There are many myths about pregnancy, and they have varying degrees of truth to them. Before Western medicine and diligent study could test these hypotheses, people had to rely on folk wisdom and their own observations. Thankfully, you can now sort out fact from fiction and enjoy these myths for the entertainment value they represent, without changing your behavior as a result of them. Here are 10 pregnancy myths.
- The Timing of Morning Sickness. Many believe that morning sickness only happens in the morning. Caused by the hCG hormone, morning sickness causes queasiness on an empty stomach, which is most common in the morning after a night’s sleep, but it can occur anytime. Fortunately hCG levels peak around eight to 12 weeks.
- Heart Rate. Some insist that a high fetal heart rate indicates a girl, while a low heart rate indicates a boy. In reality, there’s no consistent, noticeable difference in heart rate between genders during pregnancy.
- Arms Above the Head. There’s talk that raising your arms over your head during pregnancy can lead to the baby’s strangulation on the umbilical cord. Fortunately, this isn’t true. Your baby is snug in the uterus and your arms aren’t at all connected to the umbilical cord.
- Skin Glowing. There’s a myth that pregnant women glow like some kind of radioactive superhero. In reality, the glow is heightened blood flow required to support the growing child, which can sometimes improve the woman’s hair, skin and nails.
- Carrying High or Wide. Some say carrying a child high and wide means a girl, while carrying low and forward means a boy. Studies haven’t found any validity to this.
- Stolen Beauty. One insidious myth suggests that pregnancy acne points to a baby girl in the womb who is stealing her mother’s beauty. Fortunately, a mother and daughter’s beauty can coexist.
- No Sex. It’s sometimes suggested that it’s too dangerous for pregnant women to have sex. They’re afraid it might induce labor or hurt the baby, but aside from a change in sexual position to avoid having a male’s body weight on the belly, sex during pregnancy isn’t usually a problem.
- The Cravings. Myths abound about specific foods every woman craves during pregnancy, such as pickles or ice cream. While cravings are often a part of pregnancy, the specific cravings in a woman can change within a pregnancy from day to day or week to week, and they can also change from pregnancy to pregnancy.
- Big Bumps Equals Big Baby. This myth suggests that big bumps mean there’s a big baby on the way, but this depends heavily on the size of the mother. A tall mother might not look pregnant until month six, while a petite mother might show after a few weeks.
- Labor Is Too Embarrassing. It’s unlikely that most women will be too preoccupied with modesty while dealing with contractions, but this myth still suggests otherwise.
The Bottom Line:
It’s important to stay informed about what’s true and what’s not true in pregnancy. While it’s fine to enjoy these myths as entertaining, you should take them with a grain of salt. The best thing to do is seek out medical advice for information about sex, diet, sickness and other concerns during pregnancy.