Sat | Feb 23, 2019

7 Pregnancy Myths Debunked

Published:Sunday | January 20, 2019 | 12:00 AMLatara Boodie

Pregnancy Means Eating For Two

 

Consider this myth 100 per cent busted. Being pregnant does not mean eating for two. "This is very incorrect and a very unhealthy practice for women," said Nelson who clarified that the caloric intake in the first trimester is similar to what the woman would have when not pregnant. As the pregnancy continues only 500 extra calories is added to sustain the pregnant woman and maintain a healthy baby. "When you look at it, 500 calories extra is equivalent to one extra patty.

 

2. You cannot eat sushi during your pregnancy

 

Eating any form of raw meat is a big no no during pregnancy. "The mother is at risk of food poisoning and some of the bacteria can be passed on to the baby and cause congenital disorders," explained Nelson. Seafood with a high mercury content should be avoided because it is associated with developmental delay of the baby as well as brain problems. So unfortunately, for the sushi connoisseurs, sushi with raw fish is not recommended. However, once it is cooked or does not contain any form of raw meat, you should be OK.

 

3. Prenatal vitamins are a must

 

Prenatal vitamins are needed to make up for any nutritional deficiency the woman may experience during pregnancy. It is known that we do not eat a balanced diet on a daily basis, so prenatal vitamins help. "Most nutrients can be derived from the woman's diet, however, persons tend to fall short on the daily requirments. During pregnancy, these requirements increase steadily," he explained. Prenatal vitamins contain folic acid as well as iron. Unless you are anaemic, adding another iron supplement is not necessary. Dr Nelson also explained that a common mispractice among Jamaican women is the ingestion of cod liver oil tablets. "This is not recommended in pregnancy because it contains a high percentage of retinal which may have too much vitamin A and may be teratogenic (agent that can disturb the development of the embryo or foetus) to the baby. However, women who have been taking their daily vitamins and folic acid prior to pregnancy and maintaining a healthy diet do not have to rush to take prenatal vitamins the minute they get a positive test.

 

4. Having sex while pregnant will affect the baby

 

Sex is not associated with adverse effects on the baby. Most vaginas are able to accommodate penises of all sizes. Beyond the vagina is the cervix which can range from 3cm to 5cm long. Then there is the amniotic sac and fluid then finally the baby. Therefore, babies are pretty safe from interruption. "Patience with certain conditions such as cervical incompetence of low lying placenta are implored to be careful during sex. Apart from that, sex is pretty safe to be had during pregnancy," said Nelson.

 

5. Pregnancy always result in stretch marks, weight gain, and varicose veins

 

Every woman is different and every pregnancy is different. These effects can all boil down to genetics. No matter how much you exercise or what creams you may use, you may not be able to control how your body responds to pregnancy. "Stretch marks will occur in persons who have gained more weight than recommended during pregnancy. Normal weight gain is around 25-30 pounds. It is expected to have weight gain and this helps us to monitor the pregnancy," said Nelson. However, the more weight gained during pregnancy, the harder it is to lose after pregnancy. Breastfeeding is essential to help lose the weight because a lot of calories are needed to produce breast milk. Varicose veins are a result of the increase in hormones during pregnancy which will cause the pooling of blood in veins. Once the pregnancy has resolved, for some persons, the state of the vein will go back to normal.

 

6. Once a C-section always a C-section

 

While having a vaginal birth may not be the safest option for everyone who has experienced a C-section in the past, for many people it is. "This is definitely a myth but it is a decision that has to be individualised. There needs to be at least 18 months between their last C-section and pregnancy. The C-section has to be a lower-segment C-section. Any other type will cause the womb to be weaken and increase the risk of womb rupture," said Nelson.

 

7. You cannot perm your hair while pregnant

 

This myth is still up for grabs. "It is controversial because there have not been much study regarding the topic and there are some mixed views," stated Nelson. The scalp has pores and there is a posibility that harmful chemicals may be able to enter the body and harm the baby, especially if dyes are involved. Most persons tend to stay on the safe side and avoid the use of chemicals.