When women are pregnant, they find that information and advice comes from all corners. How is one to know which bits of advice must be followed, and which can be ignored? Here are a few of the most common myths that pregnant women encounter, along with some straight talk to help make sense of them.
False! The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) disagree. “The birth defects associated with alcohol during pregnancy are completely preventable,” says ACOG president Mark S. DeFrancesco. “It is essential that all health care providers, especially ob-gyns, make clear to their patients that there is no amount of alcohol use that is safe during pregnancy.”
False! Dietitian and public health nutritionist Sarah Schenker disagrees. “Yes, you can still enjoy a mug of coffee every now and then during your pregnancy. Just make sure that you don’t have more than 200 mg of caffeine in a day. That’s two mugs of instant coffee or one mug of brewed coffee.”
False! While you may have a little one growing inside you, it doesn’t warrant doubling your food intake. According to bump.com, you need only 300 extra calories a day.3 The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the same. Three hundred calories are “roughly the number of calories in a glass of skim milk and half a sandwich.” So no need to overdo it, especially since it’s hard to drop those pregnancy pounds after birth.
False! The chemicals found in hair dyes and relaxers are absorbed only in minimal amounts and are not considered harmful for pregnant women.
Avoid flying when pregnant.
False! According to Dr. Yvonne Butler Tobah MD of the Mayo Clinic in the US, “commercial air travel before week 36 of pregnancy is considered safe for women who have healthy pregnancies.” Yet she notes that your doctor might advise against air travel if you are experiencing pregnancy complications that might be worsened by air travel. Common pregnancy emergencies are the lowest during the second trimester, so that offers a good window of opportunity for pregnant women.
While the myths concerning what you can and cannot do during pregnancy are many, your gynaecologist or fertility specialist is the best resource for advice. Raise your concerns and questions with them for advice that takes your specific condition into account.