As a mother of 10, yes, count them, 10 children, I can share a wealth of stories about all the misconceptions of pregnancy and conception that believe it or not, people still swear by despite all our modern technologies, scientific research and advanced knowledge which has proven otherwise.
Some of the more common myths about pregnancy include things like,
1.Don’t reach over your head or your baby will get the umbilical cord wrapped around it’s neck. Completely false folks. Your arms are in no way connected to your uterus. It can be dangerous to just about anyone who is trying to reach something heavy and pull it down.
2.Don’t wear anything around your neck while your expecting. Many women believe that wearing anything around your neck will cause the umbilical cord to get wrapped around the babies neck. This is also false. Wearing something around your neck has no effect on your baby whatsoever, unless of course it constricts your own air flow. Most statistical sites show that as many as 1/3 of all babies are born with the cord around their neck regardless of what a woman did during pregnancy and it seems to be a very common occurrence.
3.One of my favorite pregnancy myths is the mother should avoid seeing anything scary while your pregnant, ie horror movies, haunted houses on Halloween etc. or your baby will be marked usually by a grotesque birth defect or white hair or something like that. Although made quite popular with films like “Elephant Man”, this is completely false. Come on people, you cannot give your child a birth defect by watching Freddy chow down on the prom queen. While its true, a good scare can raise your heart rate and stress level, it is hardly worth being worried about giving your child a cleft pallet or a third eye ball. I can personally attest that I watched horror movies all the time while pregnant, being a huge fan, and none of my children are deformed or psychologically scarred for life from it. Not to mention women in war torn areas of the world give birth all the time after being exposed to horrendous real life horror that most of us would faint at and tend to have perfectly normal children. Extended stress however, can be detrimental to the pregnancy in general and should be avoided.
4.A wives tale that does have some merit is to not take a bath while your pregnant. While baths are perfectly fine for the first few trimesters, they are discouraged during the last few weeks of pregnancy by most physicians, especially for first time moms. This is not because there is any serious threat of injury to the child, but because inexperienced mothers may break their water without realizing it, especially if there are no major labor pains to accompany it or the water does not break all at once. Most physicians will usually discourage hot baths as opposed to a lukewarm bath as well as saunas and hot tubs due to the increased body temperature that if raised over an extended period of time could be detrimental to the fetus.
5.Injuring yourself will cause the baby to be born with a mark in the same area as your injury. This includes things like burning your hand on a hot stove, cutting yourself etc. Absolutely false folks. A minor injury to the woman has no effect on the fetus. This story is commonly used when explaining odd shaped or placed birth marks.
6.Drinking castor oil or cod liver oil will result in the onset of labor. Nope. All this does is make you really nauseous, and possibly help clean out your digestive tract.
7.Sex during pregnancy can harm the baby. In most cases, this is completely false. Most physicians advise pregnant women that they can have sex as long as they are comfortable during the act. There are some cases where women may not be able to engage in sex during pregnancy and should abstain due to a medical reason, otherwise, sexual intercourse is perfectly fine and will not injure the fetus.
8.Having LOTS of sex during the last trimester will cause labor to start earlier. Most likely not, but it could be fun to try.
9. Your supposed to avoid the following foods while pregnant: Sushi, hot dogs, smoked salmon, eggs, raw meat yada yada yada. Not so, there are not many foods you should avoid during pregnancy that you shouldnt avoid anyway depending on your diet and other health conditions. A perfectly healthy woman who becomes pregnant can eat any of these things using the same guidelines they would use to avoid bacteria that would cause salmanela and other food born viruses as they would if they were not pregnant. The only exception is for sushi, certain types containing makerel, shark, tilefish and swordfish can be a greater health risk than others, also obstetricians recommend limiting intake of tuna because of the risk of high mercury content.
10. Cocoa butter, cornhuskers oil, castor oil etc. will prevent stretchmarks. This is untrue. Cocoa butter makes the skin extra sensitive and can cause allergic reactions in some women. There is no scientific evidence that cocoa butter, cornhuskers oil, castor oil nor any other type of oil can help prevent stretchmarks, but they do make some women feel pretty and are not harmful to either the woman or the baby when used correctly.
Some myths concerning conception are also still widely accepted as fact by the general public even though science has proven otherwise.
1.Douching after sex will prevent pregnancy is commonly believed by young women everywhere. False. This is because after sexual intercourse, the sperm move up into the cervix and uterus which douching doesn’t reach. Douching only cleans the vaginal cavity. And since those suckers tend to move pretty fast, it’s doubtful any woman could douche in time to catch all the sperm before they enter the cervix.
2.Standing on your head will increase the chances of conception. Not! Although thousands of women still believe this to be true, sperm move towards the uterus regardless of your bodily position. All this will do is give you a headache and possibly whip lash.
3.Sexual position will determine the sex of the baby. Absolutely not. Although this might be a good way to talk your partner into trying something different if your feeling a little frisky, there is no scientific basis that any particular position is more likely to cause you to conceive a certain gender. It’s pretty much pure luck as to which sperm gets to the egg first.
4.A woman can determine the sex of the child by having sexual intercourse during certain times of the month or during certain days of her fertility cycle. This is completely false. There is no scientific basis that conception during certain times of a woman’s fertility cycle will increase the likelihood that the child will be one sex or the other. Since sperm can live for several days inside a woman’s body, there is not even a guarantee that having sex on a certain day will lead to fertilization on the same day, conception can occur days after sexual intercourse.
5.A woman cannot get pregnant if she does not have an orgasm. Again, completely false. An orgasm is a physical reaction to stimulus. It is in no way related to the chances that the sperm will fertilize an egg, although it does make the conception process more enjoyable, it is not a necessary component in conception.
6.A woman cannot get pregnant the first time she ever has sex. I would hope that most people with an education equal to that of an 8th grader in the U.S. would know this is completely false. A woman who is mature enough to ovulate can get pregnant regardless of whether or not she has ever had sex before.