Fact or Fake? – 10 Common Myths on Pregnancy
The moment your belly starts to make an appearance you’ll notice a rise in the amount of attention and smiles you catch as you pass strangers in the grocery store.
You’ll also notice that regard for personal space goes out the window as those same strangers approach you with an arm extended and give you an unsolicited belly rub. This was something I never got used to.
Besides the smiles and blissful ignorance of personal space, another thing that became apparent to me was how much people loved to flaunt their knowledge on pregnancy and parenting.
As part of human nature, people love to connect with other people around them, and pregnancy turns out to be a huge talking point.
During my pregnancy, I was told certain things over and over. “Don’t do this.” “Make sure you always do this.” “Be sure to do this at this time.” Etcetera., etcetera, etcetera. Although appreciated, I wanted to find out how much truth was behind all these tips and opinions.
So, after doing some digging and experiencing pregnancy firsthand, I now have some answers.
Keep reading to find out if these 10 common myths on pregnancy are fact or fake, and get to the bottom of things once and for all.
#1 – You’re Eating For Two
Fake. Sorry mommas, I wish this one were true! Actually, this outdated way of thinking could land you in the realm of gestational diabetes-high blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
In fact, according to recent studies, more than half of women gain more than the recommended weight for their BMI during pregnancy. That’s crazy!
According to the Institute of Medicine Guidelines, the average woman is recommended to gain 25-35 pounds, women who fall into the underweight category should gain 28-40 pounds, and women who fall into the overweight category should gain 15-25 pounds.
As far as calories go, during the first trimester, women are actually told to carry on eating the same amount of calories as they were prior to pregnancy. For the next two trimesters, it is recommended to get 340-450 extra calories a day which is the equivalent of an apple, a banana, and a cup of yogurt.
#2 – Working Out Can Cause Miscarriage
Fake. Although we would all love an excuse to sit around and skip the gym -I know I would- unfortunately this is not the case. This is one of the most common myths on pregnancy and it simply isn’t true.
In fact, recent studies show that working out while pregnant has many benefits, including:
- Managing weight gain
- Decreases risk of birth complications
- Helps with labor due to muscle strength and tone
- Decreases pains of pregnancy
- Gives you energy
- Increases strength of fetal heart and other organ functions
It is recommended to work out at least 30 minutes a day while pregnant.
Now, this is all relative. If you were an active person before you were pregnant, and you have a healthy pregnancy, you are safe to resume the intensity level of exercise you were doing prior to pregnancy. Just be sure to modify certain movements to avoid injury, and avoid doing crunches past the first trimester.
However, if you were not so active, and wish to be healthier during your pregnancy, you can still get in shape and have a healthy, happy pregnancy! For those who are considered less active, start by simply walking for 20-30 minutes a day, anything to elevate your heart rate is beneficial.
Click here to see how I got my body back after pregnancy!
#3 – Your Baby Will Be Born On Their Due Date
Fake. So fake. Haha, this one actually makes me laugh because my daughter came two weeks early and I couldn’t have been happier about that, seeing as she was already 8 pounds when she was born.
A due date is actually only a rough estimate of when your baby will be here. Doctors take the date of your last menstrual period and base the due date off that. Since everyone’s cycle is different, it can be hard to get an exact date. Because of this, your due date can actually be off by two weeks in either direction.
So, even though you have a guesstimate of when your baby will be here, just keep in mind that it could be earlier or later!
#4 – You Can’t Fly On A Plane
Fake. This is a huge misconception in society. I lived in a different state from my parents, and I remember thinking that I wouldn’t be able to visit them throughout my entire pregnancy simply because I couldn’t fly.
Thankfully, that wasn’t the case and I was able to see my parents. Depending on the airline, some may not let you fly in your last trimester for fear that you may go into labor and force an emergency landing. But as far as any harm to you or your baby, flying is perfectly safe.
#5 – No Coffee or Caffeine
Fake. Hallelujah, this myth is fake! Yay! Momma needs her caffeine.
Although this one is technically a myth, it doesn’t mean you have the green light to go crazy with the caffeine. No pounding Monsters or Venti Americanos three times a day. But, in moderation, it’s been studied and research shows that small amounts of caffeine cause no harm to an unborn fetus.
That being said, the recommended dose of caffeine during pregnancy is about 100 mg which equates to roughly one cup of coffee. Throughout my pregnancy, I stayed at or below the limit of 100 mg a day and my baby turned out perfectly fine.
#6 – Don’t Take Hot Baths
Fact. This myth is actually true!
While pregnant it is best to avoid saunas, Jacuzzi’s, hot showers, and baths. Basically, anything that will raise your body temperature to 102+ degrees Fahrenheit.
The reason for this, is due to recent studies, showing that when the body is heated above 102 degrees, damage to the neural tube was found in the fetus. Some research also links these high temperatures to causing miscarriage, for reasons unknown.
#7 – You Can’t Dye Your Hair
Fake. I almost fell for this myth while I was pregnant.
A few years ago, hair dye was believed to soak into your skin and cause damage to your unborn fetus through the bloodstream. New research shows this isn’t true. Although some dye is absorbed into your scalp, the amount is so insignificant, that the likelihood of it getting into your bloodstream is next to none.
Either way, its personal preference but overall, hair dye has been labeled safe for use during pregnancy.
#8 – Stretch Marks Are Genetic
Fact. Unfortunately, this common pregnancy myth is true.
But there is good news! Although genetics play a big role in whether you will get stretch marks, you can prevent them with exercise and weight gain management.
Stretchmarks happen as a result of rapid weight gain, so the slower your belly expands, you reduce your chances of getting stretch marks, regardless of genetics.
Keeping your skin hydrated can also help prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. To keep your skin hydrated, I would recommend using an oil multiple times a day.
#9 – No Sex
Fake. For some reason, this pregnancy myth is growing in popularity. I have been asked about this topic a lot lately, so let me just clear the air. You can definitely have sex while pregnant.
If it is a healthy pregnancy, it is perfectly safe to have sex during pregnancy. Most couples worry that it could harm the baby, but this is virtually impossible and untrue.
Your body is built and designed to protect your baby. When a woman becomes pregnant, the body goes into defense mode. The baby is fully protected by something called an amniotic sac, and the cervix is completely sealed off with a protective barrier.
Meaning, if your pregnancy has been normal and healthy, there is no reason you cannot continue to have a healthy sex life while pregnant.
#10 – No Sushi or Seafood
Fake. Of all the common myths on pregnancy, this one has got to be the most popular. Everyone knows you can’t eat any sushi or seafood if you’re pregnant right? Wrong.
This misconception comes from the rule of no raw fish. Eating anything raw or undercooked comes with its hazards, but is specifically a big no-no during pregnancy. However, there are plenty of cooked fish and sushi rolls that are perfectly safe to eat while pregnant.
Just be sure to avoid eating from the following fish (even if cooked):
- No more than 12 oz of Tuna per week
Aside from the fish listed above, any sushi or seafood that is cooked or baked has the green light!
So there you have it, mommas, 8 out of the 10 common myths on pregnancy are fake!
Although the world of pregnancy may bring some limitations, there are most likely less than you think. Separating fact from fiction can liberate you and give you peace of mind knowing what is true and what is not during pregnancy.
I can always use a good laugh. What was the most absurd thing someone told you about pregnancy while you were expecting? I would love to hear. Please leave your stories in the comments below!
This is very interesting and helpfully informative. So nice to have the truth delivered in a warm and friendly way!
Thank you! I’m glad you found this helpful and fun to read 🙂
I love, love this post. I hear a lot about the things women can and can’t do and eat when pregnant and sometimes it’s just ridiculous the amount of things people say that have no correlation to pregnancy. This is an excellent post for women who are expecting a baby and don’t know what’s right from wrong. During my pregnancy, I was overweight and had gestational diabetes so I had to watch everything I was eating. Luckily I only gained 10 pounds my whole pregnancy and my baby was born a 6 pounder so I ended up smaller once I dropped the baby weight after a few weeks by about 14 pounds. Thanks so much for sharing this because I lot of this I actually didn’t know, like I refrained from dying my hair which I did quite frequently before getting pregnant but I heard from a friend that I couldn’t. There’s that myth out the window. Have you ever heard about getting a tattoo while pregnant or not being able to?
I’m so glad you loved this post! Yes, I have heard that it is not recommended to get tattoos while pregnant, but I wasn’t totally sure. So, in order to answer your question, I did some research.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, they do not recommend getting a tattoo until after the baby is born simply because of the risk of contracting HIV or AIDS. Although the risk is small they say to skip the risk and don’t chance it.
There is also a concern for the ink and skin dyes used, they say there is little information on how this effects an unborn fetus, but they know risks of negative effects are higher in the first 12 weeks.
I hope this helps answer your question! Thanks for stopping by!
Why should they avoid hotbaths, is there an explanation to that?
Yes, so I recently updated this info after you commented, but recent studies actually found that there was damage to the fetal neuro tube when the woman’s body temp had risen over 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some studies have also shown that temperatures this high can lead to miscarriage. Needless to say, I would not recommend hot baths or jacuzzis while pregnant.
I’m often told #1 and I was sure it wasn’t true! This has confirmed my suspicions. Great tips for stretchmarks, I’ll try the oil. I know from experience that toning muscle with strength training can help too. And thank god for #9! I also wasn’t sure about eating cooked salmon so I’m glad I’ve read this. Nobody’s said anything absurd to me yet but I’m sure it’ll come lol. Thanks for sharing, this has been so helpful
I’m so glad you found this helpful, it means a lot coming from a momma who’s expecting! It’s crazy to me how many “experts” are out there when it comes to pregnancy advice ;).
If you haven’t heard anything crazy yet, just give it time, like you said I’m sure it will happen haha. Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for your post! That’s so funny, the “eating for two” myth – because how many times do you hear that said to you when you’re pregnant and eating? For me, the silliest thing that people kept saying when I was out with my 2 toddlers and pregnant with baby 3 was “Gee, you’re gonna have your hands full”. It happened so often I started to think up ridiculous answers but in the end I just smiled and said “Mmmm, yes I’m sure I’ll be fine”…whilst thinking “the next person that says this I’m going to lose it”. Haha! I think it’s important for pregnant women to realise you can do just about anything when you’re pregnant – just eat healthy foods, keep active and don’t do anything obviously stupid!
Thanks for sharing! It’s so funny how often you hear the same thing over and over while you’re pregnant and it does get hard to hold your tongue sometimes. But I like that, just smile and nod haha.
And I definitely agree with your last point, just live a healthy lifestyle and don’t do anything that would be obviously harmful to you or your baby and you will most likely be totally fine!
Thank you for your thoughts! 🙂
Jill du Preez
What a lot of misconceptions there are surrounding one of the most natural things in the world, pregnancy. If we had to listen to all the old wives tales, what a boring existence it would be. Thank goodness we have more sense now.
I agree with you! Knowing your facts helps you have peace of mind without jeopardizing the fun things in life!