Six common pregnancy myths are:
- Cravings and gender. If you have a serious sweet tooth during your pregnancy, you are having a girl. If you want salty snacks, it is definitely a boy. The reality is that most women crave a bit of both at various points throughout their pregnancy, and some do not have cravings all. So even if this pregnancy myth were true, it would be tough to tell from what you are craving. The only real way to determine the gender of your unborn baby is through ultrasound or amniocentesis.
- Heartburn equals a head of hair. The old saying is that if you have chronic heartburn during your pregnancy, your baby will be born with a full head of hair. According an article in Fit Pregnancy magazine online, “…researchers say the folklore may be true. In their study, women with moderate to severe heartburn had babies with average or above average amounts of hair; most women with no heartburn had babies with less than average or no hair.” The article also notes that there has been recent speculation by the medical community that the pregnancy hormones which relax the muscles at the bottom of the mother’s esophagus may also play a role in prenatal hair growth.
- No baths. It has been widely considered a big no-no to take baths while pregnant. This myth was perpetuated for two reasons. The first being that bathwater was thought to travel to the woman’s womb and cause infection. This is completely false, and there is not medical basis to back it up. Doctors today agree it is perfectly fine for women to soak in the tub for as long as they would like as long as the temperature of the water is not too hot, as this can raise the woman’s body temperature and potentially harm the fetus. (According to Baby.com, a safe temperature is less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit). The second reason this myth has stuck around is due to the belief that a fetus would drown if the mother submerged herself in water. This is completely illogical as well because babies are encased in the amniotic sac of fluid until they are born.
- You’re eating for two. Just about every pregnant woman has been told that she’s “eating for two” and that she should eat as much as possible for the sake of her unborn baby. This long-standing wisdom has been turned on its head in recent years, and doctors now warn that too much weight gain can actually cause the mother to experience increased leg cramping and back pain, fatigue, and heartburn, among other symptoms. Moreover, excessive weight gain during pregnancy can increase the mother’s chances of testing positive for gestational diabetes. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recently reported that the number of obese mothers is on the rise; almost one in four women are obese, and a third are currently overweight in the United States.
- Carrying high or low. The legend goes that women who gain their pregnancy weight all in their stomachs and carry their baby low are having a boy, and women who gain weight all over their bodies during their pregnancies and carry their babies high are having girls. This is one of the most common myths about pregnancy, and it has no scientific basis whatsoever. Mothers-to-be carry their babies in all sorts of different positions, and each gains weight differently from pregnancy to pregnancy. None of these variations are indicative of a baby’s gender whatsoever.
- Morning sickness and gender. Women who get sick throughout their pregnancy are said to be having girls, while mothers who have little to no nausea should look forward to baby boys. Morning sickness, much like the way a mother carries her baby during pregnancy, is a randomly occurring thing that varies depending on the individual. Again, the only reliable way to determine the gender of your child is at the doctor’s office.
There are many myths about pregnancy floating around, and if you are the one who is pregnant, you are sure to hear them all. Your doctor is the key to separating the fact from the fiction, and keeping a list of questions to ask at each visit is a great way to put many of these baseless fears to rest.