As every mother knows, pregnancy can be a surreal experience. Everyone around you offers their advice and the wisdom they've inherited over the years. However, many of those words of wisdom you hear are actually myths. If you've heard a piece of advice you're questioning, always make sure to check with your obstetrician. In the meantime, here are five of the most common myths about pregnancy.
1) You can't eat salmon.
While obstetric experts typically advise moms-to-be to avoid fish that have high mercury levels, salmon is a freshwater fish, which means the likelihood of mercury poisoning is very low. To the contrary, it's high in omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit a woman and her unborn child.
2) You can't drink coffee.
While high levels of caffeine consumption are unhealthy for anyone, a cup a day of coffee won't hurt you or your baby. In fact, if you struggle with mild headaches yet don't want to take over-the-counter pain medication, a cup of coffee may be the best solution.
3) You can't fly during the last trimester.
Some airlines have policies that prohibit women from boarding during their third trimester, but this isn't due to medical concern. Instead, airline staff may be worried that you would go into labor and force the plan to make an unplanned landing.
4) You should avoid your cat.
This myth probably stems from the fact that you shouldn't change a cat's litter box while pregnant, which is true. Women are at risk of toxoplasmosis, which is why they need to steer clear and get a family member to take over that responsibility. Some friendly petting and cuddling with your cat through all 40 weeks is 100% fine!
5) You can tell the baby's gender by its position in the womb.
For generations, women have claimed they could tell the gender of a baby just by looking at the expectant mother's belly. It turns out there's no scientific evidence behind this, though women are likely to stare at your belly and make their gender guesses nonetheless. The only way to know for sure is to pay a visit to the obstetrician.
Check out additional resources we have on our site about pregnancy and obstetrics.