Pregnancy can be daunting. Unfortunately, those odd pregnancy books won’t prepare you for the long journey ahead. There always seems to be a myth that does the rounds and by the end of it, you’re not really sure what to think. So we did the research and found the 10 most popular pregnancy myths floating around:
1. 9-month sex ban.
Gynaecologist and author of Love Sex Again, Lauren Streicher says it like it is: “In a normal pregnancy, there’s no reason to refrain from intercourse as long as you want it, and as long as it’s comfortable.” Luckily for couples, the baby is completely protected by strong uterine muscles and the amniotic sac, so you can expect that the baby won’t be harmed during sexual intercourse. Although sex might not directly cause harm to the baby, if you do contract an STI, there is a chance that the disease could be transmitted to the baby.
2. Exercising will harm my baby.
Fortunately, you can stay fit even as your belly begins to grow. Under a trained professional, improving your fitness will improve your stamina and make you more childbirth ready. There’s no better way to stay relaxed then meditative forms of exercises – think swimming, brisk walks and yoga. But don’t forget it’s important to consult your doctor who can tailor your programme to suit your situation!
3. Don’t drink coffee.
Despite popular warning that caffeine can cause miscarriage or preterm birth, there’s no cause for concern if you need a cup to wake you up. However, if you’re used to several mugs a day, you might want to ease back. Higher heart rates from excess caffeine put you at a higher risk of a problematical pregnancy. “Australian guidelines recommend you limit your intake to less than 200mg per day, so that’s about one to two instant coffees a day and two to three cups of tea,” says accredited dietitian, Melanie McGrice.
4. Saffron will make my baby’s skin lighter.
A myth that has survived the ages, Saffron with milk was given to pregnant mothers in the hope of changing the skin tone of unborn babies. Although a long-held tradition in India, there’s no science to back it up. Genetics is the single determinant of the appearance of your baby.
5. Eat like there are two of you.
I can assure you right now that an unborn baby certainly doesn’t have the appetite of a grown woman. In fact, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, a pregnant woman with no physical concerns needs about 300 extra calories a day to help her baby’s development. But remember to always consult a doctor to ensure that you meet your nutrient requirements!
6. You can’t sleep on your back.
This one’s actually true. SOS. It’s a thing – ‘sleep on your side’. Sleeping on your left hand side will help increase the amount of nutrients and blood that flows to your baby, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
7. Sorry, no flying for a bit.
Actually, not really. It’s recommended that if you still have a bit of the travel bug, the best time to fly is before the 37 week mark (which is basically the end). And although there may be side effects, The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) suggests there is no harm in flying high whilst pregnant. “To help decide whether or not to fly, women should think about how many weeks pregnant they will be … and whether it will increase their risk of medical problems”, says Phillipa Marsden, Chairwoman of the RCOG’s Patient information committee.
8. Ghee, that will help slide my baby out.
You might not have even heard of the word Ghee until you were pregnant and your questionable friend recommended it to you. Ghee is a type of clarified butter traditionally made from buffalo or cow’s milk. Consuming Ghee will not help the baby come out. Eating it doesn’t lubricate the vagina nor help in healing the uterus. In fact, excess consumption will only make you put on more weight.
9. Time to give up papaya.
Traditional Indian culture suggests that papaya can cause miscarriage, but in reality, only unripe papaya can cause harm. Unripe papaya has high concentrations of latex which can be harmful. As the papaya ripens that latex content decrease and becomes safe to consume. In fact papaya has many beneficial effects such as preventing constipation and heartburn whilst relieving digestive complaints typical of pregnancy.
10. Hide during an eclipse.
Perhaps the most unbelievable and rightly so. No, your baby won’t be born with a deformity if you were to leave the house during an eclipse and look directly into the sky.
Like anything, always be sure to consult your doctor. Women will have different experiences during pregnancy and professionals will be able to tailor a programme to suit your circumstances.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.