You’ve heard of the kid TV series “Myth Busters” right? One of those fun, educational shows where a group of geeks test science myths to see if they are real or not. Well, there are a lot of myths, legends, wives tales, whatever you want to call them, floating around about pregnancy. Everyone’s got advice and some crazy story about how to predict the gender.
Maybe we buy into these because pregnancy itself is so mysterious. What is really happening inside the womb and to the mother’s body? Is it a boy or a girl? Why am I so sick with this second pregnancy, but not the first? We all want answers!
I’ve researched some of the top 20 myths and posted the results. See how well you score and be sure to tell others what an expert you are now (not!)
1. If you are carrying your baby high, it’s a girl. Carrying low? Stock up on blue. False. So is that crazy wives tale of tying the mom-to-be’s wedding ring to a string and dangling it over her belly. If the ring swings back and forth, it’s a boy; if it circles the belly, it’s a girl. Seriously?
2. Another gender predictions. Craving sweets? According to some, that means you’re going to have a little girl. Salty and sour cravings indicate a boy. False again. Predicting gender is never a trustworthy science, unless of course that involves an ultrasound.
3. You can’t get pregnant while nursing. False, mostly. Although nursing decreases the chance of ovulation, it doesn’t guarantee it. Raise your hand if you got pregnancy again while nursing. There’s nothing more shocking than a new mother of a 5 month old who finds out she’s pregnant…again!
4. You shouldn’t have sex while pregnant because you might harm the baby.
False, unless you have a specific medical condition and your doctor warns you against it.
5. You shouldn’t take hot baths while pregnant.
True, actually. You should avoid saunas, Jacuzzis or anything that raises your body temperature over 102 degrees. But you can take a bath in warm or slightly hot water. Some people even naively think that they can’t take a bath at all, that it will drown the baby! That’s another myth I’d like to bust right here.
6. You should abstain from alcohol during pregnancy.
True, although some studies have shown that up to 2 glasses of wine per day is not harmful. However, most doctors will tell new mothers to be on the safe side and abstain.
7. You will crave pickles and ice cream.
No, but cravings can occur, and are usually harmless. Husbands: be prepared for the Big Mac midnight runs. (At least mine had to on more than one occasion).
8. Cravings mean your baby “needs” that food. False. Wouldn’t we all love to blame our need for chocolate on “the baby.” There are, however, some women who crave laundry detergent, paint chips, or clay. These odd cravings (called pica) have been associated with iron deficiency and you should talk to your doctor immediately if you experience them.
9. If you mixes Drano with urine, it can determine the sex of your baby. The wives tale is if you pour it down the toilet, and it turns blue, you have a boy; pink, it’s a girl. False. There’s another myth down the drain. I credit this “wives tale” to the wife of Tom Drano, the company owner, who wanted to increase sales and get richer…and it worked!
10. A fetus is sealed away in the uterus, unaffected by what’s going on outside. False. A baby can feel the stress from the environment and become distressed as well. It can detect sounds and emotions as well as ingest chemicals from tobacco and drug use. Babies moments after birth can discriminate the voice of their mothers from other women’s voices. It’s quite amazing, really.
11. Going to prenatal check ups is extremely important.
Yes, yes, and yes! Don’t skip this essential part of pregnancy. A doctor’s supervision might just be the key to your baby’s survival, health, and even your health. You’ll be checked for gestational diabetes, get a few ultrasounds to detect the development of the baby, and monitor any prescription drugs you are taking that might affect the fetus.
12. Your water always breaks when you go into labor and will gush like a faucet.
Nope. It doesn’t always break before and sometimes it’s just a trickle you don’t even notice. “Oh my gosh, I think I just peed my pants,” is more likely the sign.
13. The pregnant couple will sometimes feel disconnected and disoriented to one another.
True, and if not, it may happen shortly after becoming new parents. Or when your child becomes a teen, or one of a hundred other times during your marriage.
14. Having wide, curvy hips make child birthing easier.
False. It’s the size of the pelvis, not hips.
15. Drinking castor oil, eating spicy food or jumping on a trampoline will kick-start labor.
False. Sorry. The baby will come when it is good and ready.
16. Pregnant women should avoid exercise.
False. Sorry again. Exercise is actually very good for the baby and mom, but should be done moderately and with a doctor’s approval.
17. Water births improve chances for a healthy baby. False. Although more and more hospitals and birthing centers offer water births, there is no research to confirm that it improves the medical condition for the baby or the mother. It might ease pain and speed up labor, but that’s about it.
18. The second birth will be easier.
True, but not always. Still, it’s a nice thought when considering having more than one child.
19. You will feel an instant bond with your newborn baby.
False. New mothers and fathers may not naturally feel a euphoric sense of love and connection with their baby. Don’t worry if that is the case. Give it time. If post-partum sets in, see a doctor.
20. Couples should wait at least 4-6 weeks after childbirth to have sex. True. When the new mother has seen her OB-Gyn for a post-delivery check up and is cleared for intercourse, that’s the time to start again. Have fun.