Fact or Fiction: Pregnancy Edition

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Some old wives’ tales about pregnancy and childbirth are more tall tale than medical reality.  

If you carry your baby high or wide, it’s a girl, while carrying low means it’s a boy.

Truth: How you carry your baby has nothing to do with the gender and everything to do with how your baby is positioned. Mom’s anatomy also has a role in how the baby looks in utero — stretched out pelvic muscles mean you may carry lower with each pregnancy.

If you have heartburn, your baby will have a full head of hair.

Truth: While heartburn is a normal pregnancy symptom, it has no connection to how much hair your newborn will have. If you have heartburn, you are equally likely to have a bald baby as one with luscious locks.

Pregnant women and newborns should avoid cats, as cat dander is harmful to pregnant women, and cats have an instinct to hurt babies.

Truth: Exposure to cats and cat dander will not harm mom any more than it would when she isn’t expecting. Feel free to love on your cat as much as you want while pregnant. However, handling cat feces or litter can pass on toxoplasmosis, a disease that can cause birth defects. Pregnant women should delegate litter box duty. Your cat will also not instinctually harm your infant, although you should take proper steps to prepare your cat for the new addition.

Expectant mothers need to eat for two.

Truth: Pregnant women only need about 300 extra calories a day. Focus on eating a balanced diet with plenty of calcium, iron and folate. Normal weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI). Talk with your physician about what healthy weight gain means for you.

Bathing during pregnancy is bad for your baby.

Truth: Some women worry about drowning a baby during a bath. However, babies are already surrounded by liquid inside the amniotic sac and get their oxygen from the mother’s placenta — even if water could enter the amniotic sac, it’s impossible to drown a baby in utero.

However, hot tubs and very hot baths are dangerous for your baby. Keep the bath water temperature below 98 degrees Fahrenheit and your body temperature at a normal level to avoid birth defects.

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