10 Pregnancy Old Wives’ Tales: Fact Or Fiction?
Have you heard some of these common stories?
1. A round bump means you're carrying a boy
According to this well-known old wives' tale, a round bump means you're carrying a boy, while a bump that 'wraps itself around you' means you'll have a girl. In fact, the way you carry your baby and your shape depends on your height, the weight you were before pregnancy, the weight you are now and stage of pregnancy...in other words, everything but the sex of your baby!
2. You have a big bump - this means your going to have a big baby!
If you're tall and have good stomach muscles, you may not show as much as another woman at the same stage of pregnancy, even if your baby is big. If you're small, your bump may look enormous compared with the rest of your body, but this still doesn't mean that your baby is enormous. Genetically speaking, your baby is most likely to reflect your own genetic make-up, and that of your partner.
3. Now that you're pregnant, you'll probably want to eat coal!
Some mothers do have unusual cravings for food during pregnancy and for non-food items; this is called 'pica', a term derived from the Latin word for magpie, a bird that collects strange things. A woman's desire to eat unusual foods or combinations of foods may have something to do with altered taste sensations which comes about because of hormonal changes. Craving for clay, for example, has been attributed to the body's attempt to make up for nutritional shortages (clay is rich in calcium). True pica is rare, but weird cravings do exist. There have been reports of women licking the fur or scale off kettles (rich in calcium). Then there are women who have been desperate for ice-lollies dipped in mustard, or strawberry ice cream covered with prawns. If you have strange desires for certain foods, don't worry too much, as long as you eat nutritiously healthily during your pregnancy. However, do make sure that your food cravings don't interfere with you eating a nutritious, mixed diet. If you do have any worries, speak with your doctor who may want to refer you to a dietitian. She/he can check that all is well.
4. Now that you're pregnant, you'll put on stones and stones of weight
There was a time when doctors would regularly weigh a woman throughout her pregnancy. The idea was that if the mother was gaining weight, so was the baby. Now, though, experts don't pay such great attention to weight gain in pregnancy. Some women are weighed only a couple of times during their pregnancy and some women aren't weighed at all. As long as you eat to appetite and choose nutritious meals and snacks, there shouldn't be too much danger of piling on the pounds. In any case, putting on lots of weight doesn't necessarily mean you're carrying a big baby. A lot of the extra weight will be water and fat. Some fat needs to be laid down by your body as store of calories, which will be needed later for breast-feeding. But putting on too much weight too rapidly (and rapid weight loss) is causes for concern. If this happens to you, talk with your doctor or midwife as soon as you can.
5. Lose a tooth for every pregnancy
Pregnancy can make gum disease worse due to hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, but any tooth losses are purely coincidental according to dental experts. Make sure you pay extra attention to tooth and gum care and visit your dentist regularly during your pregnancy and for a full year afterwards.
6. Rubbing almond oil on your tummy will help prevent Stretchmarks
Around 50 per cent of women get stretchmarks and skin changes in pregnancy to some extent. This happens when the skin is stretched too much, too quickly, to accommodate a weight gain. In other words, the skin is not elastic enough to cope. We inherit our skin type, and it is now thought that the tendency to get stretchmarks is also inherited. So, if your mum has them, you will probably will, too.
7. You'll bloom in pregnancy
Masses of hormonal changes in pregnancy make some women look and feel absolutely wonderful, especially in the middle months of pregnancy. Lots of extra blood capillaries are produced and this helps make the skin and hair shine. But this isn't so for everyone. Spots, greasy hair and tiredness, especially early on and later in pregnancy can make you look and feel the exact opposite. So if you do bloom in pregnancy, enjoy it - and count yourself lucky!
8. You're carrying a boy if your tummy gets hairy
Interesting old wives' tale, this. It is true that your body produces more of the male hormones while you're pregnant, and this can mean that some women grow hair on their tummies. But this doesn't affect the sex of your baby.
9. You don't need contraception if you're breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can act as a partial contraceptive, as indicated by the absence of periods. But it is not an effective form of contraception and you can be fertile almost immediately after having a baby. So, if you don't plan to have another baby straight away, always use contraception. The mini- or progesterone only pill can be used while breast-feeding, or your doctor can prescribe or recommend another form of contraceptive, suitable for you. Don't rely on breast-feeding as a contraceptive.
10. Going to the toilet during the night will help with sleeping
Actually, frequent visits to the loo are another result of the huge changes in your body and because of hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy. Frequent visits to the loo later on in pregnancy can be due to the weight of your baby pressing down on your bladder, which means you have the urge to empty your bladder often. But frequent urination has nothing to do with conditioning you for when your baby arrives and for night feeding. Remember, however, that if you have pain passing urine you must consult your doctor immediately. It could be a sign that you have a urine infection that needs medical treatment.