Pregnancy myths debunked


Don't hang the washing on the line: your baby will end up with her cord wrapped around her neck

When nesting kicks in, you may want to wash and hang 500 tiny pairs of baby socks on the line. Perhaps this is where the myth originated - in a quest to keep moms off their feet. But raising your hands above your head isn't dangerous. 

"Your baby twists inside you regardless of what you do and that's what could cause the cord to get wrapped around her neck," explains Johannesburg-based midwife Janine Nash.

Plaiting your hair will result in a difficult birth

Cutting, braiding or plaiting your hair won't affect your baby's birth in any way. But many experts do advise against hair dye. "The most common birth difficulty occurs when a baby grows too big for her mother - and this is caused by genes or diabetes. Pain and tension can also make labour longer," cautions Janine. 

If you eat too many sweet things, your baby will drool. If you eat liver or kidney you will have a bald baby. Oh, and if you eat too much spinach, your baby will have dark birthmarks.

While it’s true that you should try not to eat too much sweet stuff when pregnant and that you should steer away from liver and kidney, it’s not for the reasons you’re being told.

“When too much sugar crosses the placenta, your baby’s pancreas learns to overproduce insulin. If this happens, not only will your baby be big, but he or she may be predisposed to diabetes,” warns registered dietician and Your Baby expert Nicqui Grant, adding that liver and kidney should be avoided because of its high vitamin A levels that can lead to birth defects – not bald babies.

But spinach is a great source of fibre and roughage and good for both you and your baby, she says. At the end of the day, “hairy babies, bald babies, and babies with birthmarks are all created at conception and nothing that you eat or drink will change your baby in any way – but of course, you need to stay away from drugs and alcohol,” explains Cindy Homewood, co-owner of the Bowwood Baby Clinic in Cape Town.

“It all comes down to genes,” she says. She also points out that babies start to drool at 10 to 12 weeks as part of an oral developmental milestone and all babies go through it.

If you stand in the middle of your doorframe to chat to a neighbour, your baby's birth passage will be obstructed.

Not true. Your feet and back will just get sore. If your baby’s birth passage is obstructed, it’ll be because baby is too big and can’t pass through.

“Sometimes the pelvic bones are not the ideal shape for birth, or the muscle and tissue in the area are just too tight to allow the passage of the baby,” maintains Janine. But this is unlikely.

Heartburn? Get ready for a hairy baby

If you’re battling with heartburn, you only have your pregnancy to blame for it, and certainly not the amount of hair on your baby. According to Nicqui, heartburn is very common in pregnancy and occurs from a lack of space in the stomach.

“The food you eat is pushed up, and there’s very little space between where your food is sitting and the base of your oesophagus, making reflux far more likely,” she says.

What’s more, the placenta also produces the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the valve that separates the oesophagus from the stomach, allowing gastric acids to seep back up and cause discomfort. Drinking a glass of milk can help.

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