The sight of a growing, pregnant belly can bring out the best in the people around you – though sometimes this includes unsolicited advice, with the best of intentions, of course. From what not to eat, what to wear and even what to look at, every mother, grandmother and their neighbours have some well-meaning – but sometimes strange – advice to pass on. Here we take a look at some common pieces of strange pregnancy advice:
Strange Advice #1: Pregnant woman shouldn’t have baths.
By ‘bath’ we don’t mean showers – we refer to soaking in a tub. But unless you’re almost at term and your membranes have ruptured, or you’re having a steaming hot bath (unlikely in the Malaysian heat!), baths can be a nice way of relaxing and even provide some pain relief in early stages of labour. It’s true that hot tubs, heated jacuzzis, steam rooms and saunas are best avoided during pregnancy as you’re more likely to overheat, dehydrate or get dizzy, with feeling extra warm anyway, you’re more likely to want an icy cold drink than a hot bath.
Strange Advice #2: You should not be active while pregnant.
This advice that pregnant women should not exercise comes with the best intentions, but also needs to be tempered with common sense. It is generally accepted that light to moderate exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day, three to four times a week is beneficial in all stages of pregnancy provided you don’t have any complications – this could include swimming, walking and yoga or pilates. For regular gym bunnies, there is often no reason why you can’t continue with your regular routine, with adjustments – like steering clear of heavy weights or being flat on your back after 20 weeks.
While many things in pregnancy are frowned upon, like alcohol, undercooked meat and (probably) dangling upside-down from a crystal chandelier, moderate exercise is definitely not one of those things. Check with your doctor or an experienced trainer at your gym to come up with a special routine to suit your stage of pregnancy.
Strange Advice #3: Eating pineapple can cause a miscarriage/bring on labour.
Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, which is carried primarily in the stem of the fruit. Bromelain is often used as a meat tenderiser, and is thought to have a similar effect in softening the cervix although there is insufficient scientific evidence to support this. Like many other myths, there may be a sliver of truth to this, though it’s been pointed out you’d need to eat as many as several pineapples to feel any effect – which could be prefaced by indigestion and tummy aches, and not to mention a very itchy tongue!
Strange Advice #4: Taking pregnancy multivitamins will mean you will have a big baby and therefore, a harder labour.
Pregnancy is the start of a journey in making choices that would most benefit your child. While it is true, according to a 2010 study in the UK, that taking a daily pregnancy supplement can reduce the chances of having an underweight baby, it does not necessarily mean your child will be big or overweight. Babies with a low birth weight are thought to be more susceptible to jaundice and breathing problems, and may be more likely to develop chronic illnesses later in life.
Generally speaking, supplements are great if you’re vegan, vegetarian or on a special diet (which isn’t recommended during pregnancy anyhow), but if you’re eating well and moderately, pregnancy multivitamins are encouraged, but not compulsory. As long as you’re getting enough iron, calcium and folic acid, you should be on your way to having a healthy baby. Considering supplements? Read more here.
Strange Advice #5: If you want a fair baby, consume lots of ‘white’ food.
Um. We don’t need to tell you this one is probably more of an old wives’ tale than scientific fact – the colour of your baby’s skin will have significantly more to do with genetics than whether you religiously ate blocks of tofu and drank copious amounts of soy milk throughout your pregnancy.
Faye Song is a city girl finding her feet in regional Victoria, Australia. A former journalist, she works in marketing and communication, but has found that her real passion lies in dolce far niente – the sweetness of doing nothing – while she awaits the arrival of her first child.
Image Credits: EverydayFamily, Coles and Flickr user MissJanetB