Pregnancy is a crucial period for a woman, that spans over a period of nine months. Various old wives’ tales have been passed on from one generation to another, some of them with absolutely no scientific basis. These myths spearhead unnecessary fear in many women, which is why it is important to find out the truth. Some common myths and their reality are mentioned below.
Myth : While giving birth, cutting is better than tearing.
Reality : During episiotomy, cutting involves many layers of tissue and muscle. Tears are small, do not extend into the muscle, and heal more comfortably.
Myth : During pregnancy, sex can hurt the baby.
Reality : In a majority of cases, sex is very enjoyable for the woman, due to the enhanced blood flow to the pelvic floor. However, in some cases sex should be avoided.
Myth : For every baby, one tooth is lost.
Reality : If women have an intake of 1500 mg of calcium per day, either from food sources or supplements, there is no issue of losing a tooth. Teeth are lost only in case of malnutrition, deficiency of calcium, or close interconceptional periods.
Myth : By raising the arms above the head, it is possible to tangle the umbilical cord.
Reality : Entanglements occur during early gestation due to fetal activity. Some babies are born with the cord surrounding the neck or around the legs or having knots. The mother cannot affect this condition.
Myth : If the mother sleeps on her back, the baby will get hurt.
Reality : For a normal pregnancy, a woman can take any position that is found comfortable. In case of a high risk pregnancy and suspicion of severe water retention, hypertension, maternal kidney malfunction, or fetal compromise, resting on the left side is advised.
Myth : The baby’s gender can be determined by the fetal heartbeat or the way of carrying.
Reality : Only ultrasound or amniocentesis can be used to find out the baby’s gender. There is no other method.
Myth : Coffee has a detrimental effect on the baby.
Reality : Coffee if taken in small amounts, like up to three cups per day, is not harmful. However, larger amount of caffeine may result in a baby with low birth weight.
Myth : Use of cell phones, microwaves, and computers are harmful to the fetus.
Reality : Using computers and cell phones during pregnancy is totally safe. In case of microwaves, the user may be exposed to radiation, only if there is a leak. However, overuse of cell phones and microwaves should be avoided.
Myth : If the baby moves, it is a matter of concern.
Reality : When the baby starts moving, the mother must keep count of the baby’s movements. If there are maximum 10 movements in six hours, there is no reason to worry about.
Myth : Exercise must be stopped during pregnancy.
Reality : Exercise is good if it does not make you weary, overheated, or extremely breathless. Generally, there must be sufficient oxygen to chat throughout the workout. Those not accustomed to heavy exercise can start brisk walking.
Myth : A pregnant woman must not carry or lift anything at all, e.g. a three year old child.
Reality : If there is no strain in lifting or carrying, it is not harmful. The knees must be bent and the object must be kept close to the body.