Pregnancy is a golden phase of a woman’s life. During this wonderful period the expectant woman gets the maximum attention from her husband, relatives and friends. Everyone around makes every possible effort to make her feel special and well-cared after and they have their own list of do’s and don’ts.
Since times immemorial, across nations and generations, there have been many myths prevalent regarding pregnancy. Some myths have a valid scientific explanation while some are sheer hearsay.
Top 15 Indian Myths On Pregnancy
- Myth No: 1- Shape of the stomach and Fetal heart rate indicate the gender of the baby
One of the most famous beliefs is that the elevation and the shape of the mother-to-be stomach can indicate about the gender of the newborn. According to the conventional belief, if the stomach of the pregnant mother carrying the newborn is ‘low’, then it must be a boy and if her stomach is carrying the newborn elevated ‘high’, it must be a baby girl. There is also some myth on the fetal heart rate which states if the baby’s heart rate is fast, it would be a girl child and a slow heart rate is suggestive of baby boy.
Fact: However, there is no scientific explanation to these widely popular notions. According to doctors the elevation of stomach is largely determined by a woman’s muscle tone, strength of muscles of the abdomen, number of childbirths, uterine musculature and position of baby. The heart rate of the fetus varies throughout the pregnancy and is dependent upon the health and age of the growing fetus in the mother’s womb
- Myth No: 2- Eating For Two : Diet should be doubled during pregnancy or commonly, eat for two
Fact: A pregnant women needs 300 extra calories per day so it implies that you should eat about one and a fifth. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy only increases the chances of complications. Increase vitamin and protein intake and eat a healthy nutritious diet to get all the vital nutrients
- Myth No: 3-An occasional glass of wine does not hurt
Some people are of the opinion that an occasional glass of wine or alcohol does not necessarily harm the baby in anyway and is safe.
Fact: Alcohol or wine are never recommended by the doctor – as there have been no studies proving the “safe limits” of wine or
alcohol. Infact, if you do consume alcohol, you are putting your baby at an increased risk of SIDS and ADHD problems
- Myth No: 4- Keep it a secret – Hush up for atleast 3 months
Another very common myth is that the pregnant mother should strictly keep the news of her conception a top secret from everyone for initial few months.
Fact: This is sheer unreasonable and absolutely absurd. Obviously there is no scientific reason for it. Hello?? Why cannot a pregnant woman share her happiness with the people she loves?
- Myth No: 5-Not to put arms around your head
Some women are told to avoid putting arms across their head as it can cause strangulation of baby’s umbilical cord.
Fact: This is absolutely wrong notion and has no scientific study in support. Many babies get their umbilical cord wrapped onto their necks, but this is due to baby’s movements. A majority of these babies develop normally and are successfully delivered
- Myth No: 6- Limit your activities- Refrain from exercises
Some people may advise you to restrict your daily activities as it might affect your health. Some old wives tales recommend pregnant women to take rest and sleep and cut them off from daily activities
Fact: Well, this is again a false belief as your doctor will ask you to have light walk , some exercise and indulge in light household work. You should not sit idle all day long
- Myth No: 7- Eating some things will lead to abortion
Another common belief is that consuming some food articles such as papaya, pineapples and eggs can induce abortion.
Fact: As long as ripe fruits are consumed there is no risk of unexpected abortion, however doctors do believe that eating unripe papaya can lead to uterine contraction and consequent miscarriage. Eggs are a rich source of proteins and can be included in diet after seeking advice from your obstetrician. Green apple is also known to cause some problems
- Myth No: 8-Not to take bath
You might have heard women advising pregnant ladies not to take regular bath.
Fact: This is ridiculous. Bathing helps in keeping body clean and germ free. It is essential for maintaining proper hygiene and everyone should take bath. Pregnant women are no exception for this vital daily activity – unless there is bleeding or the water breaks. Too hot water should be avoided
- Myth No: 9- For fair complexion of babies, eat saffron or oranges
Some elders recommend drinking saffron milk or consumption of oranges during pregnancy as they believe that these food items are useful in imparting a fair complexion to the baby.
Fact: This has no significance as skin complexion is largely dependent upon your genetic inheritance. Food articles do not have any influence upon baby’s skin complexion
- Myth No: 10- If you have a heart burn your baby will have lots of hair
This is another myth prevalent among people. Heart burn is a common pregnancy symptom and is due to acid reflux. Eating spicy food can often cause heart burn.
Fact: It sounds weird and simply funny. There is no relationship between heart burn and getting more hair on baby’s scalp. Scientifically heart burn has nothing to do with your baby’s hair
- Myth No: 11- Watching a lunar eclipse can cause cleft lip in your baby
This is probably the most popular of all myths and its prevalence can be traced to the ancient times of Aztecs. The Aztecs had firm faith that the eclipse was actually a bite on the face of ‘luna’ or moon. If the expectant mother watches the lunar eclipse, then her baby will also have a cleft lip.
Fact: This is baseless and has no scientific validity. Eclipse is a natural geographic phenomenon and has got nothing to do with having cleft lip
- Myth No: 12- Pregnancy is for 9 months, so baby can be born anytime after 36 weeks
Fact: A pregnancy that lasts for 40 weeks is generally considered a healthy pregnancy. Babies born after 39 weeks of gestation are often found to be healthier than those born in the 37th or 38th week
- Myth No: 13-. No sex during pregnancy
This is another popular belief during pregnancy. Sex is considered to be harmful as it can induce miscarriage or pre-term labor.
Fact: Well you can have sex during pregnancy provided it is done in comfortable postures and without putting pressure on your tummy. The fetus is well protected in amniotic bag and is further covered by abdominal layers. Moreover your cervix is quite hard and long to avoid anything from ascending up to the uterus. Sex is therefore safe during pregnancy as long as your doctor does not advise you against the same and there is no connection between sex and labor
- Myth No: 14- Having ghee or butter in last month smoothens the delivery
It is believed that ghee, butter help in contracting the uterus and soften the cervix thus easing delivery.
Fact: Having a normal delivery depends on many factors such as the shape of mother’s pelvis, the size of the fetus and the presentation of the fetus. Though ghee forms an integral part of the Indian traditional diet, there is no harm in having ghee or butter, but the key is moderation
- Myth No: 15- You cannot avoid backache
Backache is a frequent complaint during pregnancy and it is thought that there is no cure for it.4
Fact: Well, scientifically speaking backaches can be minimized by having correct postures and by doing gentle back exercises. Try to keep your spine straight