Pregnancy Myths

From the day people come to know about your pregnancy you will be bombarded with well meaning – but confusing and always conflicting advice from friends, family, the annoying neighbors and that complete stranger when you are in departmental store. To add to that, we Indians have a special inclination for both speculation and superstition. "Hmmm, your tummy has not gotten that large, so...", "Your face is glowing, you will definitely have a..." -- the list of myths is endless.We will make your life a bit easier as we go on to break down the wall of superstition and facts so that you can enjoy a safe and enjoyable pregnancy.

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While pregnancy is definitely time to abandon risky activities, doing light regular exercises caries more benefit than risks. Researchers have found that women who stay active tend to have short labours, regain their pre-pregnancy shape, have less chance of postnatal depression and sleep better than those who don’t exercise. However you should also know that pregnancy is time for maintaining your fitness routine and not taking up a new sport. Specialists believe Aerobic exercise (the kind that leaves you slightly out of breath) will keep your heart and lungs healthy. Brisk walking in the morning can make huge difference too.

According to fitness experts, light swimming is a perfect antenatal exercise. The body joints that usually soften during pregnancy are supported and the water will keep you cool.

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You are eating for two, okay, but do understand the other person you are eating for is too small – so unfortunately being pregnant will not give you the excuse to double your calorie intake. As a guide you are looking at between an extra 200 and 300 calories a day. Overeating and wrong food can lead to complications such as gestational diabetes and excessive weight gain, both of which can be harmful and make labour more difficult. Consequently, eating well – rather than calorie counting- is the key during your pregnancy and means ensuring you eat good quality- protein (eggs, meat, fish, beans, and pulses). You should be also eating lots of vegetables and carbohydrates (unrefined) like brown bread, rice etc. Good snacks include fruit, nuts (avoid peanuts), seeds, oatcakes/biscuits etc.

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Your mother or mother-in-law probably says, " Ghee provides lubrication, therefore you must have lots of ghee to ensure a normal delivery." While the medicinal value of ghee cannot be discounted, it is definitely not the elixir it is touted to be in this case. No one can predict a normal delivery, not even doctors. Eating lots of ghee (clarified butter) does not ensure normal delivery. A pregnant woman should eat a normal healthy diet and should have a positive mindset while going in for the delivery. Even relatives should boost her confidence, and not pressurize her with regard to a normal delivery.

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No aspect of pregnancy is more fraught with old wives' tales than guessing the gender of the baby. The most common myth is that boys make neat little bumps while baby girls cause the weight to spread more evenly around your abdomen – something that could seem plausible. But ideas like predicting baby's sex by dangling a wedding ring over your belly and seeing which way it swings ( Hum Saath Saath Hain remember?) are surely the traditional folklores . While these urban legends can be a fun way for others to get involved with your pregnancy, there's a danger they can distract from medical problems. And theories like light bleeding during pregnancy would indicate a boy while extreme morning sickness would signify that you are carrying a girl are nowhere proven. While bleeding during pregnancy is common but it's always safe to check out with your doctor. Even scans aren't 100% accurate; the only way to be sure about your baby's sex is only when you meet your baby.

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You can avoid backache with some simple changes. First, pay attention to your posture, don't arch your back by pulling your shoulders back but not your abdomen. Don't wear shoes with any heel height, it will force you to arch your back which puts pressure on the lower back. Try pelvic rocking to give your back a break, and squat throughout the day to stretch the muscles of your back. 

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A normal fetal heart rate is between 110 and 160 beats per minute (bpm), although some people think if it's faster (usually above the 140 bpm range) it's a girl and if it's slower it's a boy. However, there is no evidence or statistical proof to support this theory. Your baby's heart rate will probably differ from one prenatal visit to the other anyway - depending on the age of the fetus and activity level at the time of the visit. Moreover, stress-related changes in a pregnant woman's heart rate and blood pressure, along with chronic anxiety, can affect the heart rate of her developing fetus.

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Hmmm…!! Not true. Making love will not hurt your baby or your partner. In fact experts encourage lovemaking during pregnancy. It will also help strengthen the bond with your partner, which you will both appreciate when the baby arrives. However there are a few medical conditions where sex is not advised. Read more.

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Again a folklore that you're not to take baths because germs could get into your vagina and be passed to the baby. This is not entirely true. When everything aches, it can be tempting to sit under a steaming hot shower or relax in a tub. Baths are great source of relaxation and very good for pregnant women. The problem is more if the temperature is higher than the actual bath. Ensure to avoid water that is too hot or temperatures above 100 degrees F. These can cause your body temperature to rise, and this can cause problems for a developing baby, particularly in the first trimester. Overheating can increase the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida, staying too long under hot water may increase the risk of dehydration and dizziness for the pregnant woman. But your baby is definitely not in danger of getting germs from bathing as the baby remains protected by the amniotic sac and the mucous plug.

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Tell this to thousands of women who are now with their second child, while the older one is hardly a year of age, or less! Hence it is always advisable to use some contraception to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Breastfeeding is reliable only upto a certain period, about one-and-a-half months after the delivery. However, a woman can get pregnant even without getting the first menstrual cycle post-delivery, i.e in lactational amenorrhea. There are many simple methods available for contraception. Choose the right one for yourself.