Five Pregnancy Myths Busted!

Pregnancy Myths

1) You shouldn’t eat fish or sushi while pregnant

While there are some fish that are high in mercury you should avoid, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tuna and tilefish, there are many species of fish that are perfectly okay to consume. Fish that are safe (low in mercury) and healthy (high in omega-3 fatty acids) to consume include salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, trout, Atlantic or Pacific mackerel, cod and canned light tuna. Sushi is also usually safe to consume when pregnant; however, depending on the type of fish used, you should make sure that it has been frozen first to kill any parasites that might be lurking.

Pregnancy Myths

2) Your baby should be kept inside for the first months after the birth

Many people believe that babies should be kept indoors for the first few months after birth in order to protect them from the elements and to prevent them catching an infection. However, babies are just as likely to get sick inside as they would outside, particularly if you have a lot of guests (and their associated germs) coming over to see the baby. In fact, getting some fresh air is healthy for the baby as well as for you. Getting outside in the daylight can also help your baby establish his or her circadian clock. In a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, babies who slept well at night were exposed to twice as much light between midday and 4pm than the babies who slept poorly. The babies were assessed between the ages of 6 and 12 weeks.

Pregnancy Myths

3) You should avoid getting vaccinations when pregnant

Actually, this is just the opposite – particularly if you haven’t had your pertussis (whooping cough) booster recently. In addition to pertussis, during pregnancy you should also be vaccinated against the influenza virus. Many women worry that the flu vaccine will actually give them the flu or that the preservatives in the vaccine will harm the developing fetus. However, several large studies have proven this hypothesis to be false. Getting the flu vaccine reduces the risk of preterm birth, stillbirth, low birth weight, and infant death during the first weeks after birth. Another vaccine you should be up to date with is the MMR. In this case, you should be vaccinated before you get pregnant, since the MMR vaccine is not safe during pregnancy.

Pregnancy Myths

4) Caffeine is a no-no while pregnant

Many women are warned to give up caffeine once they become pregnant but the case supporting total caffeine avoidance is very weak. Most experts, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agree that moderate caffeine consumption (200 mg/day or less) is fine. Two large cups of coffee amount to around 280–500 mgs of caffeine while a cup of tea has around 35–45 mgs and a can of coke has around 34 mgs.

Pregnancy Myths

5) You should eat as if you are eating for two

While many women would like this to be true, sadly it is not! In fact, during the first trimester, you don’t need to consume any more calories than normal because, for the first 10–12 weeks, the baby has its own yolk sac from which to get nutrients and energy. During the second trimester, you should add an extra 300–350 calories to your daily diet and during the third trimester you can add as much as 450 extra calories to your daily diet, with 300 calories being the lower end of the range.  Remember to try and eat as healthily as you can! While it is normal to splurge on junk food now and again, you should be aiming to consume mostly food with a high nutritional value, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, yoghurt, cheese, and whole grains.

Melody Watson
Melody Watson holds Bachelors degrees in Biochemistry and Microbiology. She works as a medical writer for a medical communications agency in Berlin, Germany, where her work ranges from medical translation to writing publications for medical journals. Melody is passionate about promoting science, including evidence-based medicine, and debunking pseudoscience.

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