Pregnant people face a lot of pregnancy myths. Here are ten of them, debunked!
Pregnancy Myth #1: You’re eating for two. There’s a lot of confusion out there about exactly what and how much you should be eating to sustain your baby, but the Institute of Medicine says that a healthy-weight adult needs no extra calories in the first trimester, 300-400 extra calories in the second trimester, and 400-500 calories in the third trimester!
Pregnancy Myth #2: Pregnant people shouldn’t get vaccinations. We live in a vaccine-wary era, but if you’re pregnant, you don’t need to skip the flu shot. Seven different studies done by the US Center for Disease Control have found that having a flu vaccine poses no threat to the life of the baby. Not only that, but pregnant people are more likely to be severely affected by the flu if they contract it. Now, not all vaccines are safe during pregnancy (the CDC doesn’t recommend getting the MMR or the Varicella vaccinations), but you can check out a list of safe vaccines on their website.
Pregnancy Myth #3: Third-trimester pregnancy puts you on the no-fly-list. Many pregnant people, fearing radiation or low cabin pressure, stay out of the air late in their pregnancies. But, in 2015, Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists put out a statement saying that anyone with a low-risk pregnancy can fly the friendly skies. However, not all airlines will let you on if you’re past 37 weeks; they don’t want to be dealing with someone going into labor 25,000 feet up in the air!
Pregnancy Myth #4: Pregnant people can’t have sex. No, having vaginal intercourse during pregnancy is not going to hurt the baby (The Mayo Clinic confirms it) But it’s also important to note that sex may be less pleasant or more painful as pregnancy progresses (according to a 2005 study in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy), so don’t worry if your sex life isn’t the same as “normal” during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Myth #5: You can determine your baby’s gender from the shape of the baby bump. They did a scientific study (published in the journal Birth in 1999) to test whether boys hung lower or girls hung higher. They found no correlation between bump shape and gender. It’s probably still polite to quietly agree when your grandmother confidently declares that you’re having a little boy/girl.
Pregnancy Myth #6: You can determine a baby’s gender from your own intuition. They did an actual study on this, published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine in 1996. About half of the women got it right: the same chance you’d get from a coin flip. If you desperately need to know the baby’s gender before birth, you’re better off getting an ultrasound.
Pregnancy Myth #7: A safe pregnancy is a decaffeinated pregnancy. The science on coffee during pregnancy is contentious, to say the least. Regardless, most studies agree that amounts of caffeine below 200 mg (about 2 8-oz coffees) per day don’t have a perceptible impact on fetal health. Just don’t pound back Monster drinks.
Pregnancy Myth #8: Don’t say cheese! There are some cheeses you shouldn’t eat during pregnancy, like mold-ripened soft cheese and soft blue cheeses. But all hard cheeses are fine, and many other soft cheeses (like feta, ricotta and mozzarella) are safe as well! (source: the British NHS)
Pregnancy Myth #9: Never say Dye. No, hair dye is not going to hurt your baby. Both temporary and permanent dye appear to be safe to use while pregnant.
Pregnancy Myth #10: Say nuts to nuts. Unless you’re specifically advised against it, you’re okay to eat peanuts when you’re pregnant. New evidence (cited by the British NHS) shows no correlation between eating peanut butter and allergy development in the baby. Plus, peanuts are a source of healthy fat and protein!