Let’s accept it. Pregnancy, one of the most beautiful phases in a woman’s life, is also the scariest considering its many complexities. While having credible information is every expecting mom’s priority as she wants the best for the little one growing up in her belly, they tend to fall for one or the other myths associated with pregnancy that are not backed by medical evidences. From bizarre to believable there are many pregnancy myths doing the rounds and it’s a challenge to separate fact from fiction. Should I eat for two? Will eating ghee help in delivery? My mother-in-law is asking me to hang beautiful pictures of babies in my room, will it serve any purpose?
For their benefit we approached Dr Ritu Sethi, Senior Consultant Gynecologist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Gurgaon. In a candid chat, she shared some of the most common myths that her patients believe and which she lovingly clarifies not to be true.
Myth 1: Eat for two during pregnancy
Dr Ritu Sethi: No, you should not be eating for two. Your calorie intake should depend upon your Body Mass Index (BMI). Not every lady is recommended a 10-12 kg weight gain during her pregnancy. In case you are of normal body weight, you are recommended a 10-12 kg weight gain. In case you fall in the overweight category, you are not expected to gain not more than 6-8 Kg. If you are obese, then not more than 2-4 kg should be gained. In case of underweight women, your doctor may recommend gaining 10-15 kg depending upon your BMI.
What you should be doing
You should be eating a balanced diet with lots of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in moderation, and drinking lots of water. It is important to add roughage to your diet through salad etc so that you don’t face problem of water retention and constipation.
Myth 2: We can tell if it’s a boy or a girl by the shape of belly or heart rate
Dr Ritu Sethi: The gender of the baby is already decided once the embryo has been implanted. One cannot determine baby’s gender by looking at mother, shape of belly or even heart rate. A lot of patients enquire me about the heart rate of the baby thinking lower heart rate means it’s a boy and higher means it is a girl. This is obviously not true. The heart rate of the baby varies every second and the normal heartbeat is between 120 -160.
Myth 3: Don’t consume peanuts in pregnancy as it causes allergy
Dr Ritu Sethi: New allergies never crop up in pregnancy. Actually some people have some food allergies prior to getting pregnant. They should be avoiding that food. Some patients are lactose intolerant so they should avoid it and replace it with substitutes like curd and paneer.
Myth 4: Eat lot of ghee in your last trimester, it will help in delivery
Dr Ritu Sethi: Nothing of that sort. Ghee is something which is going to relieve your constipation and make you feel a little better. It may result in weight gain. You can have it if you are comfortable eating it but don’t put on too much weight, as pushing in case of a normal delivery will be difficult. Eating ghee will not make the baby slip because the ghee goes in intestine. It will not help you have a normal delivery.
Myth 5: Castor oil helps in normal delivery
Dr Ritu Sethi: A lot of old obstetricians used to give Castor oil to patients to help start the labour pains. Now the rationale behind it was that castor oil was an irritant to intestine and the moment a lady’s intestine gets irritated, contractions will start. But this again will not lead to labour pains. In case, the irritants to intestine is too much, it can lead to baby passing stool which we call meconium.
Myth 6: Don’t rub your tummy, it will spoil the child
Dr Ritu Sethi: Rubbing the tummy will not make any differences throughout most of the pregnancy. In later stages however it should be avoided as it can lead to contractions, but not in other stages of pregnancy.
Myth 7: Don’t look at ugly things as it will make the baby ugly
Dr Ritu Sethi: The colour of the baby, features of the baby, IQ of the baby depends on genes. Eating certain type of foods will not make him/her ugly or intelligent. Looking at any picture or watching horror movies etc will not affect baby’s physical or mental health.
Myth 8: Morning sickness happens only in the morning
Dr Ritu Sethi: Not true. In fact it is more of a misnomer. In fact pregnant ladies feel more sick in the evening. Many of them after taking lunch start feeling more sick. Because the term has been used since ages, morning sickness is associated with feeling sick in the morning. Most patients say they are throughout the day they are so overwhelmed with the different smells etc that they don’t feel like having dinner.
Myth 9: If a woman is experiencing heartburn, baby will be born with hair
Dr Ritu Sethi: Heartburn happens because the stomach is pushed by a growing belly. Because of that what happens is that the digestion slows down. The amount of food that gets digested in half-n-hour or 45 minutes takes much longer time because stomach and food pipe is going to be pushed up. So it has no relation to hair growing around the baby.
Myth 10: After caesarean section, normal delivery is not possible
Though not completely true, after caesarean section, chances of normal delivery is less because it is generally done in case the baby’s head is not descending or the mother has given up or the heart beat of the baby is going very slow. In next pregnancy, normal delivey can be given, seeing the risk factors. In case the patient is not coming into labour herself, giving certain medicines to induce labour pain is risky in case of a case where caesarean has been done earlier.
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