Pregnancy Advice: Old Wives Tales Vs. Science | Fit Pregnancy

Old Wives Vs. Science

Find out how much of the pregnancy advice you receive is backed by research, and how much is mere folk wisdom.


Folk Wisdom Or Science? Eat your vegetables now, and your baby will like them later.

Answer: Science

The foods and drinks you ingest flavor the amniotic fluid that the fetus starts swallowing in the second trimester. Science has shown that babies who are exposed to vegetables in utero are more likely to develop a preference for them when they begin eating solids and as they grow into adults.

Flavors from your diet are also transmitted through your breast milk. One study published in Pediatrics showed that 4- to 8-month-olds whose nursing moms ate green beans accepted the vegetable more readily and ate three times more of them than did babies who were not exposed to them. Your baby can even learn to like bitter-tasting varieties like kale if you eat them regularly during pregnancy. Unfortunately, the same holds true for cookies, chips and other no-nutrient snacks: recent research discovered that when pregnant rats ate diets high in sugar and fat, their babies were more likely to become junk-food junkies themselves.

See more: Stick to these 10 basic do's and don'ts >>

Folk Wisdom Or Science? Forgoing an epidural boosts your odds for breastfeeding success.

Answer: Folk wisdom

Many pregnant women are told that getting an epidural will lead to having a sluggish newborn who has difficulty breastfeeding. a British study published in a 2010 issue of Anaesthesia debunks this myth. scientists compared the breastfeeding success rates of 1,054 women, 351 of whom delivered without an epidural. The results? No significant difference in breastfeeding success. “Epidurals are very safe and can turn a difficult labor experience into a very rewarding one,” says study co-author Andrew Shennan, M.D., professor of obstetrics at King’s College London. “Under these circumstances, establishment of breastfeeding could be much easier after an epidural.”

See more: Epidurals: fact vs. fiction >>

Folk Wisdom Or Science? If you’ve had one or more previous Cesarean sections, trying for a vaginal delivery next time is risky to you and the baby.

Answer: Folk wisdom

Even if you’ve had two previous C-sections, you can go ahead and try to deliver the old-fashioned way. in 2010, the american College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists revised its guidelines on vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC), determining that VBACs are a safe and appropriate option for most women. in the last few decades, doctors worried that because of their incision scar, women with previous C-sections were at a higher risk for uterine rupture, which is dangerous for both mother and baby.

Consequently, some hospitals and insurers restricted VBACs, and in 2006 to 2007 the VBAC rate fell to 8.5 percent while the C-section rate rose to 31 percent. Then in 2010, the National institutes of Health compiled a state-of-the-science report based on major VBAC studies of more than 20,000 women. The consensus: The risk of uterine rupture during a “trial of labor after Cesarean” is very low—between 0.5 percent and 0.9 percent.

Fourth time could be the charm.

Conventional wisdom holds that if a woman has had three or more consecutive miscarriages, her odds for getting and staying pregnant in the next few years are low. But given the right help, her chances could be considerably better: In a study of 987 such European women ages 20 to 46 years, 68 percent had a live birth within five years of their first visit to a recurrent-miscarriage clinic. Within 15 years, 71 percent of them had a live birth. 


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