Ok, so lets debunk some of the myths about pregnancy. Can I really drink wine? How many cups of coffee can I have? Can I get in the hot tub? Some of the most common questions that pregnant women think about but are too afraid to ask are answered below.
♦ I’m pregnant. That means I am eating for two. So I should just double my calories right?
Wrong. Now, its ok to send hubby on that midnight run to get that Southern Butter Pecan Talenti ice cream…ummmm so good, but no boo. You are not eating for two. The National Academy of Medicine recommends proper weight gain in pregnancy. Appropriate weight gain is dependent on your pre pregnancy weight. Recommendations also depend on how much physical activity a woman does, her height and her metabolism. BMI (body mass index) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Underweight women (BMI less than 18.5) should gain between 28-40 lbs. Normal weight women (BMI between 18.5-24.9) should gain between 25-35 lbs. Overweight women (BMI between 25.0-29.9) should gain between 15-25 lbs. Obese women with a BMI of 30 or greater should gain between 11-20 pounds. Women should eat an additional 350-450 calories per day in the second and third trimesters. You should not be eating double in pregnancy! Trust, your baby will get all the nutrients she needs. An extra scoop of ice cream every now and then is completely fine lol.
♦ Can I exercise in pregnancy? I heard I am supposed to be on bedrest.
Women with uncomplicated pregnancies should absolutely exercise during pregnancy. Now, I am not telling you to join a Crossfit if you have never been before or to start skiing or playing intramural tackle football. But exercise during pregnancy is great for mom and baby. The current recommendation is 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day, 4-5 times a week. You should still be able to talk while you exercise. If you can’t form words then take it easy. Bedrest is not recommended in pregnancy anymore. It only increases your risk of blood clots and there has been no benefit shown in studies. Honestly, if you were running marathons prior to being pregnant then keep running. You should not start an intensive exercise program while pregnant but you can continue what you were doing prior to becoming pregnant. If you were a couch potato prior to becoming pregnant then easing you way into a light exercise program is perfect for you and baby.
♦ Can I get my nails done while pregnant?
Getting your nails done is fine. Do you boo! But, be careful of the fumes that are circulating in the nail shops. In someone, who is already nauseous these strong smells may make you feel worse.
♦I am not even fully awake until I have had my third cup of coffee. I cannot do without my coffee! No, people will literally hate me. Can I drink this much coffee while pregnant?
I myself am not a coffee drinker but I know a few people who couldn’t survive without it. Most people aren’t even themselves until they have had their first cup of coffee for the day. Fear not my little Starbucks addicts. There are not many studies on coffee intake in pregnancy but the studies we do have show that low or moderate caffeine intake is not associated with adverse outcomes for baby. Some studies on animals show that very high caffeine intake can lead to miscarriage but this would be the equivalent of more than 10 cups of coffee a day! I’m sure no one does that. Right? All in all, coffee intake in moderation is just fine in pregnancy. And I am sure all my sleepy pregnant ladies are currently breathing in a big sigh of relief.
♦ I love salmon. But I heard fish have high mercury levels. How much fish can I have in pregnancy?
Truth. Fish is actually good for you in pregnancy! Eating fish in pregnancy is associated with improved neurodevelopment in children. It is also true that mercury can be found in fish and this can cause neurologic damage in the baby. The recommendation is to consume 2-3 servings per week of fish high in docosahexaenoic acid (say that 5 times fast) and omega 3 but low in mercury. Recommended fish to eat in pregnancy include the following:
- Atlantic Herring
- Atlantic mackerel
- Farmed salmon
- Wild salmon
The following don’t have high amounts of docosahexaenoic acid but they are also low in mercury and are ok to have in pregnancy.
- Shrimp (yum)
The following are types of fish pregnant women should avoid as they contain high levels of mercury:
- King Mackerel
♦ My roots look a mess! Can I dye my hair while pregnant?
Good news ladies. Studies show that there is likely minimal absorption in the body and dye is presumed to be safe in pregnancy. Hello touch ups!
♦ I have a big trip planned during my third trimester? Should I go? What is the latest week I can travel while pregnant?
Flying is definitely a safe way to travel while pregnant. Pregnant women do need to be careful on long trips and should wear compression stockings and walk periodically around the plane to decrease their risk of blood clots. Radiation from flying is too low to worry about concerns for the baby. There is no set gestational age that women cannot travel but women need to keep in mind the type of medical care available at their destination and the complications that can happen the later they travel in pregnancy. Pregnant women also need to be aware of flying to areas where the Zika virus is still rampant and of potential exposure. Along these same lines, insect repellent is safe in pregnancy and should be used in areas that have a high occurrence of insect-borne illnesses. Ultimately, you need to weigh the risks and benefits of traveling vs pregnancy risk and decide what’s best for you.
♦ Is it really bad if I sleep on my back in pregnancy?
We do recommend that pregnant women sleep on their sides in pregnancy, especially the left side. This helps because as the uterus gets bigger with your growing baby, it can compress some important vessels when you sleep on your back. This in turn, can decrease blood flow to the placenta and thus oxygen to your baby. Also, its not very comfortable. Trust me I know. Some studies have shown an association between stillbirth and women sleeping on their backs but there was also a lot of bias in these studies. To be safe, sleeping on your side in pregnancy is recommended.
♦ Can I still have sex in pregnancy? My husband thinks he will hurt the baby.
My husband really thought this and he was terrified of touching me. So serious lol. Sex is very safe in pregnancy unless you have specific restrictions. If you have placenta previa(where the placenta partially or completely covers the cervix), vaginal bleeding, or if your water has broken we generally recommend that you refrain from sex or anything in the vagina. Otherwise, sex is perfectly safe and does not lead to preterm birth.
♦ I just want to sit in a hot tub and relax. But I heard it wasn’t safe for baby. Is that true?
Swimming is completely fine in pregnancy and a great form of exercise. Hot tubs, however, are a different beast. There are studies that show that hot tub use early in pregnancy can lead to pregnancy loss. Hot tubs can significantly increase mom’s body temperature and this can be a risk factor for miscarriage. Recommendation. Keep swimming, but leave the hot tubs alone until after delivery, especially in the first trimester.
♦ Can I get my teeth cleaned while pregnant? Dr. Google said that it was dangerous.
Ahhhhh I love Dr. google. He always gives the best advice. (insert eye roll) Nope. pregnancy is not an excuse for you not to go to the dentist. Sorry. As a matter of fact, you can continue all your routine dental procedures during pregnancy including your cleanings, extractions and those coveted root canals! Muah ha ha ha.
♦ Ok so I have a glass of wine with dinner every night. I would still like to enjoy wine. Is it really that bad for the baby? Come on!
I will admit. I googled this myself when I was pregnant because i just didn’t know how long I could go without wine lol. So, there have been multiple studies out of Australia. One followed children until high school and there was no association found between alcohol (less than 10 drinks per week) and behavioral problems. Another study found no difference in cognitive abilities of children by 14 years of age when less than one drink per day on average was consumed. There was also a large analysis that showed that low to moderate alcohol consumption (less than 9 drinks per week) was not associated with negative outcomes. Despite all of these studies, it is still not 100% conclusive what specific level of alcohol is safe in pregnancy. Because we cannot say for sure what specific amount of alcohol is actually safe, the recommendation is still to completely abstain from alcohol during pregnancy. Sorry. I tried. I really, really did.
So there you have it folks. Pregnancy myths debunked.
Comment below with questions or comments!