For many women, there’s nothing better – and nothing more stressful – than pregnancy. There are a lot of do’s and don’ts to follow during pregnancy, but is it all really necessary? Maybe not.
Being told what not to do while pregnant is enough to drive Erica Faske bananas.
“It seems like it would be a lot less stressful if there weren’t such a laundry list of things to avoid,” she said. “Some people say to avoid caffeine, but that’s not possible with a 3-year-old at home.”
In fact, research shows caffeine is fine, but keep it to two cups of coffee a day. You can also eat hot dogs and deli meat, another common myth.
“They need to be heated and properly prepared and stored in order to prevent food-borne illnesses,” said Loralei Thornburg, M.D., OB/GYN from the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Women are also told to avoid soft cheese.
“The majority of soft cheese in this country is pasteurized before use,” Thornburg said.
If it’s pasteurized, go ahead and indulge. What about X-rays? Experts say no single X-ray poses a serious risk to a fetus.
“If you were in an accident or you had a need for X-rays, such that it’s going to impact your health, you should get that X-ray,” Thornburg said.
Then, there’s fish. Dr. Gary Myers from the University of Rochester Medical Center has studied fish consumption in pregnancy for 30 years.
“The advice to lower your fish consumption may actually be causing more harm than good,” said Myers.
Brains need the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish to grow.
“We’re not in the business of giving advice, but I tell my daughters they should eat fish,” Myers said.
After three fertility treatments, Jodie Phaneuf is pregnant with twins.
“When you work so hard to get this far, you don’t want to put anything at chance,” she said.
Whether these are myths or not, Phaneuf is playing it safe.
“I don’t need it that bad. I’m just going to table it for now, and I’ll look forward to it once I give birth,” she said.
Although it's safe to eat cooked fish, experts do warn to stay away from sushi and other raw fish while you're pregnant.
And, while you should always check with your doctor first, the American Pregnancy Association says it's okay to fly in your third trimester. But some airlines might restrict you in the last two weeks for fear of in-air labor.
And one last one: The U.S. National Library of Medicine has done the largest study on cocoa butter and it found it will not, no matter how much you use, prevent or fix stretch marks.