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When you are expecting, you will come to find that everyone and their mother has a staggering "fact" or alarming statistic about pregnancy that they feel inclined to share with you. At Birthify, our mission is to provide accurate, evidence-based information so that next time Aunt Linda hits you with a "Did you know…?" or a "My friend said…." (insert ridiculous birth fact here), you will have the knowledge and confidence to say, "Wow! Thanks, aunties. I had no idea! I will look into that," as you kindly move on without losing sleep over it. Friends and family are not the only ones to worry about. The internet is full of old wives' tales and pregnancy myths. Here are some of the top pregnancy myths debunked by the Birth Coaches on the Birthify team!
Myth #1: "You Can Tell the Sex of Your Baby By…."
Ever heard of the "ring test” determining the sex of a baby? It suggests that if you hang a ring (usually a wedding ring) on a piece of string and have someone hover it above your pregnant belly, you can figure out the sex of your baby. If the ring sways back and forth in a straight line, it's a girl, and if the ring goes in a circle, it's a boy. Although this Ouija board approach is fun, it is not rooted in any factual evidence whatsoever. Another common myth is that you can tell if the baby is a boy or a girl based on where the baby appears to be sitting in the belly. Again, very subjective and simply untrue.
The Truth: The soonest you can know the sex of your baby is 11 weeks by taking a Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT). A NIPT looks at DNA from your baby's placenta to see if you are at increased risk of giving birth to a child with a genetic disorder. It also reveals the sex of the baby. However, this test is usually only covered by insurance if your pregnancy is considered high-risk.
As for the baby's positioning relating to their sex, what is true is if this is your first pregnancy or if you have strong core muscles, you might carry your baby higher since the abdominal wall musculature may be tighter. However, if this isn't your first child, your abdominal wall may have stretched, so your bump might sit lower. Sorry to say there is no way to know the sex of your baby by just looking at your growing baby bump, and typically speaking, you will be able to find out the sex of your baby aaround 18 weeks when many people choose to have an anatomy scan or ultrasound.
Myth #2: You Can't Exercise
This is simply not true, and if you don't believe us, believe this: Your body is about to do one of the most incredible things a human body can do. You're holding life inside of you, and you're going to try and tell us you can't safely handle a light jog or hike with your friends?
The Truth: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant people aim for 30 minutes of doctor-approved physical activity 5 days a week. That said, some adjustments need to be made to your workout routine when you are pregnant.
Benefits of Working Out While Pregnant:
Strengthens ligaments and joints
Creates more stamina for childbirth experience
Low impact exercise like walking, indoor cycling, resistance band stretches, gentle stretching, yoga, pilates, water aerobics, and swimming.
Join prenatal exercise classes
Have supportive shoes.
Exercise on a softer surface (yoga mat or carpet) and consider walking on even ground or a track versus hard pavement
Play contact sports or anything where you could get hit or fall
Traditional sit-ups and other exercises where you lie off your back
Exercise in ways that require a change in altitude
Hot yoga or outdoor activities in extreme heat
Exercise without doctor-approval, especially if you're high risk
If you feel shortness of breath, have vaginal bleeding, dizziness, headache, chest pain, or feel unwell in any way
When it comes to physical activity, what matters is how you feel. People report being extremely exhausted the first couple of months of their pregnancy, and that is perfectly fine! If you're used to exercising at high levels of intensity, you might need to change your expectations during pregnancy. Remember, your body is about to do one of the most fantastic things a body can do. We can use exercise to support that process in conjunction with rest, healthy and nutritious food intake, and loving support from your friends, family, and community.
Myth #3: You Can't Fly During Pregnancy
This is another precaution that got wildly blown out of proportion. Yes, people can go on vacation during pregnancy and honestly -- they should! A “babymoon” is one of the best ways to squeeze in some R&R before you give birth. That said, there are some things to consider when flying while pregnant.
The Truth: Pregnant people are more inclined to develop blood clots while flying, and those chances increase the longer you stay seated. It's also true the likelihood of developing a blood clot goes up if you are dehydrated. Before hopping on a plane, make sure you drink enough water! Ensure you are getting electrolytes in, too. Coconut water is a perfect and delicious way to do that. Consider wearing maternity compression leggings or tighter yoga pants on the plane to help prevent blood clots. Lastly, walk up and down the aisles of the plane every hour or so. This will help keep the blood flowing in a normal way.
Myth #4: Your Baby Knows You're Having Sex!
Oh, this one is so wrong, it hurts! Let's have a little anatomy lesson, shall we? The baby is floating inside a pool of water surrounded by muscle, which is known as the uterus. The uterus is a thick soundproof cocoon of coziness, and there is no chance your baby can see, hear, or feel you and your partner having sex.
The Truth: Sex during pregnancy is actually great for both you and baby! It can help you sleep better, lower blood pressure, and release endorphins.
Myth #5: You'll Have Weird Cravings
Sometimes in pregnancy, people may develop food aversions meaning they are no longer interested in foods that they used to enjoy prior to becoming pregnant. And you have probably heard the jokes about folks wanting pickles and ice cream in pregnancy.
The Truth: Hormonal changes and blood sugar spikes can cause certain cravings, but it is absolutely untrue that all pregnant women experience this. Hormones vary from person to person, meaning you might get cravings or you might not. The takeaway here is that it is not a sign of a healthy pregnancy if you do or don't experience this. If you crave inedible things like dirt, mud, plaster, soap, baking soda, coffee grounds, cigarette ashes, charcoal, or anything else inedible, call your doctor or contact your Birth Coach immediately. This is known as pica and can be a sign of severe anemia.
Myth #6: You Will "Glow"
Since forever, it seems pregnancy has been associated with some type of "glow," and that is why all your friends knew you were pregnant -- because you were just BEAMING! Some women experience the glow, and some do not. Just know that if you aren't looking or feeling like you just got back from a five-week vacation in Hawaii, there is nothing wrong with you!
The Truth: "The glow" we often hear about once again can be attributed to hormonal changes and can sometimes make your hair and nails look thicker and healthier, as well as leave your skin dewy and soft. But, if you remember puberty, you remember hormones work in the opposite direction, too! If you have a preexisting skin condition, it's possible the hormonal shifts related to your pregnancy might trigger eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. Some people experience hot flashes and heat rashes due to shifting levels of estrogen and progesterone. Your skin may appear to be glowing due to the increased oil secretion (again, thanks to those hormones!), but with that might come a wave of acne. Be sure to maintain your morning and evening face washing routines. All these hormone shifts are most common in the first couple of months, so breath and relax. Brighter days are ahead!
There are hundreds -- if not thousands -- of myths out there to be aware of! Some are silly and witchy, like the ring test, but some could inhibit you from living a full life during your pregnancy. At Birthify, we encourage you to ask questions and reach out for help. Knowledge is power, and the coaches at Birthify are trained professionals armed with a wealth of experience, ready and willing to support you through your pregnancy.
Book a Birthify Coach today!
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