Knowing the common myths surrounding pregnancy can help you discover what is right for you and your baby.
Much of what people believe about pregnancy is based on old rumors. Fortunately, modern medical research exposes many of the most significant pregnancy myths and facts. Some pregnancy myths are amusing, but others may cause needless worries, and yet others can lead to bad choices that risk fetal health as well as pregnant women’s health. Fortunately, findings from modern fetal research inform us about the realities of pregnancy. The following information is provided to help you dismiss myths about pregnancy and be prepared with facts.
Myth 1: A normal pregnancy is nine months.
The term of pregnancy varies by up to five weeks less or more than the generally recognized nine-month mark. A normal term of pregnancy is 37-41 weeks. The median length of pregnancy is 38 weeks and 2 days, and only about 4% of women deliver at 280 days (which is 9 months). Research reveals that height and age of the mother, along with her pre-pregnancy body mass index among other factors, all influence the length of pregnancy.
Myth 2: You need many more calories, because you are eating for two.
When you are pregnant you are indeed eating for two, but not for two adults. Women with normal body weight prior to pregnancy need only around 300 additional calories daily for fetal growth. That is about the number of calories in a small healthful snack. Women of normal pre-pregnancy weight should not gain more than 25-35 pounds during pregnancy, and less than that for overweight women.
Myth 3: You must not run or do other rigorous exercise during pregnancy.
Much of the decision about exercise during pregnancy depends on what you were routinely doing prior to becoming pregnant. You can probably continue your regimen of running on a treadmill or other joint-friendly surface during pregnancy. Or, perhaps you can switch to a prenatal fitness training program at some point during your first, second, or third trimester, depending upon your doctor’s recommendation.
Myth 4: You will lose the baby weight during delivery.
Women typically gain between 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. But, most women lose no more than 10-15 pounds when giving birth. This includes the weight of the baby, plus some amount of water weight. It normally takes at least a year to lose the remainder. Breastfeeding can increase the rate of weight loss after pregnancy.
Myth 5: All medications must be stopped during pregnancy.
While there are some medications that are not appropriate for pregnant women, as they carry the risk of birth defects, there are some medications that women should definitely not stop taking during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about all medications you take, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal or dietary supplements prior to becoming pregnant.
For More Information
The board-certified physicians at the Woman’s Clinic in Little Rock have been providing state-of-the-art women’s health care in a private, comfortable setting, since the 1930s. Contact the Woman’s Clinic by calling 501-664-4131 if you have questions about pregnancy, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for a consultation with a Little Rock OB/GYN. Our obstetrics and gynecology practice includes routine and high-risk obstetrics, infertility testing and treatment, gynecological surgery, and treatment of urinary conditions.