Monday, January 3, 2011

Busting Common Pregnancy and New Mommy Myths

Photo credit: Dizznboon (Flickr)
Take it easy!
Perhaps you've heard you're in a delicate condition, you aren't. You're pregnant not sick!  While some of your activities may need to change and you may encounter different challenges at different points in your pregnancy, you can take it normal.  If you exercise, try to keep it up and switch to different activities to meet your changing body's needs like giving up the elliptical for swimming.  If you don't regularly exercise, an evening walk is a great way to keep connected with your partner and reduce your risk of complications like gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.  When sitting try to stay in a good position and avoid always lounging with your feet up during your last trimester to encourage optimal fetal positioning.

You're eating for two!
This justification usually results in an extra slice of cake not more carrots.  Listen to your body's cues and eat healthful snacks throughout the day like cottage cheese, nuts, or a boiled egg. You should eat to satisfy and while it's okay to indulge a bit, try to meet your dietary needs with whole foods not sweets and junk food which can help prevent blood pressure and glucose complications.

Birth classes are pointless
Many people who tell you this have only attended the classes offered by the hospital.  Those classes often offer more info on procedures than techniques for birthing.  Consider attended a childbirth education class utilizing the HypnoBabies, Bradley or Birthing from Within methods.  These classes will help you learn coping techniques and other labor positions.  Sidenote: As an ICAN leader, a lot of women tell me they don't pay attention during the c-section info because they were planning a natural birth.  With the c-section rate over 32%, it is wise to know what to expect, especially since having that info can help you AVOID a c-section!

Photo credit: futurestreet (Flickr)
You should only gain X amount
I'm always shocked, and a bit disgusted, when a women says her doctor will only let her gain 10-15 lbs.  While it can be easy to put on more weight than seems healthy by modern obstetric guidelines, if you are following a healthful diet and staying active, weight gain should not be restricted to a predetermined amount regardless of your size.  Your body knows what it needs to grow this baby.  Offer it healthy food and activity and you'll gain the amount right for you.

You will become a sex fiend/you won't allow your husband to touch you
Truth is that hormones are different for everyone.  You might jump your partner every night or it may be a long nine months.  Sex can be beneficial during this last trimester in preparing your body for birth.  Even if it sounds a bit hard, give it a try.  It may take some adjustment, but as with any time in your life, the more sex you have, the more sex you have.

You'll feel great after the first trimester
For a lot of women as the placenta takes over hormone production, morning sickness and fatigue fade at the end of the first trimester but there's no concrete rule.  If you are still suffering talk with you midwife or physician about dietary and lifestyle changes that could help.

I bet you're ready to have that baby
Let go of your due date, baby is going to come when he's ready and don't rush him!  Believe it or not, you're going to miss those final days of blissful pregnancy - the tiny kicks and rolls, the beauty of your blossoming belly, the special bond between you and your unborn child.  Don't let people pressure you to rush your pregnancy, enjoy it and nurture it.  Baby will be here before you know it.

You'll never sleep again
You will.  In fact, if you're like most of us you'll be up every hour for the last month of your pregnancy peeing anyway!  The first few weeks do require more time awake feeding and changing diapers, but you won't feel like you're missing anything holding that baby!  Co-sleeping and breastfeeding will help reduce the amount of time you spend awake in the night and attachment parenting can help by reducing baby's fussy periods, leading to more restful sleep!

Swelling is normal
I still remember my OB laughing off my tree trunk ankles when I came in for a third trimester appointment as "pregnancy."  Swelling is one of the first signs of pre-eclampsia and other conditions.  Increasing the protein in your diet and getting enough water will help keep swelling away and reduce your risk of pre-eclampsia.  If you notice swelling, eat a steak dinner and some watermelon or grapes to help flush it through your system.  Nutrition can have a direct influence on this "common" pregnancy issue.

Photo credit: Raphael Goetter (Flickr)
Breastfeeding is hard/easy/too much work/awesome
Breastfeeding is an art.  Have moral support, be prepared to nurse frequently on demand, and realize it gets easier!  Don't romanticize breastfeeding or fear it.  It's a natural process that takes some skill.  Get involved with LLL before birth, have the number of a good Lactation Consultant handy, and ask for help if you need it. Like with any art, other breastfeeding moms are there to help you master it!


Kimberly@ said... [Reply to comment]

The 'normal swelling' one is huge for me. I remember with my first pregnancy, my SIL chuckling as she showed me pictures of her feet which looked like an elephant's. Her point was as if to say, 'now, THAT'S swelling'. However, I did have swelling in my legs and went to physical therapy for it from the 7th month. It helped but it always came back.

Fast forward. I'm pregnant again and seeing a new doctor who asked about swelling in the previous pregnancy. 'Nothing out of the ordinary', I said. She said that there's nothing 'ordinary' about swelling and that I was just lucky that I didn't end up with pre-eclampsia.

Glad to know that chugging more water and having a little more protein might help the situ before it becomes a situ!

Knitted_in_the_Womb said... [Reply to comment]

What a great post!

I have to disagree on the swelling issue though. Swelling can be a sign of pre-eclampsia...or it can just be swelling. Of my 5 pregnancies, the one I swelled up the most was my 1st, when I was taking childbirth classes that promoted the Brewer Diet so I was really focussed on eating to match it. In my first 4 pregnancies I always had to remove my wedding rings by about 26-30 weeks, and I kept needing bigger shoes...all from swelling. I was not pre-eclamptic though. With my youngest child I was the most "non-Brewer" in my diet, I did not swell. I wore my wedding ring the day I gave birth.

I also had a blood pressure of 165/115 2 days prior to giving birth, and blood tests showed that my kidney function was decreasing, both serious signs of pre-eclampsia.

Of course I knew better...I knew to eat better, and my nutrition had been terrible in my first trimester because I was trying not to gain too much weight. I ate healthy food, just not enough of it to be properly nourished.

I've since learned more about the Brewer Diet than I had learned in my childbirth classes in my first pregnancy, or through being a certified childbirth educator who taught the Brewer Diet. I learned this through a new childbirth org, Brio Birth. I'm now a certified Brio Birth instructor. I hope you will look into Brio Birth ( and consider adding it to the methods of childbirth education that you recommend. I am so excited to be teaching it. I truly believe it is the most updated and comprehensive childbirth education method currently available.

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