Moms-to-be receive all kinds of information regarding their pregnancy, whether they seek out these particulars in a magazine or online or are on the receiving end of advice from a well-meaning loved one (or stranger!).
With all these sources in play, you should caution your students that not all information is worth taking to heart.
Below are four of the most common myths expectant mothers hear and how you can debunk these misconceptions in your classes.
1. Myth: you’re eating for two.
A pregnant woman needs to take in enough nutrients to keep her and her growing baby healthy, but pregnancy is not an excuse to overeat. On average, a pregnant woman need only consume an additional 300 calories per day — only a minor increase from her regular diet.
2. Myth: it’s OK to skip the flu shot.
Some pregnant women worry that getting the flu shot will actually give them the flu or, worse, cause harm to their unborn baby. In reality, the flu shot will not cause the flu and there’s no evidence that the flu vaccine is harmful to fetuses.
If a woman gets the flu during pregnancy, she has a higher risk of becoming sicker than she normally would and a higher risk of dying from the flu than the general population. By getting the flu shot, a pregnant woman is taking an important step in protecting herself and her baby from influenza.
3. Myth: sex during pregnancy is dangerous.
Some women have been told that having sex can hurt the baby or that an orgasm may cause a miscarriage. Since the baby is fully protected by the amniotic sac and strong uterine muscles, and a thick mucous plug seals the cervix, sex can’t physically hurt the baby. And orgasms shouldn’t pose a concern for women who are experiencing a normal pregnancy. In certain cases, such as when there is any risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, or if the woman is having unexplained vaginal bleeding, a woman’s doctor may advise her to avoid sex. A pregnant woman should not have sex if she suspects her membranes may have ruptured.
Pregnant women need to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases because these diseases could be transmitted to the baby.
4. Myth: you can’t run during pregnancy.
As long as a woman was running regularly prior to becoming pregnant and she’s experiencing a normal pregnancy, she will likely be able to continue running after she becomes pregnant. If her doctor gives her the OK, she can continue running throughout her pregnancy as long as it remains comfortable.
For additional information on these pregnancy myths and other common misconceptions, refer to these resources: