Pregnancy Myths People Still Believe
Pregnancy holds immense significance in a woman's life, accompanied by increased care and attention from loved ones. During this time, numerous guidelines are given by well-wishers, ranging from scientifically grounded recommendations to mere myths. It is advisable to prioritise following the advice of healthcare professionals throughout the pregnancy journey to ensure the well-being of both mother and baby. Various myths surrounding pregnancy persist in different cultures, often passed down through generations until someone dispels them.
Here are a few prevalent misconceptions surrounding pregnancy:
Papaya and miscarriage: There is a widespread belief that consuming papaya can lead to miscarriage, causing even well-informed individuals to avoid it during pregnancy. However, this belief is primarily associated with unripe or semi-ripe green papaya, which contains high levels of latex. The latex in green papaya can mimic the effects of labour-inducing hormones such as oxytocin and prostaglandins. As the papaya ripens, the latex content decreases, making it safe for consumption. Therefore, pregnant women can include ripe papaya in their diet without posing any harm to the foetus. In fact, ripe papaya can help control and prevent constipation, heartburn, bloating, and gastric disorders, which are common during pregnancy.
Saffron and baby's skin colour: The colour of a baby's skin is solely determined by their genetic makeup and not influenced by external factors. In India, it is customary to gift small boxes of saffron to pregnant women. It is believed that consuming saffron-infused milk during pregnancy might result in a fair-skinned baby. However, this notion lacks any scientific evidence or truth.
Ghee and delivery: Contrary to popular belief, consuming ghee does not facilitate an easier delivery or expedite the healing process of the uterus.Some people believe that ghee acts as a lubricant for the vagina, promoting a smoother delivery. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims. While ghee does have beneficial properties, it is important to consume it in moderation due to its high unsaturated fat content, as excessive intake can potentially complicate the delivery process by increasing weight gain.
Eclipse and pregnancy: There is a common belief that pregnant women should refrain from engaging in any activity during an eclipse to prevent their baby from being born with deformities. However, it is important to clarify that an eclipse is a natural phenomenon and does not cause any defects or deformities in babies.
Caffeine consumption during pregnancy: It is common for pregnant women to be advised to avoid caffeine due to concerns about potential risks such as miscarriage, preterm birth, or low birth weight. However, the evidence against caffeine is not conclusive. Therefore, it is still possible to enjoy a cup of coffee occasionally while pregnant, as long as the daily caffeine intake does not exceed 200mg.
Sex during pregnancy: It is perfectly safe to engage in sexual activity during pregnancy. The baby is well-protected by the amniotic sac and strong uterine muscles, so intercourse does not physically harm the baby. The cervix is sealed by a thick mucus plug as an additional protective measure. However, if there is a risk of miscarriage, preterm labour, or unexplained vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, your doctor may advise against intercourse. It is essential to be cautious about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during pregnancy.
Sleeping positions: There is a common belief that pregnant women should never sleep on their back and should always sleep on their left side. It is believed that sleeping on the back can reduce oxygen supply to the foetus. However, for most healthy pregnancies without complications, the best sleeping position is the one that is most comfortable for the mother. Sleeping on the left side can be beneficial in certain cases, such as prolonged labour, high blood pressure, kidney issues, or problems with foetal development. During the later stages of pregnancy, as the uterus and baby grow larger, there can be increased pressure on the inferior vena cava, a large vein that carries blood from the lower body back to the heart. This pressure can affect blood flow. However, it's important to note that this recommendation is not necessary for every pregnant woman. Ultimately, it is advised to find a comfortable sleeping position that allows for a restful sleep during pregnancy.
Exercise during pregnancy: Contrary to the belief that exercising during pregnancy can harm the baby, it is actually beneficial for both the mother and the baby. With proper guidance from healthcare professionals, it is safe to initiate an exercise program during pregnancy.Activities such as brisk walking, swimming, breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation are highly recommended as they not only contribute to physical fitness but also serve as excellent relaxation techniques. Before starting any exercise regimen, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider to ensure that the exercise plan is suitable for your specific needs.
Pregnancy is surrounded by numerous myths, some of which contain inaccurate information or advice that can potentially be harmful. Before making any substantial dietary, healthcare, or lifestyle changes during pregnancy, it is important for a woman to consult with her doctor.
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