Pregnancy is supposed to be a time of great joy and excitement for women, but unfortunately, there can be a lot of stigma and misconceptions attached to it that keep them from enjoying it fully. If you or someone close to you has been pregnant, you’ve no doubt heard various pieces of advice from anyone and everyone that you come across – everything from don’t drink coffee to how you have to banish the cat from the house now.
These can add unwanted stress to an already hormonal period! Thankfully, a lot of these old wives’ tales aren’t actually true, so here’s we’ve debunked some of the most common pregnancy myths for you:
Myth 1: Sushi is banned while pregnant
While it’s generally true that you should stay away from raw or uncooked seafood (and meat) of any kind during pregnancy, not all sushi is made the same. It’s also better to keep your consumption of fish high in mercury (e.g. shark, tilefish, mackerel, tuna) at a minimum. Nevertheless, you can still enjoy a variety of sushi that is prepared with cooked fish and vegetables as well, and even the types of fish we’ve mentioned above, when eaten in very small quantities, should be fine.
Myth 2: Intercourse can hurt the fetus
Morning sickness, bloating, constipation, and anxiety are only a few side effects of pregnancy that might be making you feel less than excited to jump into bed with your partner – but there’s no actual physical reason why you cannot be intimate with them.
There are several layers of skin and the amniotic sac which keeps your baby safe and sound, so there’s no need to worry about or refrain from intercourse unless your doctor specifically warns you against it.
Myth 3: No coffee allowed during pregnancy
You might need to eliminate several of your regular breakfast items while pregnant, like runny eggs or cold cut meats, but coffee isn’t one of them. It is required, though, that you stick to just 1-2 cups (or 200 mg of caffeine) per day. In fact, that’s about the same amount of caffeine you get from a regular 10-ounce Starbucks coffee.
Myth 4: Pregnant women aren’t allowed on flights
You might have heard that pregnant women aren’t allowed on flights during their first and last trimesters, but that’s just absolutely not true! Flying is one of the safest ways to travel when you’re pregnant, and unless your doctor has banned you from traveling, you should be just fine.
Some airlines will not accept you if you are at the end of your pregnancy, but they’re just afraid you might go into labor mid-flight. Even then, short distance flights are mostly not a problem.
Myth 5: Eat for 2 now that you’re pregnant
While your body does require a bit of extra nutrition during pregnancy – because, you know, it’s growing a human in there – that’s only about 300 extra calories, and only in the later stages of your pregnancy. In fact, overeating, especially junk food, can lead to an overweight baby, and not to mention, making it harder for you to lose it all afterward.
Myth 6: Stay away from the cat when expecting
Your poor cat might feel neglected enough once the baby arrives, don’t banish it during pregnancy! Petting or cuddling the puss presents is perfectly safe. But, do make sure you have someone else change his litter box, because it may contain a parasite called toxoplasmosis that is harmful to pregnant women.
Myth 7: You cannot exercise during pregnancy
Unless your doctor has specifically asked you to limit physical activity, avoiding exercise can do more harm than good to your pregnancy. Light exercise such as walking, swimming, and yoga is not only good for keeping your body and baby healthy, it will also help make labor smoother and faster as well.
Myth 8: Expecting women can’t color their hair
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you can’t have fabulous hair. Chemicals are, of course, best to be avoided during pregnancy, but the chemicals in hair dye are so minute that they are unlikely to cause any harm.
Still, to be on the safer side, pick hair treatments where the dye is applied directly on the hair, make sure the salon uses products with minimum chemicals and ammonia-free, and pick a lighter shade of dye. It might also be best to wait until your second trimester before hitting the salon as the early weeks are crucial in fetal development and you do not want anything to mess with it.
Myth 8: X-rays are off-limits when pregnant
X-rays, microwaves, computer terminals and other places with radiation are often said to be off-limits to a pregnant woman, but that’s actually not necessary. While everyone, not just pregnant women, should avoid the amount of radiation they are exposed to, occasional use of a microwave doesn’t pose any harm to you or your unborn baby. And although doctors won’t prescribe an x-ray unless it’s extremely necessary during pregnancy, it doesn’t pose any threat to the fetus either.