From clues that supposedly reveal you baby’s gender to warnings against taking a bath, get to the bottom of these old wives’ tales.
From the baby shower to choosing the color of the nursery, getting everything ready for your baby’s arrival is an exciting part of your pregnancy journey.
But can these 6 pregnancy myths and old wives’ tales help you to prepare? Let's dive in.
Myth: Carrying high or low is a clue to the baby’s gender
Some claim you can tell your baby’s gender by whether you’re carrying high or low. If you’re carrying low, they’ll say you’re having a boy. Carrying high? They’re convinced it’s a girl.
The truth is, how you carry depends on your body type and personal situation.
“If this isn’t your first pregnancy, you’ll likely carry lower because your stomach muscles have changed — they’re more elastic,” explains Caroline Riegel, certified nurse midwife at Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital. “If you’re carrying higher, it’s because your stomach muscles are less elastic.”
Myth: Heartburn when pregnant? Your baby has a lot of hair.
It’s been said that having severe heartburn means your baby will be born with lots of hair. And some studies have found a correlation between mothers’ heartburn and babies’ hair growth. But other research indicates there’s no connection.
“It’s more likely that the heartburn is caused by the hormones that cause a baby’s hair growth,” says Ms. Riegel.
Myth: Your partner gained weight, so you’re having a girl
The story goes that if your partner puts on weight during your pregnancy, you’re having a baby girl. But this just simply isn’t true. If your partner’s putting on weight, it likely has nothing to do with your pregnancy.
“This is different from sympathetic pregnancy, also known as couvade syndrome,” says Ms. Riegel. “The symptoms a partner may experience during sympathetic pregnancy include nausea, heartburn, leg cramps, anxiety and depression.”
Myth: It’s not OK to take a bath when pregnant
We’ll come right out and say it: This one isn’t true. Bath time is no danger to your baby.
“Your womb insulates and protects your baby, so you have nothing to fear when taking a bath,” says Ms. Riegel.
This myth is based on old information about how the body works, and while it isn’t true, expecting moms should stay away from saunas and hot tubs, where bacteria can thrive.
Myth: Breastfeeding acts as birth control
Some mothers may not want to get pregnant soon after having a baby and may trust old wisdom that says breastfeeding can serve as a form of contraception. As rumor has it, exclusively breastfeeding your baby every four hours for six months after they're born will stop your body from ovulating.
“While this may work for some people, it isn’t a foolproof form of contraception,” says Ms. Riegel. “If you don’t want to have another baby soon, you may want to use another form of birth control.”
Myth: Sex when pregnant can hurt the baby
A number of myths go along with this one: “The baby will know! Sex can cause preterm labor! We can harm the fetus!” Overall, sex while pregnant is perfectly safe.
“Unless your pregnancy is high risk, any bleeding or cramping after sex is not abnormal,” explains Ms. Riegel. “Of course, talk with your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have.”
Chances are, you’ve heard some of these (and other) old wives’ tales during your pregnancy. While they’re all in good fun, always remember your doctor can help you navigate any questions you have along the way — whether or not they’re based on myths.