Pregnancy seems strange. Yes, I know it is natural/beautiful/necessary for our continued existence. But even our most goddess-embracing sisters have to admit that it’s a little freaky to have a human being grow inside of you – even if it is whispered in the dark of night, under a rock, and only to fairies that don’t exist.
Or maybe I’ve just heard too many pregnancy myths that make the act itself seem weird. After all, won’t your cat kill your unborn child? And who hasn’t heard that bumpy rides can cause labor/you can tell the gender of your baby by the way you are carrying/you lose a tooth with every pregnancy? But what’s true, what’s false, and what’s just weird old wives tales designed to scare teenagers out of sex? Here’s a look at some of the best pregnancy myths out there – and the truth behind them.
(Ultimately, of course, consult and take the advice of your doctor.)
If you raise your arms while pregnant, the baby will get the umbilical cord tangle around his or her neck.
This is FALSE. (And quite scary, I might add.) When an umbilical cord gets wrapped around a baby’s neck, it is because of the baby’s movements, not momma’s. You can twist, shout, and do the chicken dance and it will not affect the cord or your baby. It might give her an unexplained aversion to bad dance moves later in life, but I speculate.
Your cat can hurt your unborn baby.
This is FALSE, and not just because it sounds like Stephen King made it up. You can snuggle up with Fluffy as much as you’d like and your baby will be fine. However, pregnancy is a good time to pass off changing the kitty litter onto your significant other. Cat “number two” can contain the parasite toxoplasma gondii, which can cause deformities in developing fetuses. So as long as you lay off hanging around cat crap, you should be fine. (I know, it will be hard, right?)
Sex will harm the baby.
Happily, this is also FALSE. There is no evidence that sexual activity can hurt your unborn baby. You may not want to be hanging from an unsecured sex swing or performing otherwise acrobatic sexual feats. But the actual act itself is fine. In fact, evidence shows that it is even more enjoyable for you, as increased blood flow to the pelvic floor can enhance orgasms. There are some conditions that do make sex during pregnancy an issue – be sure to consult your doctor to learn if you have them.
You can tell the sex of the baby by the way you are carrying.
This is FALSE. Other than using ultrasound or amniocentesis, you cannot tell if you are going boy or girl by simply looking at the way you are carrying him/her. According to one expert, “Babies are carried differently based on their presentation (breech, vertex, transverse), their position (anterior, posterior), their gestational age and weight, maternal weight and stature and the mother’s parity (whether or not this is her first or eighth baby).”
You are more likely to go into labor during the full moon or stormy weather.
And this is also FALSE. Sure, my cousin the maternity nurse may disagree, but there is no scientific evidence that a full moon will send you into labor. Labor is caused by hormones and hormones alone. As for stormy weather – the stress of perhaps riding out a tornado in a bathtub could cause your hormones to trigger labor. So false – barring tornados, hurricanes, blizzards et al.