The Myths and Facts about Pregnancy
With the help of Yfat Reiss, co-author of How to Make a Pregnant Woman Happy, Dr. Phil clarifies what's true and what is merely an old wives' tale. 1. Pregnant women crave pickles and ice cream. False. Not all women crave pickles and ice cream, but food cravings such as these are based in fact. In general, food cravings can be very helpful in telling you what your body needs. Explanation: Women who crave pickles are really craving salt and may be mineral deficient, and specifically sodium deficient. Additional minerals are particularly important in pregnancy when women's bodies increase blood volume by up to 20 percent, so the existing minerals are diluted. Many women crave junk foods such as ice cream during pregnancy because junk food is associated with comfort. Sugars found in sweet foods, as well as in breads, pasta and rice cause the body to produce serotonin, which makes women feel good. 2. Pregnant women who carry low = boy, or pregnancy acne = girl. False. How a woman carries depends on her body type and whether she has been pregnant before, but does not reflect gender. Pregnancy acne is unrelated to gender. Explanation: Women tend to carry lower or higher depending on their body type. Taller, thinner women appear to carry higher. Shorter and fuller women appear to carry lower. Neither has any correlation to gender. Also, in a second pregnancy, since abdominal muscles may be looser, the pregnancy may appear to be lower. Pregnancy acne has nothing to do with gender; it is a result of natural hormonal changes. 3. Pregnant women must eat for two; they must gain 25 pounds. False. North Americans already eat for two prior to pregnancy! Explanation: Thirty years ago, the average size of babies was 6 pounds. Today the average size is 8 pounds. There are many reasons for this, but one reason is over-eating, particularly unfavorable carbohydrates (breads, pastas, rice), and not getting enough vegetables, protein and healthy fats. As long as a pregnant woman eats properly — and as long as her doctor is not concerned — there is no set formula for how much she must gain. Generally, in the last trimester, the baby gains half a pound a week. So, as a general rule, if, during this time, the pregnant woman is not gaining a bit more than that, her doctor may be concerned and her diet should be re-evaluated. 4. Pregnant women shouldn't take baths. False. Pregnant women shouldn't take HOT baths. Explanation: Women are told not to take baths because HOT water — over 98 degrees — is unfavorable to the pregnancy. Taking a warm (NOT HOT!) bath with someone to help you get in and out of the bath safely can help:
- Decrease uncomfortable swelling in arms and legs.
- Increase the amniotic fluid.
- Prevent premature contractions.