Parents in Action: Pregnancy myths

Since the dawn of time, moms-to-be have tried to safe guard their unborn babies by practicing strange habits and old wives tales passed down to them by their own mothers and friends. From applying excessive amounts of cocoa butter to avoid stretch marks to predicting the baby's sex by the position of the womb, pregnancy myths seem to grow stronger with time (even though there's no evidence supporting them). So which urban legends stand some ground and which don't?

Firstly, it's good to understand that most pregnancy myths are based in fear. Fear that certain foods, actions or something will harm your baby. Although each pregnancy is different, here are some myths that you might've heard that don't stand up.

MYTH – You'll need to completely change the way you eat.
TRUTH - Some of the more outlandish myths surrounding pregnancy involve what moms-to-be should and shouldn't eat. It's been said that expectant moms should avoid cheese, coffee and seafood but according to, this is false. Dr. Stuart Fischbein, coauthor of Fearless Pregnancy, suggests that what was good for you before you got pregnant will be fine once you achieve pregnancy. The most important element is eating a well-balanced, vitamin-rich diet that will help baby get the nutrients she needs. Recent studies have also shown a way to counteract the childhood obesity epidemic is by making sure expectant moms are eating a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables. "The research clearly shows that if mothers eat a lot of fruit during lactation and pregnancy, then their child will be much more open to eating fruit during weaning," said researcher Dr. Julie Mennella. "The same goes with vegetables."

Another big myth is that you're eating for two when you pregnant. This is also false. According to Denise Gershwin, a certified nurse-midwife, being pregnant is not an excuse to overeat. During the nine months you'll want to add about 300 additional calories-per-day, says Gershwin.

MYTH – Expectant moms should avoid exercise.
TRUTH - Just because your pregnant doesn't mean you have to stop exercising and become a hermit. For most moms exercise is recommended to help keep joints and muscles limber in the earlier part of pregnancy. Because during pregnancy your heart rate is higher, it's important to warm up and cool down after your exercise routine. Of course, make sure to stay hydrated, especially since you're carrying.

As your pregnancy continues you'll want to avoid certain activities like laying on your back for extended periods of time. This can cause the flow of blood to decrease to your brain and uterus. Most importantly, don't over do it.

MYTH – Some chemicals, including hair dye, are safe during pregnancy.
TRUTH – Chemicals, whether in clothes, cleaning fluid or cosmetics, can all be absorbed through contact even for short periods of time. The Environmental Working Group suggests moms-to-be should cut out all non-essential personal care products, replacing them with fragrance-free ones. They also suggest washing all maternity close before being worn as they are often coated in the factory with chemical treatments. You should also avoid using harsh chemical cleaners, pumping gas or remodeling your home while pregnant. For a full list of safe personal care and cleaning products, visit

Remember, before trying anything during pregnancy it's always best consult your doctor on what the healthiest course of action for you.


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