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5 myths about pregnancy

Posted on Oct. 5, 2015 ( comments)
pregnancy myths facts

Pregnancy can be a time filled with excitement, anticipation and occasionally, confusion. 

While expectant moms plan and prepare for a new family member there's a lot of advice to navigate about what to do — and what not to do — from friends, family, Facebook and strangers standing in line at the grocery store.

We want to help you have a happy and healthy pregnancy so we talked to a few experts to debunk common myths. 

Myth #1: "If you don’t get to the hospital after that first contraction, you could have your baby in the car."

Reality: While babies being born en route to the hospital sometimes appear in your Facebook feed and on the evening news, relax, it's not likely you will have your baby in the car.

"The reason you see it in the news is because it doesn't happen every day," says Yvonne Yao, MD, FACOG, MultiCare Auburn Women's Center

Dr. Yao also points out first-time labors can be long — like 24 hours long. If doctors send you home during the early stages of labor, it doesn't mean you are destined to deliver your baby curbside. It means you either aren't in labor or are in pre-labor.  

Myth #2: "Sorry, I can't meet you for Zumba because I'm pregnant."

Reality: Exercise has been shown to lower the risk for pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and preterm delivery.

"Exercise during pregnancy is not only healthful for mom but helpful for the baby," says David Minehan, MD, MultiCare Kent Clinic. "Any kind of exercise helps for building endurance. Labor is a workout. Even just walking for exercise helps a mom have more stamina for labor."

Dr. Minehan Remember to stay hydrated while you work out. And you should always stop exercising and call your health care provider if you experience vaginal bleeding, dizziness or faintness, shortness of breath or contractions.

OB tip: Avoid activities with a high risk of falling and stay away from contact sports.

Myth #3: "Stay away from medications and vaccines during pregnancy."

Reality: The influenza and Tdap vaccines are not only safe for pregnant women, but also recommended. 

Nobody likes getting the flu. During pregnancy the flu can have serious complications. The influenza vaccine is not only effective and safe for pregnant women, it can also help protect baby from the flu after she is born. 

Dr. Minehan dispels a myth about vaccines during pregnancy and the flu vaccine in general.

"Absolutely, the flu shot is safe for pregnant women. It doesn’t have a live virus; just proteins from the virus, so there is no way you can get the flu from the flu shot."

The Tdap vaccine protects mom and baby from whooping cough — a highly contagious respiratory tract infection.

For other medications during pregnancy, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. Review any current medications you are taking with your OB to make sure it’s safe to continue. 

OB tip: Start taking a prenatal vitamin, especially folic acid, before pregnancy, if you can.

Myth #4: "Please pass the pizza, I’m eating for two."

Reality: You might be eating for two but that doesn't mean double the calories.

As a rule of thumb, Dr. Yao says pregnant women should eat around 300 extra calories per day.

"One extra serving of dairy is all you really need. You are growing another person so you need a little more energy to do that, but it's not much more."

Healthy weight gain during pregnancy varies from expectant mother to expectant mother. Talk to your doctor about what makes sense for your pregnancy and diet.

Myth #5: "No caffeine, seafood, air travel or stress when you're pregnant."

Reality: Just because you're pregnant, doesn't mean you can't have fun. While a few things are off the table, such as alcohol and raw fish, Dr. Yao offer a few guidelines to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

"You can't avoid stress, and a little bit of stress is good," Dr. Yao says.

She recommends moderation as a good rule of thumb for most things, including activity, food and coffee. 

"A cup of coffee is fine. We're not talking a giant travel mug with five shots of espresso in it; we mean a 6- to 8-ounce cup of coffee."

Planning a babymoon? Dr. Yao says air travel is generally safe during pregnancy and probably the most comfortable in the mid-trimester. However, check with your provider before you book your trip. Travel might not be recommended if you have a high-risk pregnancy.

OB tip: Promoting blood circulation and staying hydrated is important during air travel. Drink lots of water and walk the length of the airplane every hour while in flight.

For new and future parents:

Learn more about South King County Baby Week, October 5-9, 2015.

Learn more about giving birth at Tacoma General Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup or Auburn Medical Center.

If you're pregnant (or thinking about becoming pregnant), find a physician.

Learn more about the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Tacoma General Hospital.

Posted in: General Vitals

About The Author

Jen Rittenhouse Jen Rittenhouse
Jen Rittenhouse is the social media manager for MultiCare and Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. She writes stories that connect people with hospitals, health care and each other. You can reach her at [email protected].
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