From beliefs that a lunar eclipse can cause fetal abnormalities to associating the baby’s gender through a woman’s appearance, there is no denying that pregnancy myths abound. With the general notion of pregnancy as a time when women are most vulnerable to hazards, it comes with no surprise that pregnancy myths have survived the times. But whether or not these myths have any scientific bearing, they seem to attract believers even to this very day. Listed below are the most common pregnancy myths along with an explanation whether these are even worth believing:
1. Heavy lifting can cause preterm birth.
This myth is not absolutely false because in high-risk pregnancies, women are really cautioned to avoid heavy lifting to prevent preterm birth. Conditions that may require women to avoid heavy lifting are those with a history of preterm birth, incompetent cervix, miscarriage, and other abnormalities of the cervix and uterus. To add to that, it is generally considered unsafe to carry more than 25 pounds of weight because pregnancy alters a woman’s sense of balance thereby making fall-related accidents and injuries common.
2. Hair dyes are not safe to use during pregnancy.
When pregnancy changes are plenty, hair dyes offer women an extra boost in their self-esteem. But are they totally safe? According to the American College Obstetricians or ACOG, there have been no known risks in the use of hair dyes in pregnant women because very little dye gets absorbed through the skin. If you don’t want to be in contact with any chemicals during pregnancy, opt for non-chemical or natural dyes because they are of course, the best option.
3. Pregnant women should avoid taking baths.
There is no truth to this myth whatsoever; however pregnant women are strongly advised to avoid taking hot baths and saunas. During pregnancy, expecting women are advised to stay away from activities that would raise their core temperature to more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Prolonged overheating for at least 10 minutes is unsafe for the baby and when it happens during the first trimester, it may lead to neural tube defects. In the latter part of pregnancy, overheating can easily lead to dehydration.
4. Air travel during pregnancy is not safe.
Air travel is deemed safe for leisure flyers. However, you need to consult your health care provider if your work involves frequent flying because repeated exposure to radiation due to high altitude flying may no longer be safe for your baby. The other concern with flying is also the overall safety of a pregnant woman and her baby. In uncomplicated pregnancies, flying is safe especially during the second trimester. But flying is no longer allowed after the 36th week of pregnancy because in the event of early delivery, medical care is not immediately available. Likewise, expecting moms who are at risk for premature labor and those with blood pressure issues are not allowed to fly. Women with sickle cell disease, uncontrolled diabetes, and placental abnormalities are also not allowed to travel by plane. For your safety, get your doctor’s approval before making any travel plans.
5. Standing for long periods of time can lead to prematurity.
Studies have shown that prolonged standing can increase the risk of preterm birth. When standing, circulation in the lower extremities is compromised and it can potentially hamper the delivery of nutrients to the baby. For this very reason, expectant moms are advised to take rest periods — ideally after every 4 hours of prolonged standing. If your job requires that you stay in a certain position for a long period of time, make sure that you shift positions and take breaks at intervals.
For as long as pregnancy hazards are there, these myths will continue to exist. But pregnancy lasts only a mere nine months, so take the time to enjoy every minute of it and stop worrying. Learn to trust your instincts and work closely with your doctor to ensure that you have a healthy and stress-free pregnancy.