One of the most stressful things about pregnancy is that people start giving you advice left and right, whether you ask for it or not. Old wives’ tales also tend to resurface whenever someone is pregnant. Most of the advice you receive when you’re pregnant is cautionary, and especially when you’re a new mother, this can make pregnancy feel almost scary. As though anything could go wrong at any time. Although everyone means well, it can be hard to sort out myths from facts.
Here we have gathered 10 popular myths you frequently hear about pregnant. Think of us as your favorite mythbusters! We’ll tell you the facts.
1. Exercise is bad when you’re pregnant.
FALSE! Exercise can actually be beneficial for the fetus as it keeps the mother healthy, reduces stress, and even ensures the cardiovascular health of the fetus. Some forms of exercise like prenatal yoga may even help prepare for a better labor.
2. Don’t dye your hair.
FALSE! Yes, you can redo those highlights and look your best even when you are showing off a baby bump. This advice goes hand-in-hand with the general misconception that the pregnant body and its fetus is a very fragile thing. In actuality, the amount of chemicals in hair dye is not enough to do any damage to the fetus.
3. The fetus is a passive thing.
FALSE! In reality, the fetus has the capability to respond and adapt. Even before birth, the mother already has an ability to be a positive influence on the development of her baby. By the same token, the baby also has the ability to adapt and survive through any minor bumps along the road of pregnancy.
4. The pregnant mother has to eat for two.
FALSE! In reality, a pregnant mother only has to take in an additional 300 calories on top of her normal diet, and this is only after the first trimester.
5. A bigger baby is a better baby.
FALSE! Bigger is not always better and the average baby actually only weighs around 7.5 lbs. A much bigger baby may actually suffer from the risk of diabetes and/or obesity later in life.
6. Sex is dangerous.
FALSE! As with the fundamental good of exercise and our point about the baby’s dynamic adaptability, the worst that can happen in sex is something called Braxton Hicks contractions, and they’re harmless. Unless you have a medical condition that necessitates that you abstain, go ahead and maintain a normal sex life during your pregnancy.
7. A pregnant mother should glow!
FALSE! We know you are expected to be the very embodiment of the Madonna when you’re pregnant, with a new appreciation for everything around you and for life itself. That might happen, or it might not happen. If you feel stressed out and less than 24/7 joyous during your pregnancy, don’t fret. Everybody’s hormones respond differently to pregnancy and it is perfectly normal to be happy or to be on your crankier side due to the unpredictability of those hormones.
8. Stress is very bad for the fetus.
FALSE! Actually research has shown that a moderate amount of stress (the keyword being moderate) can be beneficial for the development of the fetus’s nervous system and developmental abilities later in life.
9. Caffeine and alcohol are both bad.
FALSE! Actually, one drink a week has been shown to be perfectly fine by doctors. And moreover, no need to bid your favorite Starbucks goodbye the moment you’re pregnant. A cup of coffee a day is perfectly alright during your pregnancy.
10. Having a C-Section makes vaginal birth harder and more dangerous.
FALSE! People used to believe that if you’ve ever gone the Caesarean route, there will be a risk of uterine rupture if you ever attempt vaginal birth after that. But in 2010, the National Institutes of Health stated that the risk of uterine rupture for women who’ve ever had a C-section befpre is actually very low–between 0.5 and 0.9 percent.
So there you have it. An insane amount of stress might be bad for your own health and your fetus’s. But a little bit of a bad day, a cup of coffee here and there, exercise… all these things are perfectly compatible with your pregnancy. So embrace these very special 9 months and stop freaking out. Know that pregnancy has the potential to be life-changing but it does not need to change your life completely!