Pregnant women are prime targets for well-meaning "advice". Doesn't matter if it's her first or fifth child, someone always knows something she doesn't, or knows something better. Do this, don't do that, eat this, stay away from that. Suddenly every single person is a freaking pregnancy and childbirth expert! They want to share what they did, and what their moms did, and their mom's moms. Now, some of the advice given to pregnant women is really good. It can be especially helpful for first-time moms! Some of the best advice we got during our pregnancies came from friends and strangers, not a book or our doctor. Little things like how to use a pregnancy pillow to get comfy or how to make an icicle pad for relief after childbirth. But some of the advice, like pregnancy myths, can be ... interesting.
Pregnancy myths have followed women for centuries, passed down from generation to generation. A lot of them are, quite frankly, pretty silly. Don't let a cat in the nursery because they'll smother the baby. If you have bad skin during pregnancy, it means you're having a girl. Who DOESN'T have bad skin during pregnancy?! Seriously, some of the "advice" dispensed in the form of pregnancy myths is laughable. But not all of them should be discounted completely. Some of these myths have a grain of truth to them, and if you squint at it, can actually be pretty useful.
OK, let's just get this out of the way: no, it's not because of the phallic-nature of bananas. Don't worry, our minds went there first, too. There's an old wive's tale that says if you want a girl, to avoid eating bananas. If you want a boy, eat lots of bananas prior to conception. It's sounds ... bananas (HE-YO!). But as it turns out, there's actually some science to back it up! A 2008 study found that 56% women who ate more calories prior to getting pregnant had boys. But it's not just the calories - specific nutrients seem to influence how those chromosomes develop. Women who ate diets that were high in potassium were more likely to have a boy than a girl. So if you've got girl dreams, stay away from those bananas, just in case.
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This is one of those pregnancy myths that probably shouldn't be taken literally. But the general message of it is kind of true. Taking a bath during pregnancy can be very relaxing. But if the bath water is too hot, you could actually do some serious damage to yourself and your unborn child. Avoid water that's hot enough to raise your body temperature to 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 10 minutes. It can cause a drop in your blood pressure, which can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients and increase the risk of miscarriage. Too hot bath water can also increase the risk of birth defects, especially in the first trimester.
We'll admit that this is one of the pregnancy myths that cracks us up. First of all, we've never met a pregnant woman who didn't have heartburn. And they had babies that ranged from totally bald to born with a bouffant. It's also pretty gross, when you think about it. Because it's hard not to imagine that actual hair is causing your heartburn. But while this one isn't totally true, it definitely falls into the grain of truth category. Heartburn doesn't cause hair growth, and your baby's full head of hair didn't cause your heartburn, exactly. But the same pregnancy hormone that contributes to hair growth in the womb ALSO relaxes the muscles that keep stomach acid contained in the stomach.
When you're trying to conceive, you'll try pretty much anything. And we'd venture a guess that most of us tried this hip trick. We all have children, so it could have worked, who knows! The idea is that propping your hips up after sex helps the sperm travel in the right direction. And, according to natural infertility expert Kristen Burris, L.Ac., M.S.T.O.M., it actually works! Burris says, "Propping your hips up after intercourse [helps] the sperm travel in the right direction. Placing a few pillows under your hips can be just the extra boost those swimmers need. No more than half an hour is necessary and propping your feet up against the wall of your headboard can give added support."
This one is also true! OK, maybe the choking thing. But laying on your back, especially in late pregnancy when your belly is heavier, can constrict the blood flow from the vena cava vein. This is the main vein that carries blood back to your heart from your lower body. It also supplies blood to the baby. When you sleep on your back, the full weight of your uterus can push down on your intestines and your vena cava. Sleeping on your back for short spurts of time likely won't do any harm, but pregnant women are advised to avoid sleeping on their back as much as possible in the first trimester, and avoid it completely in their second and third trimesters.