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Pregnancies Biggest Myths
As every woman who has ever been pregnant can attest, there are a lot of old wives’ tales out there regarding pregnancy. While some myths are quite amusing, others prompt unnecessary worry or even cause actual health complications for mum and baby. If you’re being inundated with tips, myths and superstitions from people about your pregnancy, and you’re not sure what is right and what is wrong, read on to discover the common myths that you shouldn’t believe.
Myth: You’re Eating for Two
Yes, technically you’re eating for two, but your maternity diet certainly shouldn’t involve taking in double the calories. On average, women with a normal pre-pregnancy weight only need an extra 300 calories per day to promote good growth for their baby. To put it into perspective, that’s roughly a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich. If you had a healthy weight before pregnancy, then you should aim to gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. Gaining too much weight could actually put you and your baby at risk of health complications.
Myth: Don’t Dye Your Hair
Prior to the 1980’s this might have been true, but it’s not anymore. Nowadays, chemicals in hair dye, permanents and relaxers are less toxic than they used to be. Of course, the chemicals are still absorbed through the skin in minimal amounts, so if you’re worried you could at least skip the hair treatments until after the first trimester. One thing that you’ll definitely have to watch out for, however, is the nauseous feeling you may get from the strong odours of hair treatment products!
Myth: Say No to Caffeine
Many women are told to give up caffeine during their pregnancy because it might cause miscarriage, preterm birth, or low birth weight though the cases against this actually aren’t that strong. If a woman drinks less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day (or about one 12-ounce cup), then there is no evidence that she would be at a higher risk of these complications. So go ahead and enjoy your cuppa – just keep it to a minimum.
Myth: Don’t Eat Any Fish
Fish contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which help with your baby’s brain development and vision, so eating two servings of fish every week can actually be very beneficial. Of course, you should steer clear of fish that contain naturally high amounts of mercury such as swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel. Eating fish that has been frozen and then cooked is also far less likely to contain harmful parasites and bacteria than raw fresh fish as well. To get all the benefits but none of the potential harmful side effects, go for organic varieties such as salmon, shrimp and light canned tuna.
Myth: Avoid Swimming While Pregnant
There are two sides to this myth. The first is that there is a fear that women will contract an infection from swimming, which could harm the baby. The only time this could ever happen is if the pregnant mother loses the mucus plug that protects her baby. The second is the idea that the baby will somehow drown if the mother submerges herself in water above the waist, which isn’t actually possible. The only time you shouldn’t swim is when the water is over 40°C. Other than that, women are encouraged to get a comfortable maternity swimwear and get in the water to relieve some of the stress of carrying around extra baby weight.