You’ve found out you’re pregnant, and are preparing to tell your family and friends your exciting news. But, as soon as you open your mouth and the words begin to pass your lips, you hear them- shouting, red-faced, and shrieking. Before you know it, you’re surrounded…
Here come the know-it-all parents.
Whether they’re chewing your ear off about some new supplement guaranteed to help your body ‘spring back to normal’, or chastising you for continuing your day to day activities (turns out you can continue to cuddle your pet cat!), the know-it-alls are unfortunately part of the pregnancy experience. They’ll usually have no medical knowledge and get all of their facts from Mumsnet, but there’s just no arguing with them.
Jokes aside, whilst exciting, pregnancy can be very overwhelming at times. New parents are often swamped with facts and figures about what to eat, what to avoid, and how to behave, creating lots of anxiety. This anxiety, which a majority of new parents experience, is completely normal. For many, this anxiety can manifest into a short 1 week period referred to as the ‘baby blues’ wherein a new parent may experience low mood and mild depression. However, for at least 1/10 women, this anxiety and low-mood can develop into a more serious long-term issue, such as postnatal depression.
Because of this, it’s important that these misconceptions are put to bed early on to help ease your mind, and to allow more time for looking after yourself and your wellbeing. The team at Recognize are here to dispel the rumours and find the truth behind the most popular pregnancy myths and misconceptions!
Myth 1: You can’t have sex while pregnant
You’ll be pleased to know that you can still ‘get it on’ whilst pregnant! Sex can help you to sleep better, lower your blood pressure, and increase your dopamine levels, helping to boost happiness and reduce stress. This being said, it’s always a good idea to get the go-ahead from your general practitioner before having sex.
Your amniotic sac works hard to keep your child safe during pregnancy, and keeps your baby far away from where the deed is happening, so you don’t have to worry about hurting your child or having an audience!
Bear in mind that there are some exceptions; if the pregnancy is high risk, you’re carrying twins or more, or you experience unexplained bleeding or cramps amongst other issues, speak to your practitioner for advice before getting intimate. If you or your partner have been sexually active with other people recently, make sure to do a routine STI test. If you are not in a mutually monogamous relationship, use a condom- an STI can cause serious health problems for both your baby and yourself.
Myth 2: You can’t pet cats while pregnant
Thankfully, you don’t have to ignore your feline friend during your pregnancy. This myth does however stem from a source of truth; specifically, a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii which causes the disease toxoplasmosis.
Cats infected with toxoplasmosis shed the eggs into their litter trays through feces, so it is true that pregnant women shouldn’t handle any cat litter. If possible, have friends or family change your cat’s litter for you. If this is absolutely not possible, make sure you use clean, disposable gloves when handling litter, throw away the gloves after use, and thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
Myth 3: Eating too many oranges whilst pregnant will turn your baby orange
This is an old-wives tale that is still making the rounds in the pregnancy world, and is absolutely not true. Oranges are a fantastic source of vitamin C and won’t cause any issues for your child. Jaundice is caused by having too much bilirubin in the blood, not by oranges!
Bilirubin is a yellow pigment produced after primitive red blood cells are destroyed, which is common after birth. Infant jaundice only lasts for around 7-10 days after birth and disappears once the baby’s matured liver is able to get rid of the excess bilirubin. If you are concerned, make sure you speak to your midwife or general practitioner (GP).
Myth 4: You can’t have a bath while pregnant
Grab those candles and your favourite face mask, because you can have a bath while pregnant! However, it’s very important to keep the temperature of the bath water in mind. On average, a healthy pregnant woman’s internal temperature is about 0.4-0.8°F hotter than a non-pregnant woman.
When a pregnant woman’s core temperature rises 2°F above their core temperature of 99°F, the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) increases. Because of this, it is important to keep your core temperature below 101°F. If you’re not sure how to measure the temperature, get a thermometer to keep in your bathtub. If you feel overheated, take a cool shower to lower your internal temperature.
This means you should stay away from hot tubs, jacuzzis, and hot bath water. Stick to soaking in warm water, and try to avoid bath bombs and oils as these can cause yeast infections, and not all medicines for yeast infections are safe to take during pregnancy.
Myth 5: You’ll be glowing the entire time
We often see expectant parents portrayed as being ecstatically happy and ‘glowing’ at all times. The truth is- well, there isn’t much truth to it at all. Aside from a higher blood volume in your vessels that can result in ‘glowing’ skin, this myth is simply not true. Pregnancy is hard, and whilst for most it can bring on some sort of anxiety, 4/5 new parents experience the ‘baby blues’ for up to around 1 week post-birth, and at least 1/10 women experience more serious conditions such as postnatal depression.
Not everything will be rosy and glowing, and that’s ok! Enjoy the exciting parts and soak in the joyful parts of your pregnancy, but remember that it’s ok to not always be ok. Prioritise your health and well-being, both physical and mental, and remind yourself that there is always someone to talk to if things get rough.
Give yourself some slack and enjoy the ride, bumps and all- you’re doing amazingly.
If you’re in need of more support, contact us at Recognize to see how our services can help you. If you haven’t already, check out our socials!
Youtube: Recognize Ltd
If you need immediate help or crisis support, reach out to a hotline:
- Samaritans: 116 123 (free to call, does not appear on your phone bill)
- 999 for emergency services
- Visit A&E if you don’t have access to a phone