Future parents are surrounded by relatives, friends and doctors, and all these people are often sure that they know best about pregnancy and childbirth. On one hand, it is not entirely correct to advise anything without knowing the medical history of a person, and even more so without having a specialized education.
On the other hand, biology and medicine are constantly evolving sciences, and the scientific consensus about many dubious facts about pregnancy and childbirth has long since changed. Different societies have given rise to myths that can and should be fought. We have collected ten medical misconceptions that can still be heard today as advice for pregnant women.
1. Homeopathy is effective and harmless
The best answer to the question of how the product works, in which the active substance is diluted so many times that it does not remain, can be found here. Multiple studies have shown that the effect of taking homeopathy is no better than the placebo effect, but perhaps this is precisely the secret of such treatment. And also that not all herbal preparations called homeopathy contain homeopathic doses.
At the same time, such products do not pass the certification of medicinal substances, so when you are offered to drink a course of homeopathy or ‘weed’ during pregnancy, you shouldn’t. We cannot say with certainty what exactly is in the package of a homeopathic remedy and how certain components will affect the health of a woman and the fetus, since there is very less research done in the field of homeopathy.
2. Ultrasound is harmful to the child
The natural parenting movement starts with pregnancy. Along with the important and useful instructions that it gives, there are also extremely dubious tips that future parents hear with enviable frequency.
Stories about the dangers of ultrasound and how DNA “screams in pain during irradiation” sounds very funny. However, a person who is worried about the safety of the unborn child can be scared by anything. In order not to be afraid, first you need to understand why such an examination is needed at all. Ultrasound is not radiation, but a non-invasive examination method using high-frequency sound waves.
Ultrasound examination makes it possible in the first stages to exclude an ectopic pregnancy (abnormal placement of the fetus). The scanning is inevitable to learn about possible pathologies of the fetus or fetuses and about many other things.
3. Should be born as soon as possible
In antenatal clinics, you can often hear unpleasant remarks that a pregnant woman is too young. This may mean not so much age as other things, for example, that she simply does not have a husband, although the status of the patient's relationship has nothing to do with the employees of the medical institution.
In fact, there are risks of developing genetic diseases in a child born to a mother after 35 years of age and older - but they are there even earlier. The key factors in predicting the health of a child are still the physical and mental well-being of a woman, as well as heredity.
4. Drink less water in the third trimester
Until now, both in health articles on the internet and our homes we hear that if a woman drinks too much water is at risk of developing complications in pregnancy.
Previously, in the third trimester, it was customary to limit fluid intake so that the pregnant woman did not experience polyhydramnios (risk of too much fluid surrounding the baby in the womb) and edema. Today, there is a medical consensus that both polyhydramnios and edema are not related to the amount of fluid intake, on the contrary, enough water per day helps to cope with edema. The authors of What to expect when you're expecting, a best-seller that has become a pregnancy portal, offer a simple test to see if you're drinking enough water, if you're thirsty, just like any other normal person, your body and the baby is in need of water.
5. Physical activity is harmful
To this day, there is a myth that the most important thing for a pregnant woman is physical peace. Obviously, historically it was important that a pregnant woman not chop wood or work hours in the field, but these days most people spend their time in a sitting position.
Researches have shown that exercise improves blood circulation in the body. It alleviates the mood, and good mental is the key to good health of the child.
Physical activity is one of the ways to prevent preeclampsia (pregnancy complications such as high blood pressure or protein loss in the urine). Mild to moderate movements and exercises improve the condition of the fetus, and also helps a woman feel fresh.
6. Obstetric rotation will prevent caesarean section
In late pregnancy, one of the main concerns of future parents is the position of the fetus and, accordingly, the risks of caesarean section. Often, when the fetus is in the pelvic position, that is, it sits inside the mother, like a kangaroo, an obstetric rotation is recommended to pregnant women.
On one hand, the effectiveness of a successfully performed obstetric rotation in a hospital under the supervision of doctors has been proven by some studies. On the other hand, oddly enough, the risk of cesarean section doubles due to the factors such as dystocia-discoordination of labor activity, and a difficult heart rate in the fetus.
Although obstetric rotation may increase the chance for natural childbirth, it is not guaranteed. The most important thing is to understand that only a certified doctor in a hospital can make a turn.
7. Pregnant women should not be vaccinated
Fear of vaccinations, unfortunately, is especially strong in the case of vaccination of pregnant women. Today, in the average female consultation, no one will suggest you get vaccinated against hepatitis B, tetanus or diphtheria, and even more so against the flu. However, the risks to the health of the mother and unborn child are multiplied if a pregnant woman has the flu.
Women are recommended to be vaccinated in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Although, logically, only vaccines with an inactive or dead virus can be used.
All vaccines are approved by the International Pharmacological Association, which means that many tests have been carried out to prove their safety for the woman and the fetus.
8. Eat more for a healthy baby
Many mouth, different opinions, sometimes confuse the parents-to-be. We often hear people telling a woman to eat more for a healthier child. Dubious ‘experts’ suggest low-calorie diets, and relatives are ready to check every hour whether the too thin pregnant woman has eaten enough.
Today, doctors are sure that the weight that a woman gains during pregnancy is not related to how quickly the child develops, or how many kilograms he gains. More importantly, there is no single measure. Everything depends on the metabolism of each individual woman.
WHO recommends that pregnant women eat a balanced diet, minimize caffeine and alcohol intake, and nothing more. Until the doctor knows at least your body mass index, he cannot say how much you should gain during pregnancy.
9. Sex during pregnancy can harm the baby
The surprising myth that you should have sex with caution or not at all during pregnancy appeared for several reasons. Religious practices, previously undiagnosed medical problems, and the ability to deny a husband sex at a time when domestic violence was the norm contributed to its spread.
Advice on limiting sexual activity can be heard even from a doctor, and sometimes this advice is justified.
Sex can indeed be unsafe if a woman has a history of miscarriages or has other contraindications, but it does not pose any harm to a healthy pregnant woman and her fetus.
10. Mental attitude plays a key role in childbirth
The wording “how you tune in, so you give birth” can be heard in childbirth preparation courses and from people who have had a successful birth or, conversely, blame themselves for the difficult ones. This idea has no evidence base. Childbirth is a complex process, the course of which depends on a huge number of factors. It is impossible to take everything into account and predict in advance exactly how your child will be born.
Whatever you decide to do, you have no guarantee against complications, and, by the way, this is the huge risk of home birth. A positive attitude is certainly useful for any event in life, and negative emotions and excess stress are more likely to harm health . However, in no case should one be held responsible for a successful or difficult, quick or many hours of childbirth, for their happy or unhappy outcome.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2022 Hamza Hussaini