10 Pregnancy Myths Put to the Test

From the moment you tell your family and friends you’re pregnant, you can expect to hear every silly pregnancy myth under the sun.

Want to determine the sex of your baby? Hold a necklace over your belly. If it swings back and forth like a pendulum, it’s a boy. If it circles, it’s a girl. Do you have a lot of heartburn? Well then, your little bundle of joy should also have a full head of hair.

Those myths are (rightfully) planted in the silly category, but there are some pregnancy myths that carry medical consequences if believed or doubted.

WebMD debunked the following 10 pregnancy myths to help women navigate through the waves of over-information that comes along with being pregnant.

Pregnant women must take special supplements

This one is true. Women should consume a vitamin D supplement while pregnant and breastfeeding and 400 micrograms of folic acid before pregnancy and through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to protect baby from spinal cord defects.

Pregnant women cannot eat peanuts

This one is false. Though peanut allergies are prevalent in schools, women are safe to consume peanuts while trying to conceive and during pregnancy as long as she herself is not allergic to peanuts.

“Pregnancy brain”

This is a highly-debated topic. Do pregnant women truly become more forgetful? WebMD says yes, but that it may be more of a correlation than a causation.

Scientists at Australia’s University of New South Wales report that pregnant women undergo memory problems, for example, finding it harder to remember new phone numbers. Many women still suffer from memory problems up to a year after the birth. Researchers don’t know why this happens, but suspect that lack of sleep plays a role.

Pregnant women should give up coffee

Many a pregnant woman gets judged in the line at Starbucks for enjoying her morning coffee, but it is, in fact, okay to do so … in moderation. While too much caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage, women can consume up to 200mg of caffeine per day.

Pregnant women can double portions

Unfortunately, ladies, this one is false. While it is true in theory that pregnant women are “eating for two,” the recommended calorie increase to sustain a pregnancy is 300–400 calories.

Pregnant women must avoid exercise

As long as an expected mother was active pre-pregnancy and is low-risk, she can continue with her exercise routine throughout pregnancy. The key is to be sensible and work within your comfort level. If you feel like you need to stop, you should stop.

Pregnant women must avoid sex

Sex is just fine in a low-risk pregnancy, but there are circumstances in which it should be avoided, such as multiple babies, repeated miscarriages or undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.

Carrying the baby low signals a boy

This one is definitely false. The shape of a woman during pregnancy is based upon the shape and position of the baby, not the baby’s sex.

Morning sickness signals a girl

This is false, but may be rooted in (a rare) truth. Women with hyperemesis gravidarum — excessive nausea and vomiting affecting three in 1,000 women — more often carry girls.

Natural birth is best

This is false. The top priority should be for a safe labor and delivery, not going med-free. While women who give birth without medication tend to recover faster and babies are less sleep and quicker to pick up on breastfeeding, there are plenty of instances when intervention is required to keep mother and baby safe.


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