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10 pregnancy myths, busted!
Dr Roopa Nishi Viswanathan |
August 04, 2005
You are supposed to be blissfully pregnant, but are plagued by countless fears, not to mention the pieces of advice you receive from your well-meaning relatives. Add the diametrically opposite suggestions from your obstetrician and you have the perfect formula for paranoia.
A lot of the things you hear might not have a scientific basis.
Here we deal with some of your worst pregnancy concerns, which could prove to be mere myths.
i. If I have morning sickness, my baby is probably not getting enough nutrition
Don't worry if food -- or even the sight, smell or thought of food -- makes you sick. Weight gain in the first few months of pregnancy is minimal. In fact, some women even lose a little weight.
Your baby is generally safe and well nourished if you were healthy prior to getting pregnant. Unless you notice warning signs like dehydration, severe weight loss or severe morning sickness, there is no need to panic.
Don't forget your folic acid supplements.
ii. Having sex will hurt our baby
If you have a low-risk pregnancy, there is no need for abstinence. You might be advised to avoid sex only if you have had a history of pre-term labour or are going through a high-risk pregnancy.
Let your doctor be the best judge of this.
iii. I took some paracetamol the other day and I am worried it will affect my baby
Pregnancy does not mean you have to grin and bear it all the time. Most physicians agree it is OKAY to take an occasional analgesic for severe aches.
Make sure you consult your doctor on what medicines are safe.
iv. I bumped into someone's bag on the road and am worried now
Your baby is well protected in your uterus and is cushioned from minor bumps, stumbles and falls by the amniotic fluid which which your baby floats.
However, if you experience cramps or vaginal bleeding, contact your doctor immediately.
v. My mom says I must not lift or carry anything at all, even my three-year old son
Unless you have to strain to lift something, it is generally fine to lift it. Grocery bags and young kids can be lifted and carried provided you do it right.
Bend your knees to lift anything and carry it close to your body.
vi. I am an exercise freak, but I think I must stop exercising for now
Being fit actually increases your stamina. Feel free to exercise as long as it does not tire you out or make you overheated or unduly breathless. As a general guide, you must have enough air to chat comfortably all through your workout.
Brisk walking might be the safest bet for those unaccustomed to heavy exercise.
vii. I have to take that business trip but I read somewhere that flying is not really safe right now
It is perfectly safe to fly once in a while if your delivery date is more than six weeks away. Call your airline to find out their policy. Passing through airport security will not affect your baby either.
If you are in a job that requires frequent flying, you may have to modify your schedule to avoid receiving high doses of radiation in-flight.
If your flight is a long one, move around a bit and stretch your legs to avoid formation of blood clots.
viii. I should minimise the use of cell phones, microwaves and even computers
Computers are totally safe, says a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati. As for microwaves, you are at risk of getting radiated only if there is a leak. Use them by all means but maintain a safe distance while they are on, just in case. The use of cell phones is safe too.
If you are still not convinced, avoid overuse of microwaves and cell phones. Use them only when necessary.
ix. My colleague said she stopped drinking coffee when she was pregnant
Coffee in small amounts will not affect the baby, but avoid drinking more than three cups a day. Very large amount of caffeine might result in a baby with a low birth weight.
As a general rule, it is nice to stick to one cup a day.
x. My friend who is pregnant says her baby moves all the time. Mine seems to be lazy.
If you have started feeling your baby's movements, it is easy to get worried. If you are extremely worried about your baby's movements, try to keep a count once in a while.
This will be frequently required as your delivery date is closer. Unless you are actually counting, you might miss a few movements leading to unwarranted fears.
As long as you feel 10 movements over a six-hour period, you have no cause for worry.
Dr Roopa Nishi Viswanathan has an MBBS from KEM Hospital, Mumbai, with a Masters in Nutrition from the University of Texas at Austin.