Myths and Truths - Pregnancy

How often do you receive pregnancy advice?

Never All the time

Announcing a pregnancy is exciting. Pregnancy celebrations are often followed by nine months of “information” and advice, and that can be overwhelming. Friends and family may mean well, but moms-to-be report feeling especially sensitive to the constant recommendations of others. Moms are left to decide what is accurate, helpful or false. Wonder no more. Here is the latest scoop on frequent pregnancy myths.

Myth: Pregnancy weight gain is not important.

Truth: Pregnancy weight gain matters. Women who gain more than the recommended amount of pregnancy weight are more likely to have an overweight child, something that can continue as children age.

Myth: Pregnant women should not have caffeine.

Truth: Good news for pregnant women who savor a daily cup of coffee; moderate amounts of caffeine are safe. Enjoy up to 12 ounces of coffee or 24 ounces of soda. Talk to health care providers about caffeine concerns, especially if you have high blood pressure.

Myth: Pregnant women should not eat fish.

Truth: As long as you stay clear of fish that contain high amounts of mercury, like swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and shark, you may enjoy two to three servings of fish each week. As a bonus, fish provides omega-3 fats that help your baby’s brain develop.

Myth: Pregnant women should avoid exercise.

Truth: Exercise is safe and recommended for most pregnant women. Get the green light from your health care provider before starting an exercise routine, just to be sure it is safe for you. Exercise can help moms-to-be cope with or eliminate many pregnancy challenges, like headaches, constipation, bloating and swelling. Daily activity can ease sleepless nights and cut down on excess weight gain. Aim for 30 minutes of walking or low-intensity exercise on most days.

Myth: Pregnant women should avoid spicy foods.

Truth: First, the good news, eating spicy foods during pregnancy is safe. Now, the bad news, spicy foods can lead to heartburn or indigestion. Ask your health care provider about pregnancy-safe antacids, if needed.

Myth: Pregnant women should avoid cheese and dairy products.

Truth: Yogurt, hard cheese and milk are safe options for pregnant women. Enjoy with pleasure. Stay away from mold-ripened cheeses, like Brie and Camembert, as well as soft blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola and Roquefort. Although tasty, they carry an added risk of bacteria from raw dairy. Take a break while pregnant and enjoy them later.

Myth: Pregnant women cannot continue to breastfeed her older children while pregnant.

Truth: Pregnant women can safely breastfeed older children during pregnancy. Researchers have shown that breastfeeding while pregnant does not affect the health of the baby or the length of the pregnancy. Health providers may have different recommendations if you have any risks or are carrying multiple babies.

Your pregnancy journey will be unique, but do not be surprised if others want to share their pregnancy experiences and advice with you. Some advice may be inaccurate or even harmful. Check with your health care provider before taking action.

These tips on how to defuse unwanted sharing may be helpful to you in the weeks ahead.

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