10 Pregnancy Health Myths Exposed

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Information & Advice

Health and Beauty Magazine

10 Pregnancy Health Myths Exposed

Health & Beauty Magazine

Lucie Tobin

Lucie Tobin

Health & Beauty Magazine Online Editor

Published 10th September 2008

When you're pregnant, you hear a lot about how to act, eat and predict your baby's sex. Here we expose the myths and give great advice that can help you have a healthy pregnancy

1. You must take special supplements


Experts recommend taking 0.4mg of folic acid daily as it may protect your baby from spinal cord defects. ‘Always eat your five-a-day, plus oily fish, other lean protein and high-quality carbohydrates, and start taking folic acid at least four weeks before trying to conceive and until week 12 of your pregnancy,’ says Boots pharmacist Angela Chalmers.

‘If your diet isn’t always top-notch, you may also benefit from an all-in-one pregnancy supplement, which will give you the nutrients you and your baby need.’ Ask your Boots pharmacy team for advice if you're concerned.

Must-have products:
·    Tommy’s Essential Mulitvitamins & Minerals Folic Acid
·    Vitabiotics Pregnacare Plus Omega-3


2. Peanuts are out


Many pregnant women shun peanuts to avoid triggering an allergy in their unborn baby. ‘But government advice is that you only need to avoid peanuts if you or an immediate family member has asthma, eczema, hay fever or a food allergy,’ says Dr Lowri Kew, GP and Boots Parenting Club expert.

3. You forget more

Scientists at Australia’s University of New South Wales report that pregnant women undergo memory problems, for example, finding it harder to remember new phone numbers. Many women still suffer from memory problems up to a year after the birth.

Researchers don’t know why this happens, but suspect that lack of sleep plays a role.

4. You should give up coffee


Actually, you can enjoy a brew, but you need to watch quantity. ‘Recent studies show that too much caffeine (also found in tea, cola and chocolate) can increase your risk of miscarriage,’ says Dr Kew. ‘Our government advises a maximum of 300mg (about three mugs) of coffee a day. But in the US, they recommend a daily limit of 150mg of coffee, so one and a half mugs. If you’re worried, it’s worth having this smaller amount, or switching to decaf.’

5. You can double your portions


Your body only needs an extra 200 extra calories a day for the growing baby, and only in the last trimester. But that's difficult advice if you have a big appetite from day one. ‘Stay active as much as possible, keep well hydrated, and eat three meals a day with the odd “treat” in between,’ says Dr Kew.

6. It’s safe to exercise


If you were active before and your pregnancy is considered low-risk, there is probably no reason why you can’t keep it up. ‘Just be sensible and work within your comfort level without getting dehydrated. Otherwise, you can keep running until the end if you are comfortable doing it,’ says Gail. ‘However, we wouldn’t advise you to take up a rigorous sport for the first time once pregnant if you haven’t been doing it regularly before. Check with your GP.’  

7. Sex is a no-no


‘Sex is safe in a low-risk pregnancy,’ says Dr Kew. ‘The baby is well cushioned and no harm will come to it. It’s thought that sex can do the baby some good by increasing pelvic blood flow.

For higher-risk pregnancies (women with multiple babies, repeated miscarriages or undiagnosed vaginal bleeding) ask your doctor.’

8. A low bump means it’s a boy


‘The baby determines the shape of your bump, so if the baby moves, your bump will change shape and as the head engages ready for birth, the shape will change again,’ says Gail.

9. Morning sickness means it's a girl


‘Morning sickness doesn’t indicate the baby’s sex,’ says Dr Kew. ‘The confusion could have arisen because women with hyperemesis gravidarum (excessive nausea and vomiting affecting three in 1,000 women) more often carry girls.’

10. A natural birth is best


A safe birth should be the priority. ‘Women who give birth naturally, without drugs or instruments, tend to recover faster, and their babies are less sleepy and quicker to learn breastfeeding,’ agrees Gail. ‘But while most women experience no problems giving birth, it’s important they understand that they might need some intervention to keep them and their babies safe.'

Must-have products:
·    Sanctuary Mum to Be Soft Skin Bath Soak
·    Boots Feel the Difference Mum to Be Plus
·    Boots Expert Stretch Mark Oil

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