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Published on March 01, 2009

Maternity Myths Exposed

The following is a list of common myths associated with pregnancy and whether or not they are something to be concerned about.

Myth 1: The worse the morning sickness, the more likely you are to have a girl.

Some women have morning sickness worse than others, and deliver baby boys. Some don’t get morning sickness at all and give birth to beautiful baby girls. The truth is that every woman’s body reacts differently to pregnancy, especially when it comes to morning sickness.

Myth 2: If you raise your arms above your head while pregnant the baby will get the cord wrapped around its neck.

This is just one of those old-wives tales that has no truth at all. The baby’s cord is not affected by the mother’s arms.

Myth 3: Chemicals from hair dye and perms can seep into your scalp and harm your baby.

There is no evidence that hair dyes and perms are harmful, however, many providers recommend avoiding these products until you are past your first trimester.

Myth 4: Avoid caffeine at all costs.

While small amounts of caffeine can cross the placenta, most studies show no adverse effects from a cup or two of coffee a day. However, some studies have associated excessive amounts of caffeine — equivalent to four cups or more of coffee per day — to low birthweight, attention-deficit disorder and migraines in babies.

Myth 5: Don’t exercise.

Pregnant women are actually encouraged to exercise, since it can alleviate a lot of the minor discomforts that come with being pregnant, like backaches. It can also help to prepare you for the hard work of your pending labor and delivery.

Myth 6: All pain relievers should be avoided.

Even though certain medication, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are usually off-limits, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is safe to use throughout your pregnancy.

Myth 7: You have to eat for two.

Even though mom is technically eating for two people, the second person is only the size of a peanut in the beginning. It is important that pregnant women eat an extra 300 calories a day, but that doesn’t mean eating two cheeseburgers, two orders of fries and a milkshake to wash it all down. Pregnant women should eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.

Myth 8: Your baby will be born with a full head of hair if you have a lot of heartburn during pregnancy.

The amount of hair on the baby’s head has nothing to do with heartburn. Heartburn is caused by stomach acid being pushed up into the lower esophagus, sometimes from the pressure of a growing uterus.

Myth 9: Don’t take a bath while pregnant

There used to be concern that soaking in a bath could cause bacteria to enter the vagina and spread to the baby, but this has been disproved. The biggest risk is slipping and falling while getting in or out.

For more information about maternity services at Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Delaware County Memorial Hospital, or to schedule an appointment with a physician or midwife, please call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258) or visit

Reviewed by Amy Crawford-Faucher, M.D., Crozer-Keystone family physician. As a member of the Crozer-Keystone Center for Family Health, Dr. Crawford also has office locations in Springfield and Upper Darby, Pa., (610) 604-8965. She delivers babies, and provides medical care to infants, toddlers and adults.

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