So, Grandma was Right about this??
Many old wives’ tales are centered around pregnancy, conceiving, and health. Their sayings roll off a grandma’s tongue as quick as that pinch of salt over her left shoulder when she needs it. But did you know that many are factual and have been confirmed as scientifically based. Here are just a few that you might have heard while pregnant, but never thought could actually be true:
Gain a child, lose a tooth – Although there could be many other factors at play, studies have found a link between pregnancy and dental problems. This has to do with bone loss secondary to providing our calcium stores to the baby during pregnancy and breast feeding. The pregnancy interferes with calcium absorption and increases the production of hormones that affect oral health.
Heartburn during pregnancy means your baby will have a full head of hair! – Typically heartburn strikes in the third trimester of pregnancy and is caused by estrogen. The estrogen causes esophageal sphincter (a bundle of muscles at the bottom of your esophagus that prevents gastrin (stomach acid) from traveling backwards out of your stomach) to relax. This then allows the gastrin to splash up into the esophagus, which causes the heartburn. Estrogen is also responsible for the hair growth of developing babies. So, if you’re feel a lot of heartburn during your pregnancy, it could very well mean that your estrogen levels are high and that your baby is growing a full head of hair!
If you carry low, you are having a boy – First, what does “high” or “low” even mean? These two terms relate to the pregnancy belly’s position in the uterus. “High” means that the bump is high on the abdomen, sometimes even right under the woman’s breasts. “Low” means that the bump is lower, closer to the pelvis. So, if a woman’s bump is high, it’s a girl, right? Well, sort of. 50% of the time, this is a correct prediction. (And this is because the chances of having a boy or girl are 50+/49+). There could be a lot of factors that influence the position of the bump, such as muscle and body type of the mother. If a woman has tighter abdomen muscles, she is more likely to carrying her bump higher in her uterus. Whereas if her abdomen muscles are loses (either from lack of muscle or previous pregnancy), she is more likely to carry her bump lower, closer towards her pelvis. For body type, if the mother has a longer torso, there is more room for the uterus to grow upwards, and vice versa for a shorter torso. So, if you are sure you can determine the gender of your baby from the position your uterus grows, you odds aren’t too bad at so close to 50/50!
Eating vegetables during pregnancy will make your baby like vegetables – Multiple studies have been done that show the effects that a mother’s diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding has on her baby. While developing in the womb, the baby is surrounded and nourished by amniotic fluid. Guess where that nutrients comes from? The mother! Introducing vegetables (as well as other nutritious foods) to the growing fetus through the mother’s diet can be extremely beneficial for the fetus. This kind of nutritious diet can also help the mother maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy, which can help prevent further complications. But, when it comes to getting your baby to enjoy health foods, the road doesn’t just stop after birth. Breastfeeding is also a helpful way to introduce your baby to a nutritious diet. Flavors from a mom’s diet are transmitted to the baby via breast milk, and so introducing these flavors early on can help babies brains imprint on the taste of that food thus be more accepting of those foods later.
You can’t shake a good egg loose – Some women might associate exercise with miscarriage because of all the possible jumping and moving around. But, exercising while pregnant is extremely beneficial to the mother and fetus. It’s recommended that while pregnant, a mother gets around 150 minutes of exercise a week (that’s 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week). This exercise can include walking, elliptical, yoga, etc. The only danger would be if a mother were to do hot yoga, as the high temperature could result in a higher risk of a miscarriage and also losing one’s balance and falling, which can be very dangerous for the fetus. This myth is also applied to women having sex while pregnant. A woman’s body is equipped to protect her growing child. The strong uterine muscles and amniotic sac help protect the baby, while a cervical plug is also present to prevent against infection. Additionally, during sex, the penis will not go past the vagina, so the baby will be safe. The only risk that can arise is if your partner’s weight is on you, which can be fixed by switching positions. So, it is important for both the fetus and mother to engage is exercise, whether it be gym related or sex, and to remember that the baby is well protected in the uterus.
Cat-free zone, don't touch cats if you are pregnant, in fact don't let them cross your path – This is a tale that resulted from medical findings being taken to an extreme. While it is still okay to pet and play with your little fur ball, the danger comes with dealing with your cat’s litter box. Cats excrete a parasite known as toxoplasmosis, which is a disease that can affect the fetus. To avoid this, it’s best to either deal with the litter box with gloves on (never with your bare hands) or ask someone else to change the litter for you.
Pregnant women shouldn’t have baths – This one also has some partial truth to it. While a warm (not hot) bath can help relieve symptoms of swelling and muscle pain, if the temperature becomes too high (over 104 degrees), it can increase the risk of a miscarriage and/or birth defects. This is especially true when in the first trimester and is because the high temperatures can disrupt the development of certain proteins that are vital to fetal growth, leading to a higher risk of miscarriage and/or birth defects. So, it’s okay to have a bath now and then, just make sure the temperature isn’t too hot. However, it has been proven that a hot bath can negatively affect a man’s fertility, so maybe just keep the soothing baths for yourself.
A long labor means it’s a boy – Studies have shown that if a mother spends a longer time in labor and/or experiences more complications that it is more than likely a boy. This is supposedly because a boy’s head is bigger and so they are more likely to get stuck and require help during delivery.