Busting 10 Common Pregnancy Myths
As an expecting parent, chances are you’ve already been bombarded with unsolicited advice about your pregnancy.
And — regardless of whether that advice came from the parenting “expert” you scrolled past on Instagram or your neighbor down the street — it can be hard to separate fact from fiction.
At ParentEducate.com, we’re dedicated to making it easier for parents like you to get the research-based answers you need to easily and confidently navigate parenthood.
That’s why we’re tackling these 10 common pregnancy myths — and sharing what you actually need to know about your pregnancy.
- You shouldn’t exercise while pregnant.
Despite common misconceptions, pregnancy can actually be a great time to get active. In fact, regular exercise during pregnancy has been shown to have a number of positive health outcomes, including:
- Reduced backaches and bloating.
- Improved mood and energy levels.
- Improved sleep.
- Lowered risk of gestational diabetes.
If you’re ready to get moving during your pregnancy, make sure to clear it with your doctor first (there are some preexisting conditions that might affect their decision). Once you’ve gotten the OK, check out our exercise blog to see what types of activities that are best during pregnancy.
- You should give up coffee until the baby is born.
While it’s true that you should limit your caffeine intake while pregnant, you don’t have to completely give it up cold turkey. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, moderate consumption (less than 200 mg per day) doesn’t contribute to preterm births or miscarriages as the caffeine pregnancy myths states. So, if you feel yourself in need of a cup of joe here and there, just make sure you’re limiting your overall intake.
- Morning sickness only happens in the morning.
Morning sickness is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, with 70-80% of individuals experiencing it to some extent. Yet, despite the name, only 2% of the pregnant population experience symptoms only in the morning. Instead, most people will find themselves fighting off bouts of nausea and vomiting throughout the day.
Another common misconception about morning sickness? While most experience it during their first trimester, some parents can expect to continue experiencing symptoms all the way up to birth.
- You need to eat enough for two.
“You’re eating for two, so eat up!” It’s one of the most common pregnancy myths you’ve likely heard countless times, and one that can have dangerous consequences for those who follow it to the tee. Instead, you should adjust your diet based on where you are in your pregnancy. The common recommendations are:
- First Trimester: Don’t worry about increasing your daily calorie intake. Instead, just make sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet, drinking plenty of liquids and taking any prenatal vitamins.
- Second Trimester: During this period of your pregnancy, try to increase your daily intake by 340 calories.
- Third Trimester: To help support your growing baby, up your daily intake by 450 calories (110 more than the previous period).
- Dying your hair can harm the baby.
Good news for all those salon-loving parents-to-be: Permanent color, semi-permanent color and temporary color are all deemed safe for use during pregnancy! However, because all hair dyes contain toxins, there are some precautions you should take before using them, including:
- Waiting until your second trimester.
- Following the timing instructions listed on your hair dye.
- Ensuring any dyeing takes place in a well-ventilated area.
- Rinsing your scalp thoroughly after dyeing.
- Wearing gloves during the dyeing process.
- You shouldn’t eat seafood while pregnant.
According to the FDA and the EPA, this is one of the bigger pregnancy myths that couldn't be farther from the truth. In fact, rather than advising pregnant individuals to stray away from seafood, both agencies have come out with strong recommendations for eating it. That’s because fish can provide developing babies with key nutrients for brain development like omega-3 and omega-6 fats, iron, iodine and choline. These nutrients can also help develop your little one’s spinal cord and immune system.
If you’re planning to eat fish during your pregnancy, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends it be between 8 and 12 ounces per week and that you choose seafood with lower mercury levels (such as salmon, mullet or tilapia).
- This magic formula will prevent stretch marks.
Up until recently, products like cocoa butter were recommended by doctors, dermatologists and midwives to help prevent stretch marks. However, researchers have found that most products make little to no difference in the prevention of marks.
- Be prepared for weird cravings.
We’ve all heard about pregnancy cravings and how wild they can get — but the idea that everyone will experience crazy hankerings just isn’t true. That’s because most cravings are caused by hormonal changes in your body or sharp dips and peaks in blood sugar levels — two things that vary greatly from person to person. So, if you aren’t craving sugary or fatty foods during your pregnancy, don’t fret (in fact, consider yourself lucky!).
- You should always sleep on your left side.
While it is true that you should sleep on your side while pregnant, there aren’t any additional dangers when sleeping on your right side versus your left. This myth stems from the idea that sleeping on your left side allows for better blood flow and takes the pressure off your liver and kidneys. While that is true, there aren’t any adverse reactions if you choose to sleep facing the other direction.
- Spicy foods can cause blindness.
Perhaps one of the oldest pregnancy myths is that eating spicy food during pregnancy can have negative effects on your baby, including blindness or miscarriage. Thankfully, there isn’t any science to back up these claims. In fact, experts agree that the only danger posed by spicy foods is heartburn.
Want to find the answers to more of your parenting questions or more answers to pregnancy myths? Our online courses can help! Visit ParentEducate.com to explore our 100+ research-based courses — and access them all for free with a seven-day trial.