Pregnancy is a wonderful thing. It’s an absolute emotional roller-coaster for some, a smooth sail for some and a constant state of anxiety for some. But, what’s funny, yet intriguing about pregnancy are the many beliefs that surround it. Let’s take a look at some of the popular myths on pregnancy and understand how we can deal with those.

Myth 1: Eating Papaya will cause miscarriage

This is a very popular belief and has been used very judiciously in Indian movies. Though there are theories to support this belief, one must understand the complete facts before concluding on the above statement.

Facts: Let’s look at this in more detail. Unripe or semi-ripe papaya contains higher levels of “papain”. “Papain” may cause uterine contractions in certain cases and it also acts as a laxative. So, unripe or semi-ripe papaya should be avoided during pregnancy. However, ripe papayas are very rich in Vitamin A, B, C, potassium, and beta-carotene. Ripe papayas may also help in reducing morning sickness. They have folic acid, which is good for the neurological development of the baby

Conclusion: Ripe papayas can be consumed in small quantities by pregnant women as they are safe and good sources of Vitamins and minerals. Green and semi-ripe papayas can be avoided, as there are still contradictory studies and no solid conclusion has been reached.

Myth 2: Coconut water will make the baby’s skin fair and baby’s hair thick

This is quite a funny belief, but really not hard to believe considering that there is still a lot of hope every day that you give birth to a fair-skinned baby and a baby with thick, long locks. In reality, coconut water has nothing to do with the skin colour or the hair texture of the baby. Both of these are related to genetic factors.

Facts: Coconut water is very beneficial for the mom during pregnancy. Coconut water is a safe drink, and though it does not help with the skin colour or hair of the baby, it definitely offers the mother a lot of nutrients and keeps the mother well hydrated.

Conclusion: Enjoy the coconut water as it does lot of good for the mother. A healthy mother equals a healthy baby.

Myth 3: Exercising during the first trimester may harm the baby

It’s a common belief that any physical activity should be avoided during the first trimester as it may be dangerous for the baby, resulting in a miscarriage. However, this is not true. Read on to understand the facts about exercising.

Facts: Low impact exercises like walking, swimming, low-impact yoga can be done during any stage of the pregnancy. In fact, exercise reduces morning sickness, increases mood, reduces stress, improves sleep and reduces risk of complications. Any exercise that puts direct pressure on the fetus and the uterus, puts great strain on joints and muscles, overheats the body or creates dehydration are the exercises that must be avoided.

Conclusion: Low-impact exercises are good and must be done even during the first trimester for long term benefits for both the mother and the baby.

Myth 4: Eat for two

We love this statement, right? 🙂 Everyone says this when you are pregnant. And it’s good when you want to indulge and really annoying when people try to overfeed you. So, in reality, is this true? No, you need not eat for 2 people. Your baby is not equal to 1 big grown adult.

Facts: A balanced diet that gives you good nutrition is important during pregnancy. A baby will probably require just 300-400 calories extra per day. But that doesn’t mean you can get away by munching a candy bar. It also does not mean you need to be counting your 300 calories. Keep monitoring the weight that you gain during pregnancy. Eat foods that make you feel healthy and not the ones make you feel heavy or bloated.

Conclusion: You don’t need to eat for two when you are pregnant. All you need is 300 calories extra that you can include in your everyday balanced diet

Myth 5: Carrying high – It’s a girl; Carrying low – It’s a boy

I have heard multiple versions of this myth when I was pregnant. 🙂 In reality, your baby’s gender is not determined by how you are carrying them.

Fact: How high or low your abdomen shows, totally depends on the mom’s physiological factors like muscle tone, structure of the uterine muscles, the position of the body, strength of the core and so on.

Conclusion: You still get a 50-50 chance of being correct when you guess the baby is going to be a boy or a girl depending on how low or high you are carrying the baby :). But is it a 100% foolproof method. No. Don’t worry, you will find out for sure the gender of your baby when they are born.

Myth 6: Having sex during pregnancy may harm the baby

All couples fear having sex during pregnancy as they are afraid that sex can harm the baby. Similar to exercise, if you don’t put pressure on the abdominal area directly, it is safe to have sex during pregnancy.

Facts: The amniotic sac is strong enough to protect your baby during pregnancy. Plus the mucous plug safeguards the cervix. In certain cases, if the mother has had a history of miscarriages or premature labour or an incompetent cervix, doctors may advise against sex during the first trimester. But in general, sex can be safe and fun during pregnancy

Conclusion: If you have the energy and drive, you need not refrain from sexual activity during pregnancy. In fact, most doctors encourage you to to engage in sexual activity, especially during the second trimester.

Myth 7: A big belly indicates a big baby

“Wow, your belly is huge. You are going to have a big baby. 🙂 “. You can hear this a lot during your pregnancy. You may also hear “You have a very small belly. Looks like you are going to have a tiny baby”. Both of these statements are not true. How your belly looks during pregnancy is no indication of your baby’s weight.

Facts: Let us look at this with an example. Let’s say you gain between 12 to 14.5 kgs during your pregnancy, it is likely that only 3.1 to 3.8 kgs is your baby’s weight. The rest of the weight is distributed over placenta, tissue fat, uterus, amniotic fluid, breasts, blood volume and fat. And this varies for different women. You may accumulate fat during your pregnancy, but that need not necessarily be in your baby.

Conclusion: The size of your belly is not indicative of your baby’s weight. In fact, even ultrasounds cannot exactly predict the weight of your baby. So, just have a balanced diet and exercise and watch your overall weight gain and enjoy your pregnancy.

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