Pregnancy Myths vs. Facts

Our maternal fetal medicine specialist will take the time to listen to your needs and concerns and is here to talk with you about pregnancy myths, facts and the important things you should know.

Pregnancy Myths vs. Facts Overview

Pregnancy is a natural part of life, a momentous event that people have experienced for centuries. As a result, a lot of information about pregnancy has been learned and a lot has been passed down over the years from generation to generation. But how much of that information is really factual and how much of it is considered “old wives tales?”

It is maternal instinct to want to do what is best for you and your unborn baby. Pregnancy can be the most exciting time of one’s life, but it is also the time to be most well informed. For the sake of clarity – and sleeping easier at night – we have compiled a list of ten common myths about pregnancy and as experts in this field, we have provided the facts to help put expectant mothers’ minds at ease.

Myth: Morning sickness only occurs in the morning.

Unfortunately, due to hormone changes, nausea and vomiting can occur at any time of the day. It is more common in the morning as it is the longest period women go without eating. It often starts to improve after the first trimester. But for some women, it can continue through pregnancy. Talk with your obstetrician about any discomfort you are experiencing as they can help treat your symptoms.

Myth: You are eating for two.

The reality is that pregnant women only need an additional 300 calories in their daily diet to promote a baby’s growth. That equates to a glass of milk and half of a sandwich. The number of calories you should consume when pregnant is dependent on your weight and height and how active you are. Moms should only gain 25 to 30 pounds during pregnancy, and less than that if they are overweight or obese at the beginning of pregnancy. When pregnant with multiples, the expected weight gain may differ. It is important to talk with your provider to learn what is right for you during your pregnancy.

Myth: The flu shot is dangerous while pregnant.

That is false. The flu shot is recommended during pregnancy as it helps protect mother and baby from the flu. Pregnancy alters a woman’s immune system, heart and lungs; therefore, she is more susceptible to influenza. She is also more likely to become extremely sick, along with other risks, if she has the flu. When getting the flu shot, an expecting mother should avoid the nasal spray vaccine. Instead, she can ask for a seasonal inactivated influenza vaccination. The flu vaccination can protect newborns up to six months after birth, while they are too young for their own vaccine.

Myth: Keep fish off your plate.

Eating two servings of fish per week while pregnant can be healthy. Shrimp, salmon or canned tuna are great options. However, moms-to-be should avoid fish that are high in mercury, such as swordfish, shark or king mackerel. Also, pregnant women should avoid raw fish because they are more likely to contain parasites and bacteria. But do not worry, sushi lovers, cooked sushi is alright.

Myth: Avoid hair dyes during pregnancy.

The truth is chemicals from hair dye, perms and relaxers are absorbed through the skin in only minimal amounts. As long as they are used in a well-ventilated space, there should be no concerns. If women are worried, they can wait until after the first trimester and avoid dyes with ammonia or any strong fumes.

Myth: Caffeine while pregnant is not advised.

Consuming less than 200 mg of caffeine per day is not harmful during pregnancy. In general, 200 milligrams of caffeine is equal to one 12-ounce cup of coffee. Eight ounces of caffeinated tea and most 12-ounce soft drinks have less than 50 milligrams of caffeine, and 1.55-ounce of chocolate has less than 35 milligrams.

Myth: You should avoid hot baths and hot tubs during pregnancy.

This is not completely a myth. It is recommended to avoid baths, hot tubs and saunas if the temperature exceeds 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Water at high temperatures is the ideal environment for certain bacteria to grow and multiply.  Exposure can increase your risk of contracting a harmful infection. There is also concern for women with low blood pressure becoming dizzy and at risk of fainting. Warm baths are perfectly safe if the temperature is cool enough and you stay hydrated.

Myth: You should not sleep or lie on your back.

After the first trimester, doctors recommend that pregnant women not sleep or lie on their back for an extended period of time. This is because the full weight of the baby puts pressure on the vena cava, the large vein that returns deoxygenated blood to your heart from the lower extremities. This can cut off the blood flow to the uterus and oxygen and nutrients from getting to your baby.

It is recommended that pregnant women sleep on their left side during their second and third trimester. This increases blood flow to the baby. If you wake on your back, do not panic and simply turn over to your side. Your body will let you know if your baby is in any real danger through signs like dizziness or nausea.

Myth: You cannot fly while pregnant.

Air travel is okay up to 36 weeks. However, medical clearance is needed if mom has any pregnancy complications, such as preterm labor, lung or heart disease. Radiation exposure is minimal, but a pat-down rather than security scanner is recommended. Be sure to wear a seatbelt while seated due to the risk of unexpected turbulence. Also, getting up and moving around occasionally, every one to two hours, and wearing compression socks are recommended.

Myth: Having a high-risk pregnancy means there will be complications.

High-risk pregnancy means there is a higher likelihood for complications, but it does not mean there will be difficulties during pregnancy. High-risk simply means that the mother will need extra monitoring and possibly extra treatment to improve her health and the baby’s health.

Contact Your Provider at Hattiesburg Clinic

If you have questions or concerns regarding any of the pregnancy myths that you have heard, consult your provider at Hattiesburg Clinic. The provider, nurses and medical staff at our clinic offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.

For information on maternal fetal medicine services, including other ways to manage obesity during pregnancy or to set up a preconception checkup, contact your obstetrician for a referral.

At Hattiesburg Clinic, we offer the full spectrum of prenatal, delivery and postpartum care for women with high-risk pregnancies who need these services. In addition, the maternal fetal medicine specialist has access to the tools and services of Hattiesburg Clinic OB-GYN prenatal services, including ultrasound technology and laboratory.

Maternal Fetal Medicine
Hattiesburg, MS
Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Hattiesburg Clinic - 28th Place
421 S. 28th Ave.
Ste. 120
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
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Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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