People are shameless when it comes to giving advice to pregnant women. Whether or not you have asked for it, friends, your sister-in-law or random people on the street will seem to think it is perfectly OK to give you their opinion about your pregnancy and unborn baby. Sometimes these opinions are welcome and based on facts and other times they are complete myths and old wives tales. Here are the top 10 pregnancy myths and whether or not they hold any truth:
1. Avoid Caffeine
FALSE - While the food and drinks that you consume are delivered directly to baby, this doesn't mean that you have to give up your morning lifeline cup of coffee cold turkey. One cup of coffee per day is completely safe and may be just the thing you need to keep you going. Just try and limit it to no more than 8oz per day.
2. Stay out of the gym!
FALSE - There is no reason why you should give up your regular fitness routine. While many women in the first trimester do not feel particularly motivated to work out, if you are up for it, physical activity can actually benefit you and your baby. It will balance out your weight gain and the added muscle will help prepare your body for the additional pressure of a growing baby. You should avoid any high-impact or sports and listen to your body. If you start to feel dizzy or too exhausted then stop immediately and tone it down next time.
3. You should sleep on your left side only
TRUE-ish - Sleeping on your side (either right or left) during pregnancy allows for the easiest possible flow of blood and nutrients to the placenta and to your baby. While both positions are generally fine, sleeping on your right side may put additional pressure on your liver which can be less than ideal.
Once you hit the second trimester, sleeping on your stomach isn't really an option, for obvious reasons, and you want to avoid sleeping on your back as your growing uterus can put pressure on the vein that brings blood to your heart. This could restrict the blood and nutrients that reach your baby.
If you fall asleep on your left side and wake up on your back or right side, don't panic. Our bodies are good at letting us know when something is wrong which might even be why you woke up in the first place! Just try and position yourself back on your left side to fall asleep and you can even wedge a pillow under your back which will help prevent you rolling onto your back during the night.
4. Your Hubby will be sent out for pickles and ice cream at 4am
MAYBE - Cravings vary from pregnancy to pregnancy, and often, from week to week! Some women experience overwhelming cravings (my mom sent my dad out for an avocado maki at midnight one night while she was pregnant with me!) but others might experience food aversions rather than cravings (I couldn't stand any hot beverages when I was pregnant with my son! Everything had to be iced). You might also be surprised at what sounds appetising as it might seem totally out of character for you.
5. If you are carrying "low" its a boy
FALSE - You most likely won't make it half way down the block without someone proudly stating that your baby will be a girl because you are "carrying high," but this one, ladies, is pure myth. The only things that effect the placement of your bump are your body type, your muscle tone and the position baby is in, gender has nothing to do with it!
6. All women feel the "pregnancy glow"
FALSE - During pregnancy, your glands produce more oil due to the increase in hormone levels. This can lead to a number of skin changes including the so-called "glow," which is really just a nice oily shimmer. Other women, however, could break out in acne caused by this oil excess so if you are experiencing "the glow," count yourself lucky!
7. Playing Mozart will make my baby smart
UNKNOWN - The overall effect of playing music to an unborn baby is still unknown. There have been a few very small studies showing increased cognitive development, motor skills and language development in early infancy in children who were exposed to music in-utero but these studies are small and there has been no follow-up research done. That said, baby can hear our voices and music and it may be that they recognise those sounds in the first few weeks earth-side so play some tunes if you are feeling inclined, but don't overdue the Mozart thinking you are brewing a genius baby because of it.
8. One Drink is OK
FALSE - While one or two sips of champagne for a toast probably won't do baby any harm, there is overwhelming evidence linking drinking during pregnancy to severe birth defects and miscarriage. The overall message: abstaining 100% from alcohol throughout your pregnancy is safest.
9. You're Eating for Two
FALSE - Even if your insatiable appetite and cravings have you on second and third helpings at dinner, the general advice is to increase your intake by 300-500 calories daily, depending on your overall weight and health at the beginning of pregnancy.
10. Morning sickness means it's a girl!
MAYBE - Mamas-to-be who are carrying girls tend to have higher hCG levels. Since hCG is said to be the cause of morning sickness, it is no wonder that women carrying baby girls tend to have more severe morning sickness than those carrying boys. Mothers carrying boys, however may experience varying degrees of morning sickness and can often be quite severe as well so if you can't keep anything down, don't bank on it being a girl until your 20-week ultrasound to be sure!