Being pregnant can be tough, but what makes it worse is when people tell you things that have been passed down through generations and you’re now unsure what is actually the truth! You begin to question everything as you want to do what’s best for the baby, but how can you tell fact from fiction?
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular pregnancy myths that we’ve heard that are in fact absolutely true.
Hot baths are out of the question, unfortunately!
This is probably one that everyone has come across. I remember sitting at my desk and chatting with a client about how far I was gone and she said “I bet you miss having a hot bath now!” I wasn’t one for baths, but I did question it, as if I were to have a bath, it has to be steaming hot, and as you get bigger in pregnancy, sometimes a bath is needed to soothe the aches and pains.
This ‘myth‘ is in fact true. A hot bath is to be avoided as it may increase your risk of feeling faint or dizzy. There’s also the chance that during the first trimester, a significant rise in your core body temperature, above 38.3 degrees for more than 10 minutes, may cause an interference with the baby’s development. Studies have been done and it’s been shown that by spending long periods of time in a hot bath that raises the core body temperature for too long, there may be an increased risk of congenital abnormalities such as Spina Bifida or Anencephaly.
This is why hot tubs are out of the question during pregnancy – and it’s also down to the fact that hot tubs contain recycled water and have a higher risk of germs.
You can still enjoy a bath though, just make sure that it’s warm and it’s best to avoid bath bombs and oils as they may cause a yeast infection, and just pop in some Epsom Salts to help ease the aches and pains you may be experiencing.
Heartburn means you’re having a hairy baby!
This is probably one of the biggest myths that has been around for as long as anyone can remember. As a mother of two babies, who suffered really badly from heartburn during two pregnancies, from my personal experience, I can say I had one baby born with a decent head of hair, but it wasn’t anything to shout about.
There is definitely some truth to this ‘myth ‘ as studies have been conducted and it’s been concluded that there is a correlation between ‘lanugo’ which is a fine layer of hair that all babies develop in the womb, which they shed and eat when still in utero and this is what they poop out for their first poop.
A study by John Hopkins University actually looked at this topic to figure out if was actually fact or fiction and the results actually proved that out of the 64 women that they studied, 28 reported they had bad heartburn and following on from that, 23 women gave birth to babies with average, or above average ‘ hairiness ‘.
However, it was concluded that what actually happens is that pregnancy hormones, the ones that relate to hair growth when in the womb, also relax the muscles that keep stomach acid at bay, meaning you have an increased amount of acid reflux.
Over on Reddit of course the question about Heartburn and Hairy Babies has been asked quite a lot and MindyS1719 said “I had severe heartburn my first pregnancy. Went thru 3 bottles of tums by the time the third trimester hit then had to switch to Zantac. Our daughter had so much hair, you could brush it when she came out. ”
If your baby’s hair is showing up on the scan, it must be some head of hair! “My MIL kept going on and on about my heartburn meaning my baby has lots of hair and I would roll my eyes because no one in my family or my husband’s was born with any hair and it just seems like the most easily debunked of the pregnancy myths. I had to go to a specialist last week and the first thing the ultrasound tech said? “Look at all that hair!” Obviously, a huge coincidence but now my MIL feels vindicated .” DenverandMona said.
The longer and more difficult the labour – you’re having a boy!
The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, actually conducted a study to see if the Old Wives tale was true, that if you have a long and difficult labour, you’ll have a boy and the numbers were crunched and checked, and it turns out from studying over 8,000 births, labour for a boy was more troublesome.
The data that was used was from 1997–2000, and what was discovered was that the use of oxytocin was more likely required to stimulate contractions and that the boys were more likely to get into foetal distress, and require more assistance.
To give an example, they found that women labouring with boys exceeded 6 hours of labouring, whereas, with girls, it was actually under the six hours.
With boys, the use of forceps was required 23% of the time, compared to 19% with girls.
6% of male births ended in c-sections whereas only 4% ended in c-sections for females.
I distinctly remember being in labour in Holles Street back in 2018, an induction none the less, and it wasn’t going well, and every single consultant and mid-wife that popped in asked the same question “Are you having a boy, boys usually cause the problems during labour!” and everyone was shocked I was in fact having a girl!
Raising your arms above your head may cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby
This is very much an old wives’ tale in regards to hanging out the washing, and short periods of time spent with your arms reaching for something is fine, but if for any reason should you be doing this for a prolonged time, this is in fact true.
It’s said to affect the tonus of the uterus, but you would need to be standing with your arms in the air for a long time for it to cause any harm, and we mean a long time!
Bad morning sickness means you’re having a girl
Another old wives’ tale, however research has shown that this could actually be true. We all know scans can tell us the sex of a baby, but even they say they’re not 100% accurate! But apparently, if you have very bad morning sickness, it’s meant to be a sure sign of a girl. Whereas eating loads is meant to signal a boy!
Here’s a good example from Reddit from MindyS1719: “First pregnancy: Girl, sick for 6 weeks around the clock nausea, lost 3 pounds. Second pregnancy: Boy, sick for 2 weeks here and there. Is this real life?! lol“
This since-deleted account on Reddit posted a good reason why: “There may be some truth to this since girls seem to bring higher HCG readings (which is theorized to be the cause of a lot of morning sickness) but it’s silly to act like it’s concrete.”
You shouldn’t sleep on your back
It’s always being recommended to not sleep on your back and to find a comfortable spot, and the reason being, is that if you sleep on your back whilst heavily pregnant, you can cut the supply to your Vena Cava and you might experience symptoms such as dizziness or lack of oxygen and the baby can develop hypoxia, so listen to those telling you to find a comfy sleeping spot on your side!