Don’t Give Up Your Coffee Just Yet: Debunking Pregnancy Myths
From having to eat for two to being told to rest and not exercise, women are flooded with outside opinions and advice when they get pregnant.
FIT spoke to Dr Ranjana Sharma, Senior Consultant of Gynaecology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals in Delhi to clear the air. “There are a lot of baseless myths around. For example, people say don’t eat certain fruits or vegetables when pregnant but that is just not true. You should eat vegetables before pregnancy too, even when trying to get pregnant,” she said.
She adds, “There is a myth about avoiding Chinese food, but again, there is no problem as long as you keep an eye out for the MSG quantity.”
Common Myths About Pregnancy
So for example, can you have sex while pregnant? YES! In an earlier article, FIT debunked this notion, adding that gynecologists have cleared this idea.
To separate the fact from fiction, here is the truth behind some pregnancy myths:
Myth 1: Drinking Coffee is a Complete No!
For most people, coffee is almost essential to function. So when this myth is around, it’s a bitter goodbye for many pregnant women.
But it’s not that simple.
According to Sarah Schenker, a dietitian on BabyCenter UK, coffee under 200 mg is absolutely fine. But it’s not just coffee, any drink with caffeine including green tea and sodas, should be monitored.
Dr Ranjana Sharma told FIT, “Coffee or tea twice a day is fine. Having too much should be avoided, but this doesn't mean that you have to stop drinking it altogether!”
However, that there is a low risk that drinking a lot of coffee during your pregnancy can cause a miscarriage.
But speaking to WebMD, Gene Burkett, professor of obstetrics and gynecology in Miami said, "Frankly, there is no credible data that says drinking a cup of coffee a day increases the risk of miscarriage. That effect is only seen after more than two cups per day."
NHS UK also adds that too much caffeine might result in a baby with low birth weight which could add to health complications.
Myth 2: You Can’t Exercise
You may have heard people telling you to take it easy during your pregnancy. But to the contrary, regular exercise can help you feel better and help with the entire pregnancy.
Dr Ranjana Sharma says, “ You should be active during your pregnancy. Of course with enough rest, 8-10 hours of sleep at night and 2-3 hours relaxation in the afternoon.”
“You are okay to continue with your job too!” she adds. “But you must watch what you eat and have frequent small meals every two hours.”
Exercising while pregnant can help with the discomfort and back pain, but you should follow a regime comfortable to you.
Myth 3: You Should Avoid Seafood
According to Mayo Clinic, this one is complicated.
You can eat fish, with some caveats: certain seafood is a great source of protein and nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids aid your baby’s brain development, but some fish like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish have high mercury levels which can be harmful for pregnant women.
Uncooked fish should be avoided, although the NHS reported that it is usually safe to eat sushi but you should check the fish it is made from and if it was frozen (which is important).
Dr Sharma adds, “Processed food is not a good idea, and fresh food is always better. So avoid uncooked or half-cooked meats (like barbecue meats). But it is important to have a healthy, balanced diet with everything. Don’t skip any part!”
“There are the same dangers in vegetarian food as there are in non-vegetarian food – worries about pollution and where it is grown etc. If you think the food is contaminated, don’t risk it,” she says.
Myth 4: Stay Away From Your Cat
This is a cruel one if you’re a cat lover.
The facts? Cat litter and excreta are harmful for you when pregnant. According to the NHS, these contain a parasite that cause toxoplasmosis infection, which while rare, can cause harm to your baby and result in a potential miscarriage or still birth.
The New York Times adds that this doesn't mean you have to give up your pet – just stay clear of the litter box. Plus, BabyCenter UK adds that if you have a cat, you may have caught this typically harmful parasite before (while not pregnant) and be immune to it.
Myth 5: You Can’t Dye Your Hair
This one has plagued many a pregnant woman wanting to update her hairstyle. According to doctors surveyed by Huffington Post, the chemicals in your dye are of no harm to you - so go ahead and colour your hair!
If you have not had an allergic reaction dying your hair when you were not pregnant, there should be no problem during pregnancy too.
Dr Sharma says, “There is no logic behind this. Dying, bleaching is all okay!”
Speaking to Huffington Post, Dr Angela Lamb, director of a dermatology practice in New York City said, “It just does not stay in contact with your skin long enough to absorb into the blood stream in a way that is harmful to a growing fetus.”
If you are still worried, doctors have suggested alternatives to like chemical-free vegetable dyes like henna or only dying a portion of the hair.
Myth 6: You Should Not Have Hot Baths While Pregnant
According to TIME, this is true.
So no saunas and jacuzzis during your pregnancy, but a lukewarm shower is fine. BabyCenter UK added that as long as you don’t sweat or turn red, the temperature is fine.
A warm bath always helps relax your muscles, and you can test it out with your elbow which one of the most sensitive parts of your body.
Also Read : Busted: Most Common Myths Around Sleep