Being pregnant appears to give anyone and everyone the impression you need a full health assessment, as well as advice, whenever you meet. Whether you’re told that you need to ‘eat for two’ or warned of the dangers of bathing in hot water, it seems there is always someone who knows it all. So, if you’re wondering whether alcohol AND sex is off the menu for the next nine months, reading on will give you answers to those pregnancy myths and more.
Eating for Two
This old wives tale is not completely untrue. While pregnant women are advised not to literally double the amount they eat, it is important to increase your calorie intake slightly to support your growth and that of your baby. Generally speaking, the average pregnant woman should consume around 300 extra calories a day. Following a well-balanced, nutritious diet is more important than ever when a woman is pregnant.
Sadly, there is plenty of evidence to support the negative effects of regularly drinking alcohol when pregnant. The UK Chief Medical Officer advises pregnant women who drink on a regular basis increase their risks of miscarriage, premature labour and low birth weight. While there is little evidence surrounding the effects of occasional drinking, the Chief Medical Officer advises pregnant women drink no more than one or two units of alcohol per week.
Enjoying a Coffee
The potential harmful effects of drinking coffee while pregnant have been well discussed in recent years. While studies with any concrete evidence that says coffee should be avoided are still lacking, the American Pregnancy Association recommend pregnant women drink no more than 200-350mg of coffee per day. This is due to the fact that caffeine can cross the placenta, which can lead to your baby’s metabolism becoming erratic and unstable. A lesser known fact is that caffeine is a diuretic, which causes a pregnant woman to urinate more than she does already, therefore increasing her risk of dehydration.
Another common misconception is that a woman who flies when pregnant is at risk of miscarriage. This simply is not true and there are no studies to support this myth for occasional or even regular flyers. Medical professionals will always recommend a pregnant woman in her last trimester informs the airline of her condition before the flight. However, this is not due to increased risk of complications, but more to avoid a mid-flight new arrival.
There is absolutely no risk at all when it comes to exercising while pregnant. As long as the woman sticks to what she knows her body is capable of, she will only benefit from regular exercise. As well as being a great natural mood lifter, exercising during pregnancy will help keep your body healthy and happy.
No Sex Please, We’re Pregnant
As well as making you moody, irritable and emotional, the rush of hormones pregnancy brings can also increase a pregnant woman’s sex drive. It will therefore be good news that there are virtually no risks attached to having sex while pregnant. One of the most common worries is that sex during pregnancy will somehow hurt the unborn baby. However, thanks to a thick cervical plug and the strong amniotic sac there is no way your baby will be hurt through penetration. Sexually transmitted disease can be harmful to an unborn baby, so expectant mothers should continue to practice safe sex.
A Relaxing Bath
Relaxing in a warm bath is probably the idea of heaven for many pregnant women and, while caution is recommended, there is no risk to having a warm bath during pregnancy. The secret to safe bathing, according to the American Pregnancy Association, is to keep the bath water below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Taking a bath hotter than this may increase the temperature of the woman’s uterus, causing potential problems for the baby. The American Pregnancy Association recommends testing the water with your foot before getting in. Water temperature that feels comfortable is likely to be the closest, and therefore safest, to the woman’s own body temperature.
It has long been believed that dying your hair while pregnant is in some way harmful to your unborn baby. However, the amount of actual dye absorbed into the skin via the scalp is so little, pregnant women and their babies will suffer no ill effects. That said, the overwhelmingly intense smell associated with hair dye may result in pregnant women feeling nauseous, so a well-ventilated room is recommended.