Having the healthiest pregnancy ensures not just a happy baby but a happy and healthy mum. There are so many myths that linger around about how to keep healthy whilst pregnant. The moment you announce you will be overwhelmed with advice from friends, family and advice books.You want to do what’s best for you without compromising health and happiness. After the success of my post on Breastfeeding myths debunked, here are the 5 most common pregnancy myths debunked.
You find out you’re pregnant and the happiness is at your highest. However, the stress sets in along with pressure if you don’t feel the ‘pregnancy glow.’ As many as one in ten feel pressure to be happy and look glowing. Again this isn’t true, the worry of giving birth, daily worries as well the overwhelming feeling of being parents can overtake you. A lot of women just don’t enjoy physically being pregnant, and that doesn’t mean you’re less of a mother.
Myth #1: I can’t take anything whilst pregnant so I must suffer
Getting ill whilst pregnant can lead to confusion on what’s allowed to be taking. Home remedies are a great set of tips that highlight what works best and what’s not needed over the counter, especially when you have a cold or flu. Paracetamol is a great universal painkiller and can be taken in pregnancy according to the dosage instructions. There are a lot of medications you can’t take, but many you can, so seek advice from your GP or midwife if you need to take something. Vitamins and supplements are allowed and encouraged. If you find prenatal vitamin pills tough kids chewable vitamins are a great substitute. For aches and pains try a good old hot water bottle, ice packs, physiotherapy and an osteopath or chiropractor.
Myth #2: Eating for two
Eating for two is a myth that needs to be debunked. The saying eating for two isn’t necessarily true. An additional 200 calories are needed during the third trimester only, although pregnancy is tiring and can cause hunger and cravings. I was so hungry the minute I found out with all mine! Research shows having an organised kitchen leads to eating healthier. Keeping healthy snacks around the kitchen increases health and decreases tiredness. Keeping on top of the food shopping and trying to avoid going food shopping when you’re hungry or craving can help. Keeping your food healthy during pregnancy reduces your chance of developing gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. If your BMI is over 30 it can impact on your birth choices too, so try not to use pregnancy as an excuse to overeat and eat unhealthy foods that you wouldn’t normally eat.
Myth #3: I can’t exercise during pregnancy
Exercising is seen as a bad idea, many believe that working out puts additional stress on the baby. This is, in fact, false – doing simple stretches or a little burst of workouts can actually give a beneficial workout to the baby. The most popular as well as productive exercise is swimming, low impact aerobics, pregnancy and cycling. If you exercised before pregnancy, there’s no reason to stop if your pregnancy is straightforward. If you’ve had any bleeding or complications, you may be advised differently. You can carry on your normal exercise routine as long as you feel able to, right up until the birth if you like. You may need to take more fluid on board and more breaks than you’re used to but that’s it. Always inform your exercise instructor or trainer that you’re pregnant straight away. If you partake in dangerous sports you might want to rethink how you exercise. If you’d like to start exercising or you just want to stay active, take a pregnancy specific class like Aquanatal or pregnancy yoga. You’re more likely to have a successful natural birth if you keep active, it also helps prevent deep vein thrombosis and helps keep the blood flowing through the placenta and gives the baby good oxygen levels. Be sure to check with your doctor.
Myth #4: I can’t eat oily fish during pregnancy
Staying away from true sushi ie raw fish is a big no no, but most sushi has been frozen first, which kills off the potentially harmful bacteria. Be careful with shellfish and stick to it well cooked. However eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids is great for increasing intelligence and IQ levels in children. Just eating two servings of fish can increase the development of the baby’s brain as well as vision. Be sure to eat fish low in mercury such as tuna, salmon, cod, and shrimp, and no more than 3 portions of tuna per week (which is a lot for most people). For a list of all the food dos and don’ts check here.
Myth #5: If I prepare enough I can have the perfect birth
The ins and out of the perfect labour. This is the one thing women put the most pressure on themselves as to what is best for the mum and baby. How it should be natural with no interference of drugs. Everyone is different, even if you have the perfect pregnancy be prepared for things to change during labour. No matter how well prepared you and your body are for labour, things can happen beyond your control and none of it is your fault. All you can do is educate yourself, ask questions and trust in your healthcare provider.
The best thing to remember is to enjoy the 9 months before your little arrival, enjoy and relax. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and take what well meaning people say with a pinch of salt! You’ll find your own way. You’ve got this.
Disclosure: collaborative post. All opinions my own. Not intended to replace medical advice. May contain affiliate links.