As a mum-to-be you don’t just have your own wellbeing to worry about, you’re bound to have a whole host of questions about what’s safe and what’s not safe for baby.
The basics are clear: smoking, shellfish, blue cheese and a daily tipple are on the NO list. But what about your blonde highlights? Do you need to give away your cat? And can you safely fly off on holiday?
There are many common myths about pregnancy and it’s sometimes difficult to work out what precautions in pregnancy are necessary and which ones are myths.
Flying during your first or last trimester can harm the baby.
That’s a myth. Flying will do no harm. Some airlines won’t let you on the plane after 28 weeks, but that’s because you may go into labour and force the plane to land. On flights longer than five hours there is a higher risk of thrombosis, but this risk is the same for everyone.
You shouldn’t touch your cat during pregnancy.
That’s a myth. Stroking your cat is fine. However toxoplasmosis is found in cat faeces so a sensible precaution in pregnancy is to avoid cleaning out the cat litter tray or wear gloves.
You can’t eat smoked salmon when pregnant.
This is a myth. Salmon is good for mum-to-be as it is high in essential omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is a fresh water fish, so the likelihood of mercury poisoning is low. Sushi is also permissible except for mackerel, shark, tilefish and swordfish. Tuna should be eaten in moderation.
You shouldn’t use bleach or hair dye when pregnant.
This is a myth. If you are concerned, consider waiting until the second trimester when all your baby’s organs have developed. Or have highlights instead of an all over colour so the chemicals have less contact with your scalp (hair-colouring agents are absorbed through the skin, not through the hair shaft). If you are colouring your own hair wear gloves and ventilate the room. Don’t leave the dye on any longer than necessary, and thoroughly rinse your scalp afterwards.
You should sleep on your left side while pregnant.
This is a myth. But it’s good to get used to sleeping some of the night on one side or the other. This is because, as the uterus gets heavier, it presses on the vein that returns blood from your lower body to your heart, so when you lie on your back for a long time it can affect the flow of blood and nutrients to the placenta.
Pregnant women should eat for two.
Such a myth! Mum-to-be only needs around an extra 200 calories a day so if you do eat for two you’ll not only have a bigger baby, you will end up much fatter than your pre-pregnancy shape and will face months of hard work getting back into shape!
Debra Aspinall is an experienced journalist and the editor and leading writer for the Emma’s Diary website, one of the UKs foremost pregnancy and baby websites. Debra writes on pregnancy related topics such as mum-to-be, trimesters of pregnancy, second trimester pregnancy and etc. She also writes on women’s health and beauty issues and contributes travel articles to glossy magazines in London and the Home Counties.