a seasoned gym-goer, you should avoid exercises where you could slip and fall.
MYTH: YOU’RE EATING FOR TWO
FACT: Yes, you’re eating for two, but that doesn’t mean two adult-sized portions are necessary. The average woman with a normal weight before pregnancy needs only about 300 extra calories per day to promote her baby’s growth. That’s about the number of calories found in a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich.
MYTH: YOU CAN’T HAVE CAFFEINE
FACT: There doesn’t seem to be any relationship between having caffeine and preterm birth (a baby born before 37 weeks). If a pregnant woman drinks less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day, there’s no clear evidence she faces any increased risk of miscarriage or low birth weight. So enjoy your coffee, but stay within the recommended limit per day.
MYTH: EATING ORANGES GIVES YOUR BABY JAUNDICE
FACT: Jaundice (a yellowish staining of the skin and whites of the eyes) is actually caused by too much bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that’s produced when original red blood cells are destroyed. This often happens after birth, and not when you’re pregnant. Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C and are not bad for you to eat when pregnant. They certainly won’t give your baby jaundice either.
MYTH: YOU CAN’T EAT FISH
FACT: Eating two servings of fish per week can be healthy for mom and baby. Coldwater fish (like tuna, salmon and sardines) contains lots of omega-3 fatty acids which help with your baby’s brain development. But you should try to avoid raw fish (like sushi) as they contain parasites and bacteria.
MYTH: DON’T HOLD YOUR HANDS ABOVE YOUR HEAD OR THE BABY WILL GET WRAPPED IN THE CORD
FACT: Baby’s cords being wrapped around their neck happens in about one third of all births. It has to do with the twists and turns that your baby makes while in the womb. About 25% of all babies are born with the cord wrapped around the neck, and many are born with cords around their legs. Some cords are tied into knots. There is nothing that you can do or not do to cause this.
MYTH: BATHS ARE BAD FOR BABY
FACT: Baths are very good for you and is often the most comfortable place to be towards the end of your pregnancy. It’s the temperature of the bath that you need to worry about. Very hot baths are not a good idea as they can cause your body temperature to rise, and this can cause problems for a developing baby, particularly in the first trimester.
MYTH: HEARTBURN DURING PREGNANCY IS A SIGN THAT THE INFANT WILL BE BORN WITH A FULL HEAD OF HAIR
FACT: Heartburn is common in pregnancy and is caused by the hormone that is produced by the placenta. This hormone is meant to cause the muscles of the womb to relax yet it sometimes affects the valve separating the esophagus (tube that carries food, liquids and saliva from the mouth to the stomach) from the stomach and this causes the stomach acids to go back into the esophagus which results in heartburn. This has no effect on your baby’s hair growth.
MYTH: YOU CAN’T COLOUR OR CHEMICALLY TREAT YOUR HAIR
FACT: It’s important that you look and feel good about yourself, but if you’re in doubt, consider whether chemically-treating your hair will make you feel your best, or simply make you worry. If you do decide to continue, it’s best to avoid home hair processing and rather go to a professional. Some moms prefer to avoid the chemicals altogether, while others avoid them during the first trimester and then keep it to a minimum.
MYTH: SLEEPING ON YOUR BACK CAN HURT THE BABY
FACT: For years, pregnant women have been told to place a pillow under one side of the back, because if you sleep on your back the pressure from the baby can cut off your blood flow and possibly kill you. This is not true: A pregnant woman can sleep in any position which makes her feel comfortable. However, in the case of a high-risk pregnancy (if your baby has an increased chance of health problems) sleeping on the left side is sometimes recommended.
MYTH: IF YOU EXPERIENCE ACNE WHEN YOU ARE PREGNANT, THAT IS A SIGN YOU ARE HAVING A GIRL
FACT: No research has proved this. Pregnancy acne has nothing to do with gender and is only a sign of natural hormonal changes in the mother.
MYTH: PREGNANT WOMEN WHO CARRY LOW ARE HAVING A BOY
FACT: How a woman carries the baby depends on her body type and whether she has been pregnant before. It does not show gender. Taller, thinner women appear to carry higher, while shorter and fuller women appear to carry lower. Also, in a second pregnancy, since abdominal muscles may be looser, the pregnancy may appear to be lower.
By Amanda Ndlangisa
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