Myths About Pregnancy

Myths About Pregnancy

Michele Hakakha (Obstetrician / Gynecologist) gives expert video advice on: Can I figure out if I'm having a boy or a girl by the shape of my belly?; Does being pregnant mean I should 'eat for two'?; If I have heartburn when I'm pregnant, will my baby have lots of hair? and more...

Can I figure out if I'm having a boy or a girl by the shape of my belly?

No, you can't. It's funny because I do hear that all day long and it's the way that the woman looks when she's pregnant has a lot to do with her genetic make-up, has a lot to do with the depth of her pelvis and women who have deeper pelvises hide the baby so they don't show until further along. If they really have tough abdominal muscles, the shape of the uterus all these things come into play so it really just depends on the woman's genetic make-up and not whether she's carrying a boy or a girl.

Does being pregnant mean I should 'eat for two'?

No, it doesn't. It means that you should eat for an additional tiny little thing, and especially when you start off at the beginning of the pregnancy. We're talking about a foetus that is a few millimetres in size and we usually tell people to eat an additional three hundred calories a day, and that will carry them throughout the pregnancy. Eating for two is going to put too much weight on somebody.

If I have heartburn when I'm pregnant, will my baby have lots of hair?

That is a very common thought and we have no hard evidence that tells us that having heart burn is related to hair growth in babies. There are a few studies that have come out that have shown that women have higher progesterone levels, have relaxation of their gastro-intestinal tract which which can lead to reflux and heartburn. And there has been some association with progesterone and hair growth levels in fetuses. So there may be an association but that is not a guarantee.

Will eating fish when I'm pregnant make my child autistic?

There's been no association between mercury levels in fish with autism. Autism is a really tough disease. We don't quite have answers for why children are diagnosed with autism. We do like women to get omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which are found in fish and we prefer that they stick with the low mercury content fish. And additionally we offer a lot of women DHA supplements with their prenatal vitamin to take the place of fish oil.

Is it unsafe to pet a cat while pregnant?

Cats carry something caused toxoplasmosis, which is a parasite that we don't want women to contract when they're pregnant because it can lead to certain birth defects. If someone has a cat, the best thing to do is speak with the obstetrician and they can draw toxoplasmosis panels on the woman and see whether or not she's been exposed. If she has not, it is best to stay away from cats.

Is it dangerous for me to exercise while pregnant?

No and in fact we recommend exercise during pregnancy. Something low impact: walking, swimming, even jogging is okay initially. Aerobics. Yoga. We do recommend that women stop and check their pulse and make sure that their pulse is below a certain rate because we don't want their core temperature to rise too much when they're pregnant. But <a href="http://www.videojug.com/interview/pregnancy-exercise">pregnancy exercise</a> is wonderful. Helps shorten labor. Decrease weight gain overall.

If a pregnant woman raises her arms above her head, will the umbilical cord wrap around the baby's neck?

No, I heard that a lot when I was pregnant from my mother-in-law. Umbilical cords are often around babies when we deliver them. They are often around the arms, the legs, the neck. It is a common thing and it usually happens in the first trimester when they are very small and they can swim circles around their umbilical cord. It has nothing to do with a movement that a mother is doing and is very rarely dangerous for the baby.

Is it true that acute morning sickness means you're going to have a girl?

Anecdotally, in my practice it seems to be the case, but there's no evidence. We think that girls may also produce a little more progesterone than boy foetuses, and that can relax the gastrointestinal tract and cause more nausea, vomiting, heartburn and things like that. But no direct link.

Is it dangerous to take a bath while pregnant?

We do recommend that when people take baths that they keep their bathtubs below a certain temperature and typically that number is a hundred and two. No one generally has a thermometer, so we just tell people to take lukewarm baths, because we know that women are in areas where the temperature is elevated; like Jacuzzis, saunas, and hot tubs. These things that raise body temperature in a female can actually lead to neural tube defects in the baby in the first trimester.

Will drinking alcohol while pregnant definitely give my baby fetal alcohol syndrome?

It takes five to seven alcoholic drinks a day to cause fetal alcohol syndrome. We certainly can't as physicians recommend that women have alcohol during pregnancy. However, if someone has a glass of wine here or there in the second or third trimester, there's never been any evidence that it will affect a fetus.

Is it unsafe to sleep on my back while pregnant?

After 20 weeks we recommend that women sleep on their sides. The reason for this is that the aorta and the vena cava, which are the major blood vessels in the body, course on the right side of the body. After 20 weeks, the weight of the uterus is so great that lying on someone's back for a long period of time can actually decrease blood flow to the woman's heart and therefore to the placenta. What happens inevitably is that women will wake up on their backs and worry and say, "Oh my gosh, I've been on my back." We tell them not to worry, and to just turn on their left side. We just want to avoid being flat on the back for eight hours straight.