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Published on November 24, 2020

Four Pregnancy Myths Debunked

It’s not unusual for expecting parents to study self-help books and consult the experience of family members during their first pregnancy. However, this can often cause parents to second-guess their intuition and find themselves caught in pregnancy’s many “old wives’ tales.”

We unpack the most common misconceptions in pregnancy and the importance of listening to your body.

Myth: Women shouldn’t have sex in the third trimester

Truth: For the majority of women, sex is safe at any point in their pregnancy. Sex may not be recommended during pregnancy under certain circumstances like preterm labor or placenta previa, a condition where the placenta lies low in the uterus and partially or completely covers the cervix. Your provider can make this recommendation based on an ultrasound.

Myth: Spicy foods are dangerous during pregnancy

Truth: Women can safely eat spicy foods during pregnancy. These foods may make symptoms of morning sickness and heartburn during the first trimester worse, but there will be no harm to the baby.

Women are encouraged to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables and good sources of fiber and protein. Drinking enough water to stay hydrated is also very important. Good nutrition and a prenatal vitamin will ensure the right amount of vitamins and minerals for a healthy mom and baby. They should also be sure to avoid alcohol, raw seafood, fish high in mercury and unpasteurized dairy products like raw milk and some soft cheeses. 

Myth: Any amount of caffeine is dangerous for your baby

Truth: For many women, caffeine isn’t dangerous in small amounts, but it’s important to keep an eye on intake. For example, you can safely have a cup of coffee each morning. However, there is caffeine hiding in a lot of soft drinks and teas, so it’s important to pay attention to ingredient labels.

Myth: Drinking castor oil induces labor

Truth: Although many women read or hear about drinking castor oil to induce labor, it is not recommended. Castor oil has been around for thousands of years and is known to have a laxative effect. In many cases, drinking castor oil will cause gastrointestinal issues, but will not help to induce labor.

It’s important to know that inducing labor is a medical decision that is made for the safety of you and your baby. There are times when induction is medically necessary for mother or baby, but that should be done only in guidance with a healthcare provider. If labor induction is not necessary, a woman should wait for labor to start the physiological process on its own.

Every woman is unique, and she’s going to have a unique labor and birth experience. Sometimes they’re shorter, sometimes they’re longer. Movement or walking can be helpful to ease discomfort or even speed up the process, but caring support is what is most necessary.

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