7 Pregnancy Myths Totally Busted
Plus 2 old wives' tales that are actually true
When you’re pregnant, everyone has to weigh in. You look great! You look tired! That’s definitely a boy! You’re gonna pop any second! You’re about seven months along, right? No? Just five months? Expectant moms have heard it all, so arm yourself with real information before you take that bump out on the town.
Myth: Your third trimester is a no-fly zone
Britain’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released new advice on flying for expectant moms earlier this year. Flying is fine at any time for those with low-risk pregnancies, but some airlines and doctors suggest a 37-week (or even earlier) cutoff, since you could technically go into labor at any moment that close to your due date. Still, ever tried to squeeze an eight-month belly into a coach seat and then sit still for four hours? No, thanks.
Myth: You can't drink coffee
Good news for latte-addicts everywhere: You can safely have one to two eight-ounce cups of coffee (or several cups of tea) per day and still come in under the 200-milligram limit suggested by the March of Dimes. (Check out the organization’s handy caffeine chart here.) The jury’s still out on whether larger amounts of caffeine are bad for your baby, but since science doesn’t know for sure, it’s best not to overdo it.
Truth: Heartburn equals a hairy baby
It sounds ridiculous, right? But in 2007, researchers at Johns Hopkins University did a study that showed that high levels of estrogen and other hormones--which also can cause heartburn--can contribute to fetal hair growth.
Myth: You shouldn't dye your hair
The American Pregnancy Association says that chemicals used in coloring, bleaching, relaxing or perming your hair are absorbed by your skin in such small amounts that they’re unlikely to reach the fetus or do any harm. So go ahead and try that bronde lob you’ve been thinking about all fall.
Myth: Carrying low means you're having a boy
Pay no attention to people who think they can predict your baby’s gender based on how high or low--or skinny or wide--your belly is. Your pregnancy profile depends more on how tall you are and maybe even how toned your abs are, says Fit Pregnancy.
Myth: Bad skin means you're having a girl
Girls steal their mothers’ beauty, right? Um, wrong. You’re producing more progesterone when you’re pregnant, and this causes many women to break out whether they’re carrying a boy or a girl. Give your skin some TLC with these tips from pregnancy bible What To Expect.
Myth: You're 35. Better get cracking
Women are almost as fertile in their late 30s as they are in their late 20s, according to several studies cited in this panic-calming article by an older mom that appeared in The Atlantic. (Among women doing the deed twice a week, 82 percent of women age 35 to 39 get pregnant in a year, says one.) Fertility drops notably after 40, but even then, many women still have a good chance of conceiving.
Truth: A turkey sandwich is bad for your baby
Pregnant women are often told they shouldn’t eat deli meat, a restriction that is greeted with eye rolls by some moms and docs. But a recent Purdue University study found that the presence of L. monocytogenes--the bacteria that can lead to an infection called listeriosis, which can cause miscarriage--was higher than expected in retail delis in three states. Can’t live without your ham-and-cheese fix? Make the sandwich at home and cook the meat until it’s steaming hot--at least 165 degrees--to kill off any bacteria.
Myth: You're eating for 2
Sadly enough, pregnant women need only about 300 additional calories per day in their second and third trimesters--and those extra calories should ideally come from nutritious foods. (Here’s the official lowdown.) But come on, you’re pregnant. If you seriously crave a Cronut, we dare your well-meaning mother-in-law to stand in your way.