If you are pregnant, you might be getting lot of advice’s from well-meaning people. You might be asking whether what they say is true. This article looks at some of the common myths you might hear and provides some answers.
1# Stress during pregnancy is always bad for the fetus
FACT: New research shows that a moderate level of stress is actually good for the fetus: It tones the fetus’s nervous system and accelerates its development. Women who experienced moderate stress during pregnancy have two-week-old infants with brains that work at a faster speed than infants of mothers without the same stress, and two-year old toddlers with higher motor and mental development scores.
2# Pregnant women shouldn’t eat sweets
FACT: There’s a big exception to this rule: chocolate. New studies show that pregnant women who eat chocolate every day during pregnancy have babies who show less fear and smile and laugh more often at six months of age. Another study finds that the women who eat five or more servings of the chocolate each week during their third trimester have 40 percent lower risk of developing dangerous high blood pressure condition known as the preeclampsia.
3# Pregnant women should avoid exercise
FACT: Actually, when a pregnant woman exercises, her fetus gets a beneficial workout, too. Research shows that the fetuses of pregnant women who are physically active have heart rates that are slower and more variable; both signs of cardiovascular health. The babies of exercisers have lower birth weights, and may even become more intelligent adults because of their bigger brains.
4# Pregnant women should stay away from seafood.
FACT: In fact, that by eating lots of the fish high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in the mercury during the pregnancy produces the smarter kids. Children whose mothers ate at least twelve ounces of seafood a week during pregnancy had higher verbal IQ, better social and communication skills, and superior motor skills, according to a study published in a leading journal.
5# There is such a thing as an ideal or perfect pregnancy that women should strive for.
FACT: Research is revealing that pregnancy is not a generically ideal experience to which one must aspire (and, inevitably, fall short of), but instead highly personal and particular shaping of the fetus for specific world into which it will be welcomed. The mix of influences the encounters in the womb are as individual and idiosyncratic as the pregnant woman herself — and that’s the way nature intended it.
6# Pregnancy is really just a nine-month wait for the big event: birth
FACT: Scientists are learning that pregnancy is a crucial period in itself: “the staging ground for well-being and disease in later life,” as one researcher puts it. Indeed, the pregnancy is now nothing less than scientific frontier. Obstetrics was once a very sleepy medical specialty, and the research on pregnancy a scientific backwater. Now the nine months of gestation are the focus of intense interest and excitement, and the subject of an exploding number of journal articles, books, and conferences.
7# The fetus is an inert being, a blob of tissue, and the pregnant woman is its passive incubator — or a source of always-imminent harm
FACT: Fetal research is revealing that the fetus is an active and dynamic creature, responding and even adapting to its surroundings as it readies itself for life in the particular world it will soon enter. Meanwhile, the scientists are learning that the pregnant woman is powerful and often the positive influence on her child even before it’s born.
8# We need to focus on all the things that can go wrong during pregnancy
FACT: As researchers are now discovering, it is conditions in the womb that make a lot of things go right in later life. The prenatal period, it turns out, is where many of the springs of health and strength and well-being are found, leading scientists to a new and much more positive perspective on pregnancy.
9# A fetus is sealed away in the uterus, unaffected by what’s going on outside
FACT: Much of what a pregnant woman encounters in her daily life — the air she breathes, the food and drink she consumes, the chemicals she’s exposed to — are shared in some fashion with her fetus. Pregnant women can protect their fetuses by abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes, by purchasing plastic products that are phthalate- and BPA-free, and by not putting plastic containers in the microwave or dishwasher.
10# All women feel happy during pregnancy
FACT: Research shows that pregnant women are just as likely as other women to suffer from mood disorders: Psychiatrists estimate that about 20 percent of pregnant women experience anxiety or depression. Depression during the pregnancy can increase risk of the premature delivery and the low birth weight, so the pregnant women who think they may be depressed should talk to their obstetricians. Therapy or the antidepressant medication can help.
11# Pregnant women don’t need any special help during natural disasters and other emergencies.
FACT: In fact, research indicates the stress of traumatic events can negatively affect the fetus. A study showing earlier births among pregnant women who experienced an earthquake in California and delayed development among children whose pregnant mothers suffered through an ice storm in Canada, is prompting new attention to the care of pregnant women in emergencies. Pregnant women can prepare themselves for such situation by devising emergency plan and by putting together emergency kit, filled with the bottled water, canned food, flashlights, battery-powered radio, and the first-aid kit.
12# Prenatal influences are about enrichment activities like playing Mozart for the fetus.
FACT: The nine-month-long process of shaping and molding that goes on in the womb is far more important than that: It is a crucial process of preparation for the specific world the baby will enter. What a fetus is absorbing in utero isn’t the music of Mozart, but the answers to questions much more critical to its survival: Will it be born into the world of abundance, or the scarcity? Will it be safe and protected, or will it face the constant dangers and the threats? Will it live long, fruitful life, or short, harried one? The resulting tuning and the tweaking of the fetus’s brain and also the other organs are part of what give the humans their enormous flexibility, their ability to thrive in the varied environments of survival.
13# notion that your month of birth can tell anything about you is just foolish astrology.
FACT: Actually, fetal research is showing that the time of year you were born can have a lasting impact on your mental and physical health. Individuals who were born in late summer or early fall are the taller and have the thicker bones than people born at other times of the year, for example, and the people who were born in the late winter or early spring are 10 percent more likely to develop the schizophrenia.
14# You can tell a baby’s sex from an ultrasound or amniocentesis; all the other methods of prediction you hear about are silly old wives’ tales.
FACT: In fact, fetal research is confirming some of the folklore about how to tell the sex of a baby. Women who have the severe morning sickness really are more likely to have the girls; women who have the big appetite are in fact more likely to be carrying the boys; and women who rely on a dream or a “feeling” have a surprisingly good chance of being right.
15# The development of conditions like obesity and diabetes has to do with the lifestyle choices we make as adults, not with our experience as fetuses.
FACT: Actually, it’s not only our lifestyle as adults that leads to disease, but the lifestyle our mothers practiced when they were pregnant with us. Low birth weight, for example, has an effect on the functioning of the blood vessels in later life that is as great as the effects of smoking.
Each one-kilogram decrease in the birth weight leads to a reduction in capacity of the blood vessels equivalent to the smoking twenty cigarettes day for four and a half years.
16# Children become overweight because of a genetic predisposition or because of family eating habits — not because of anything that happened during pregnancy.
FACT: Women who gain more than the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy have four times the risk of having an overweight child — a relationship that persists into the offspring’s adolescence. Research shows that of the children born to normal-weight mothers are less likely to be fat and have the bodies that process the fats and the carbohydrates in a healthier way than the brothers and the sisters born to the same mother when she was overweight. (source)
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