Here we’ll discuss those pregnancy tales we’ve all heard from a sister, aunt, friend or even a stranger on our morning commute. This is the information sharing that nobody really asked for, but has somehow stood up through generations of expecting mothers. These are the myths that just can’t be true. Or can they be? A pregnant woman’s body undergoes tremendous transformation in the months leading up to baby’s arrival. Do these changes unlock clues into what our babies will look like or whether we’re about to meet a son or daughter? Or are they just fun games to pass the time and keep us guessing until our little one makes their debut? They’ve proven to have a place in baby shower games, but how much weight do they really hold? Let’s explore the line between pregnancy myths and facts.
Myth: Heartburn = A Full Head of Hair
When my youngest daughter was born everyone who greeted us asked, “Did you have a lot of heartburn?” Or just assumed, “Oh you must’ve had bad heartburn.” My sweet girl had the most beautiful head of dark downy hair. Her shoulders, back and body were covered in fine, dark hair that fell out within a few months. She was my little monkey and looked nothing like her still mostly bald sister, born just 15 months prior.
We were as surprised as anyone. I had zero heartburn during my pregnancy. A few days before her birth, I had slight indigestion that I took as a sign she would be arriving soon. That was it. I had it worse with my bald baby. Other moms swear that heartburn during their pregnancy was an early indicator of a full head of hair. Although true for some mom’s, it’s more than likely a coincidence.
Myth: Expensive Creams and Lotions Keep Stretch Marks at Bay
There’s minimal evidence to suggest creams prevent tiger stripes from appearing. Stretch marks first occur in the deep layers of skin, the layers lotion doesn’t penetrate. In fact, they’re primarily determined by genetics. If your mom or aunt had them, you’re at higher risk. Creams and lotions will help relieve uncomfortable stretching and itching that comes with a growing belly, but there’s no need to spend extra on one made specifically for stretch marks.
Myth: Morning Sickness is an AM Activity
One of the biggest and most bogus pregnancy myths is that morning sickness happens in the morning. Experts confirm the surge of hormones that cause pregnancy nausea can strike at any time of the day. While this sickness most commonly disappears after the first trimester, it can linger throughout the pregnancy or make a return closer to your due date. A more severe condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum generally leads to hospitalization. Celebrities like Kate Middleton and Amy Schumer have recently brought it to the spotlight.
Myth: Your Body Tells a Pink or Blue Story
Carrying high? It’s a girl! Carrying low? It’s a boy! The way mama carries her little one makes for a fun baby shower game but isn’t proven by science. Babies move around a lot on the inside and can change their position daily, if not hourly. This is obviously not a dependable method to determine gender.
But what if baby’s heartbeat is consistently in the higher range? That means you must be having a girl! At least that’s what the stranger on the bus told you. That friend of your mother-in-law confirmed it. Not necessarily. A good friend of mine was convinced she was carrying a litte lady. At every appointment baby’s heart rate was above 150 beats per minute. Imagine her surprise when she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy! Since both my girls had different heart rates at every check-in, I’m willing to say this one is pure myth.
Do our cravings reveal clues to baby’s gender? Perhaps. Sweet cravings are said to indicate a baby girl, while savory is telling of a little dude. This one rang relatively true for myself. But since a friend who brought home a daughter only craved chicken wings and spicy foods, I’ll venture to say this may be more fiction than fact.
Whether you’ve got that pregnancy glow or baby is sucking the life out of your hair, skin and nails is another mythical indicator. It’s said that glowing skin is a sure sign of a boy, while girls deplete us of our natural beauty. Moms of boys who experienced severe morning sickness or pregnancy acne would tend to disagree with this fable.
Myth: Cut the Coffee and Sell the Cat
Pregnant women are told they shouldn’t consume caffeine, sushi, fish, deli meat; and the list goes on. Doctor recommendations may vary, but whatever your trusted medical professional tells you, is what you should go on.
Some pregnant women believe they can no longer touch their beloved pet cat. This is false. You can still cuddle kitty, just don’t change his litter. Cats are known to carry a parasite in their feces that is harmful to pregnant women. It’s best to have someone else take over litter duty until baby arrives.
Leave the Games for the Shower
The most accurate information about your health and baby is not likely to be found in tall tales and folklore. It’s best to consult your doctor for the facts and keep the guessing games to the baby shower. Pregnancy myths have their place, but shouldn’t be taken as fact.