There were several myths I heard and read about pregnancy while I was pregnant. Nothing worried me like the absurdity of the myth or the fact that these myths had been passed on from generation to generation and had now become accepted as culture.
These myths were not myths to the people who adhered to them. They were beliefs, norms and standard practice, yet they had no cultural backing or scientific evidence. It was surprising to know that these myths were so ingrained in people that going contrary to them meant you were not experienced in the whole pregnancy/childbirth process.
Some of them are outlined below;
1. Swollen feet mean the baby is a boy or that you will deliver twins. I never had swollen feet throughout my entire pregnancy. Yet I gave birth to a boy.
2. Carrying heavy objects will lead to a miscarriage. I did a lot of hardwork during my pregnancy which included carrying heavy objects. The day before I was scheduled for induction, I handwashed a few cloths and carried several buckets of water. But I still had my baby.
3. Heartburns mean your baby is hairy. I had a lot of heartburn but certainly didn’t have a hairy baby. Heartburn is due to the growth of the baby and the womb pushing up against the chest.
4. Putting a thread on your baby’s head stops hiccups. Contrary to popular beliefs, putting a thread on your baby’s head does not stop hiccups. Hiccups in babies is not a cause for concern. The hiccup reflex mostly occurs due to excess air in the stomach, and actually forces the air out. It may also occur when baby overfeeds or eats too quickly.
5. Constipation means you will have difficulty in labour. This is entirely false. Constipation in pregnancy is as a result of the changes in your body and diet. Fruits and fibre rich foods can ease the pain associated with constipation.
6. Hot water must be used to shape baby’s head. It is not true that a baby’s head may deform if you don’t use hot water to shape. Quite the contrary, this action causes damage to the brain.
7. Baby’s movements, also known as quickening means there is gas moving in your belly. There is a huge difference between gas in your belly and baby movements. Make sure you are able to differentiate the two.
8. Bathing a baby only once a day will cause his body to smell bad when he grows. This is not true. Babies don’t sweat or get dirty in the same way as older people, and their skin is much more sensitive than that of adults. In fact, bathing a baby more than once a day can dry out their skin and worsen skin conditions.
9. First milk from mother right after delivery, usually called colostrum, is bad for baby. On the contrary, colostrum is very nutritious and contains high levels of antibodies, which are proteins that fight infections and bacteria.
10. Eating eggs during pregnancy will make your child a thief. I don’t know where this is from but I certainly ate eggs during pregnancy, and I haven’t sighted my son stealing anything. This is just an absurdity because eggs are a good source of protein for pregnant women and actually help in bone formation.
11. The lanugo, the thin hair found on a newborn’s skin is a sign of premature birth and is the reason why most adults have strong body smell. In fact, the lanugo disappears from the skin within a few weeks after childbirth and is seen on infants that are born full term. The lanugo serves as an anchor, protecting the newborns delicate skin from being damaged by amniotic fluid.
12. Pregnancy is exactly nine months. In reality, when you are counting one month out of the nine months to be 4 weeks, then pregnancy will last 10 months.
13. A pregnant woman must eat for two. Contrary to popular belief, overeating can be harmful to both you and your baby. You only need to consume 300 more calories per day when pregnant.
14. Dying your hair during pregnancy is harmful to the baby. Most hair dyes are organic and safe to use during pregnancy.
15. Morning sickness only happens in the morning. This is the biggest lie of the century. Nausea or morning sickness can happen at any time of the day due to hormonal changes.
16. Exercise during pregnancy is harmful to the baby. This is not true. A moderate amount of exercise is safe and effective during pregnancy. It is also a great mood booster.
17. Eating oranges makes your baby fairer. This myth is quite absurd because the complexion of a child is dependent on the Gene’s of both parents and not the food you eat.
18. Pregnant women are expected to stay home and rest throughout the 9 months. Experts believe that being active helps relieve the pain of pregnancy.
19. If you carry high it’s a girl, when it’s low, it’s a boy! Carrying high or low has little to do with the gender but rather the abdominal muscles. Taller women tend to carry low while shorter women carry high.
20. You shouldn’t have sex during pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, sex doesn’t induce labour or cause miscarriage during pregnancy. Your doctor may however advise against it if you have placenta praevia, a dilated cervix, cervical insufficiency, ruptured membranes, abnormal discharge, or if you are at the risk of premature labour.