Katie Hilton (Bsc, Msc) – Registered Midwife & Health Visitor
From cutting back on caffeine to stopping exercise. With all the pregnancy “advice” available, it’s sometimes hard to know what to believe. Remember every pregnancy is different, so do what feels right for you and your baby and follow your Midwifes advice. Find out below what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to your pregnancy.
Myth1: Eat Three Healthy Meals
False! During pregnancy you should be eating 6-7 small meals every 2-3 hours. Eating small frequent meals from a wide variety of food groups will maintain your blood sugar at a constant level, which is healthy for both you and your baby. Don’t obsess over what you are eating and try not to diet during pregnancy. What worked well for you and was healthy pre-pregnancy will also work during pregnancy. And yes, that can occasionally include ice cream!
Myth 2: It’s Okay to Have a Drink
True! If you’re attending a wedding and want to join in the toast, then go ahead! Although the general advice is to try to avoid alcohol during your pregnancy, particularly during the first 3 months. If you do choose to have the occasional drink minimize the risk of baby by not drinking more than one or two units once or twice per week. An occasional small glass of wine is thought to be harmless.
Myth 3: Keep to Decaf
False! One small cup of coffee each day is perfectly safe. Moderate coffee intake isn’t like to cause any harm to your baby.
Myth 4: No More Cheese
False! You don’t have to cut out all cheeses from your diet. Some types such as cheddar and swiss are safe because they are pasteurized. You do however need to cut out the soft, unpasteurized cheese such as Brie, feta and goats cheese. So you can still enjoy the odd cracker with cheese!
Myth 5: Eat for Two
False! Pregnancy doesn’t mean you need to eat for two people. During pregnancy you need to consume roughly 300 calories per day extra, so there is a slight leeway. But be careful not to go over the top!
Myth 6: Goodbye Seafood
False! If your favourite seafood hangout hasn’t made you ill pre-pregnancy, chances are you will be fine whilst with-child. Yes, there is a slightly increased risk of consuming bad types of bacteria from raw seafood such as sushi, so you might feel more comfortable avoiding raw fish. You may have also heard about dangerous mercury levels in tuna, however it is all about moderation. You can easily enjoy a tuna sandwich once a week, but perhaps not daily. When choosing from a menu try to select seafood with a lower mercury level including salmon and shrimp.
Myth 7: You’ll Have to Suffer when Sick
False! Many over the counter medications are safe during pregnancy, however many women believe they can’t take anything for migraines, sore throats, coughs and colds. Speak with a pharmacist and they will be able to recommend safe medications. Many prescription medications are also safe to continue using during pregnancy, however you should always speak to your GP.
Myth 8: Skip Exercise
False! If your pregnancy is low risk then low impact exercise can be a great way to control your weight and prepare for labour and delivery. Avoid sports and exercises, which involve lying on the floor, particularly in latter parts of pregnancy, as the weight of the heavy uterus can reduce blood flow to the baby and result in dizziness.
Myth 9: Avoid the Hair Dye
False! Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to compromise how you look. Whilst there is a minimal risk associated with colouring your hair as chemicals can be absorbed through the scalp, research has to date been inconclusive. Avoid dying your hair during the first trimester when your baby is developing. After the first trimester you should be safe to go ahead with that hair appointment, try to select semi-permanent over permanent.
Myth 10: Say No to Sex
False! You can still have sex during pregnancy. Sex doesn’t hurt your baby and he or she will be fully protected by the amniotic sac, cervix and uterine muscles. A mucus plug also seals the cervix during pregnancy. If you have a normal, low-risk pregnancy you don’t need to worry as an orgasm will not cause a miscarriage. You will still need to be mindful of sexually transmitted infections so continue to use barrier contraception. If you at all concerned or are unsure if your pregnancy is low-risk speak to your Midwife.