There’s no doubt that pregnancy is the most wonderful and emotional time for every woman. That is why there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about this subject. For example, many people believe that a pregnant woman should eat for 2, and that’s 100% false. You only need 300 extra calories per day to grow a healthy baby, eating more can have an opposite effect, and lead to health problems and weight gain.
Bright Side decided to conduct some deeper research on the topic, and here are 10 of the most common myths about pregnancy that have no scientific background.
1. Pregnant women shouldn’t dye their hair.
Research from the College of Family Physicians of Canada states that women can dye their hair during pregnancy. The amount of chemicals in hair products that our skin absorbs is very limited, and it will not cause any damage to the fetus. Although there are some restrictions:
- wait until the second trimester to dye your hair;
- make sure that the room where you have the hair treatment is well-ventilated;
- don’t leave the dye on for too long;
- always wear gloves if you’re dying your hair yourself;
- limit the amount of hair dying to 3-4 times during your pregnancy.
2. Women shouldn’t fly while pregnant.
Studies prove that air travel will not cause any damage to a pregnant woman and her baby. The amount of radiation a person gets in a single round-trip is way below the upper limit of safe levels. The only risk is that if you have an abnormal pregnancy, it’s better to not be 30,000 feet above the ground in case anything goes wrong. So make sure to visit your doctor for a professional opinion.
You should also avoid flying in the following cases:
- 36 or more weeks of pregnancy;
- medical conditions, like respiratory and cardiac diseases.
3. Pregnant women shouldn’t take baths.
A recent study in cooperation with the University of Exeter shows that pregnant women actually can enjoy baths. However, there are things that should be kept in mind. First of all, the baths should be no longer than 20 minutes, because longer periods may lead to an increased risk of infections. Secondly, the water temperature should be no more than 98°F, because higher temperatures can reduce blood flow to the baby, which puts the baby under stress.
4. Pregnant women shouldn’t eat deli meat.
The main concern with eating deli meat is Listeria, and the risk of infection is higher for pregnant women. That is why it’s better to avoid deli meat, soft cheeses, unpasteurized milk, etc. Although that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a hot dog or a sandwich every once in a while, just make sure to heat it to 165°F for your safety.
5. Pregnant women shouldn’t sleep on their backs.
There is no clear scientific evidence that sleeping on your back causes health problems and negatively affects the baby. Some studies suggest that spinal sleep at late gestation should be avoided as it might be an additional source of risk. During the first and the second trimester of the pregnancy, it’s pretty much safe to sleep on your back if your doctor doesn’t say otherwise.
6. Pregnant women shouldn’t drink alcohol.
A study by researchers from Bristol University has proven that there is little to no evidence that consuming one or 2 glasses of wine per week could harm an unborn baby. While doctors caution women to remain on the safe side and abstain from alcohol altogether, it is okay to indulge a tiny bit if you find yourself in a social setting or experience serious cravings.
7. Pregnant women shouldn’t drink coffee.
It’s not the coffee itself that can be dangerous for pregnant women, but it’s the caffeine which can be also found in tea, cola, drinking chocolate, etc. Research suggests that elevated daily caffeine consumption may negatively affect the fetus. Other research didn’t find any evidence supporting the fact that drinking coffee or tea (if it’s not more than 300 mg of caffeine per day) causes any health problems both for the mother and the baby.
So in case you seriously crave coffee, you can have a cup every once in a while. But it’s better to stick to decaf if you’re drinking a lot.
8. Pregnant women shouldn’t exercise.
This myth has been really popular for a long time, but this is not true unless you have an abnormal pregnancy or experience serious health problems. This study shows that exercising during pregnancy has positive effects on both the mother and the child. Scientifically-proven safe types of exercise are aerobics, progressive resistive strengthening, stretching, yoga, and Qi. Professional athletes can continue their training regimen, but should decrease the intensity.
9. Pregnant women shouldn’t eat sweets.
It’s safe to say that eating too much sugar doesn’t benefit anyone, but it can have an even stronger effect on pregnant women. The best option is to have a balanced diet, and limit the amount of sugar intake (especially processed sugar). But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a cookie or a piece of cake if you really want it.
10. Pregnant women shouldn’t eat seafood.
It’s safe to eat fish during pregnancy. It has a lot of vitamins and minerals, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. The main rule is to avoid shark, swordfish, and marlin consumption due to their high mercury content. You should also limit your consumption of certain types of fish like tuna, salmon, trout, herring, and sardines.
A study has proven that moderate mercury levels during pregnancy aren’t associated with health problems and that fish consumption following official medical guidelines has a great impact on pregnant women.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that this article is not a medical publication, although it is based on several studies. Before you do anything based on the points outlined above, you should see your doctor, and get professional advice.
Have you ever heard any of these don’ts? Do you know any more myths around pregnancy that are no longer reliable?
Share your stories and opinions with us in the comments below!