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MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information
PREGNANCY MYTHS
(Old Wive's Tales)




DO NOT BEGIN ANY EXERCISE THAT YOU ARE NOT ALREADY DOING PRIOR TO PREGNANCY.

Myth. This has some basis in fact. It is meant to protect a newly pregnant woman from injury. Pregnancy has many effects on a woman's body, besides changing her center of gravity (perhaps, making her a bit more clumsy than usual). From the beginning of the pregnancy, her hormones are adapting the muscles and ligaments to become more flexible and able to expand. This also makes them more prone to injuries.

It is important for everyone to start an exercise program carefully and this is especially important for a pregnant woman. You should consult with your midwife or health care provider before beginning an exercise program and build up slowly over a period of time. Pregnancy and labor represent some of the most intensely difficult and rewarding work a woman will ever do. It makes sense to prepare oneself physically. If you haven't been participating in a regular exercise program, walking is a good place to start. Begin with a five minute warm-up with slow gradual stretching of all muscles. Find a nice path and some walking friends or some good music and walk at a brisk rate for 30 to 40 minutes every day. Finish with five minutes of slower pace or stretching, which should help you to "cool down." Or, consider joining a yoga or tai chi class or a prenatal exercise class. These classes can be built into a support group and even a future playgroup. So, for the most part, you can ignore the myth about not starting a program and begin working out when you are planning a pregnancy or even if pregnancy is already advanced. Although a very few women should not exercise in pregnancy, always consult with your midwife before beginning any regimen.

MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Pregnancy Fitness
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Prenatal Exercise




YOU LOSE A TOOTH FOR EVERY BABY.

Myth. Today, with the availability of nutritional supplements and fortified foods, no woman should lose a tooth for every baby. Preconception nutrition is critical for preserving maternal health during pregnancy. It is during the critical pre-adolescent and adolescent years that women build stores of calcium and iron that prepare them for pregnancy and birth. If a woman's diet is deficient in these minerals, the demands of the growing baby will often take precedence over the mother's body needs. Calcium may be lost from the maternal bones and teeth. Women should be taking 1500 mg of calcium each day, either from food sources (preferable) or from nutritional supplements. Teeth can be lost if stores are deficient or depleted due to malnutrition or close interconceptional periods.

MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Pregnancy & Dental Care
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Tooth Decay
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Periodontal Disease
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Osteoporosis & Calcium
MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Halitosis (Bad Breath)




HAVING SEX DURING PREGNANCY CAN HURT THE BABY.

Myth. While there are some valid medical reasons to avoid sexual activity during pregnancy, in most cases sex is not harmful to the baby and can be very pleasurable for the woman. There is no longer any worry about birth control methods once pregnancy has been achieved. Women may notice an enhanced ability to orgasm due to the increase in blood flow to the pelvic floor. In late pregnancy, unless the woman and her partner can become creative with their lovemaking positions, she may find sex a bit uncomfortable as her belly becomes larger and when the baby begins to "drop" lower into the pelvis (called engagement). You should not have sexual intercourse if your "bag of waters" (amniotic bag of fluid around the baby) has broken.

MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Miscarriage
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Habitual Miscarriage
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Placenta Previa
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Placenta Abruption
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM)
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Avoiding Preterm Labor
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Coping With Bed Rest




YOU CAN TANGLE (OR STRANGLE) THE BABY WITH THE UMBILICAL CORD BY RAISING YOUR ARMS ABOVE YOUR HEAD.

Myth. About 20 to 25 percent of all babies are born with the cord around the neck, and many are born with cords around the legs. Some umbilical cords are even tied in knots. There is nothing that a mother can do to cause this. These types of entanglements are caused by fetal activity during early pregnancy. Long umbilical cords, defined as longer than 100 cm (most umbilical cords are 32 to 80 cm long), seem to contribute to entanglements. Excessively long cords are actually caused by excessive fetal movement.

In the case of this myth, there may have been some benefit for a pregnant woman. If pregnant women were advised not to lift their arms above their bodies, they may have been given less strenuous jobs. This could have resulted in a more rested mother, and possibly a healthier baby.




SLEEPING ON YOUR BACK CAN HURT YOUR BABY.

Myth. Many women believe that blood flow will be reduced through the placenta if they lie on their backs. There is some valid research originally performed in the 1960s and 1970s which demonstrated that blood flow can be compromised when a woman is forced to labor lying flat on her back or if she lies for long periods of time (such as sleeping) on her back in late or term pregnancy. Compression of the vena cava, a major vessel underlying the uterus, may occur in this position when a woman is in labor. This is why midwives encourage women to lie or sleep on their sides (usually with a support pillow at their back and possibly between their knees for support and relief of back discomfort) or encouraged to labor while standing, sitting up, walking, or leaning upwards in a semi-sitting position propped up by lots of pillows or her partner. Contractions reduce blood flow to the baby for a certain portion of the peak of a contraction. A healthy full-term baby can tolerate this stress without difficulty. Laboring on one's back may cause fetal compromise when the baby is already stressed, overdue or preterm, or has been exposed to infection or a very long labor.

During sleeping or lying for long periods, it is best for the woman in late pregnancy to not lie flat on her back but slightly to one side or the other. This will prevent inadequate blood flow and inadequate oxygen to her baby. If the blood flow is indeed compromised, the mother would feel dizzy and very uncomfortable and should shift her weight naturally. If the pregnancy is high risk and hypertensive, has maternal kidney malfunction, severe water retention or with suspected fetal compromise, resting on the left side is often recommended. During a healthy normal pregnancy a woman usually may assume any position which she finds comfortable throughout her pregnancy.




YOU CAN TELL YOUR BABY'S GENDER BY THE WAY YOU ARE CARRYING YOUR BABY OR BY THE BABY'S HEARTRATE.

Myth. Other than ultrasound and amniocentesis (or chorionic villi sampling), there is no way to determine the gender of the baby you are carrying. Even these methods are not 100 percent accurate.

Babies are carried differently based on their position (anterior, posterior) and on their presentation (breech, transverse, vertex), their gestational weight and age, maternal weight and stature and the mother's parity (whether or not this is her first baby or her seventh baby).

The fetal heartbeat is not much help either. Heart tones may be heard as early as 8 to 10 weeks using a fetal doppler. Until the fetus is about 20 weeks, it is not unusual to have a heartbeat in the 150 to 160 range (normal range is between 120 and 160 beats per minute). It is said that a fast heart rate is a girl (140 to 160) and a slower rate is a boy (120 to 140). This is based on the fact that a woman's heart rate are usually faster than a man's. But this is not always the case. Both genders can be found throughout the normal range of 120 to 160 beats per minute.

THE PENDULUM GENDER PREDICTION

A birthing assistant friend of mine whose mother was a midwife in England told me they used a pendulum to predict a baby's gender. This is done by holding a pendulum above the belly of the pregnant mom and seeing how it moves (circles or back and forth). I was expecting a baby at the time and we gave it a try. It said it was a boy. When I delivered a few months later, indeed, it was a boy. It works on the same principle as dowsing.

using a pendulum Make a pendulum by tying a ring to a piece of cotton. Hold it over something you know such as a pen and ask "Is this a pen?" Note the swing. Does the pendulum spin in a circle or swing from side to side or it maybe it moves clockwise or anticlockwise? Whatever its movement, this is your 'Yes' answer. Do the same again and now ask "Is this a copy of 'War and Peace'?" The different swing you get is your 'No' answer. You can now ask the pendulum questions.

You can use this same technique to determine the gender of an unborn. Once you know your yes/no swing, hold the pendulum over the womb of a pregnant woman and ask 'Is the gender of this baby male?' Note the swing. Then ask 'Is the gender of this baby female?' By noting the swing of the pendulum you can easily determine the gender of the baby.

Here's another experiment to try:

Without you seeing, ask a friend to hide a coin under one of three identical opaque tumblers. Hold your pendulum over each in turn asking 'Is the coin under this tumbler?' Note which tumbler gives you a 'Yes' response. Did you get it right. Try a run of ten tests in total and see how you score:

YOUR SCORE:

Less than four- Sorry only chance is a work.
Five to seven- Well done! You certainly have clairvoyant potential.
Over seven- You could become a professional.

Another version of this is the Needle or Wedding Ring Gender Prediction Method. This an easy baby gender prediction method to try. Take a pin, needle, or wedding ring and attach it to a thread or strand of hair. Hold the dangling item over mom to be's belly while she is lying down. If the needle or wedding ring swings in a strong circular motion, you will be having a girl. If it moves in a to and fro motion like a pendulum, you will be having a boy. An alternate version of this baby gender prediction method is to dangle the needle or wedding ring over the expectant mom's wrist instead of belly.

Childbirth.org: An Interactive Test To Determine Your Baby's Gender Using Old Wive's Tales
Storknet: Old Wives Tales - Determine If You Are Having A Boy or A Girl
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Gender Prediction




GIVING BIRTH: IT IS BETTER TO CUT THAN TEAR.

Myth. This myth refers to the use of an episiotomy at the time of the birth. The term "tear" produces visual images in many women that they would not rather consider. Actually, if a woman tears during birth, most often they are small and do not extend into the muscle. In many cases, these tears do not even need any stitching (suturing) repairs done. However, when an episiotomy is cut, several layers of tissue and muscle are cut. Tears will often occur with an episiotomy as well. An episiotomy will usually need simple to complex suturing, depending on how deep the cut and how much of the woman's anatomy is involved. There is often more bleeding with an episiotomy since the cut often severs blood vessels. Tears also tend to heal much more comfortably than episiotomies. This may be because the skin has separated down anatomical lines and the tissue has not been crushed, as it is when a scissors is used.

To prevent lacerations, it is important to listen to your midwife carefully during this stage of labor and give small, well-controlled pushes. I encourage women to breathe their babies out as much as possible and only pushing when it is absolutely necessary. This "breathing" allows time for the tissues to stretch and prevents tissue trauma. Occasionally, the mother may be asked to push between contractions so the force of the contraction does not cause her to push with such force. Women with previous episiotomy scars seem to be more prone to tearing along these scars, so it is best to try to avoid the episiotomy in the first place.

If the baby shows signs of distress, or if the midwife believes that a tear into the deep muscle or into the rectum is inevitable, an episiotomy will generally be cut. But research has demonstrated that the highest incidence of rectal sphincter and rectal lacerations occurs when an episiotomy has been cut.

Many variables go into the decision whether or not to cut an episiotomy and how to support the perineum at the time of birth. The best advice is to choose a midwife or health care provider who will work with you, listen to you, and minimize the use of routine procedures in their practice. Midwives are usually less prone to using episiotomies than are medical physicians. Unless you have health problems that need the care of a physician, a midwife is usually the preferable choice. Midwives usually try to prevent tears and episiotomies and take great pleasure in babies being born over an intact perineum (pelvic floor).

MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Episotomy





MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information Index
MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information & Survival Tips






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