big belly, big baby
... and other enduring pregnancy and childbirth myths
MYTH Raising your arms above your head can wrap the baby’s umbilical cord around his neck and strangle him.
REALITY “What happens in your uterus has nothing to do with your arms,” Smith says. And even if a
correlation did exist, he adds, “Umbilical cords are often wrapped around something, but because babies don’t breathe air until after they’re born, this is almost never a bad thing [until the time of delivery].”
REALITY CHECK Get someone else to change hard-to-reach light bulbs, snag high-hanging cobwebs and paint the ceiling … just in case.
MYTH Sex and pregnancy don’t mix.
REALITY Many couples find a sexual ripeness and responsiveness that is uniquely satisfying. And you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant!
REALITY CHECK “Pregnant women are prone to nausea in the first trimester; they’re beginning to show in the second trimester; and they’re chronically uncomfortable in the third trimester,” Benson says. “None of these things is likely to cause an increase in libido.” Translation: Sex and pregnancy … well, you get the picture.
MYTH It’s normal for the baby’s movements to slow down or even cease just before labor starts.
REALITY Tight quarters may restrict the baby’s movements in the last days of pregnancy. This fact should not be interpreted too broadly, however. “This myth is not harmless; it may actually prevent a woman from acting promptly on what may be a serious situation,” Benson says. “Chances are, nothing is wrong, but any big decrease in the baby’s activity from one day to the next should be reported to your doctor.”
MYTH If your mother gave birth easily, so will you (and vice versa).
REALITY “A woman can’t tell what kind of labor she’ll have based on her mother’s experience,” Benson says. In fact, there’s nothing you can do to accurately predict what your labor will be like.
REALITY CHECK Help stack the odds in your favor by doing everything medically appropriate to make sure you and your baby get off to a happy, healthy start. Then keep in mind the further reality that no matter how taxing — and exhilarating — your labor and delivery turn out to be, they’re only the warm-up.