Pregnancy: how many hoaxes on the belly

There are many urban legends about pregnancy. Let’s see some of them.

Do not take the plane in the first and last trimester of pregnancy, do not stroke cats, you need to eat for two, do not ride a bike, do not do gymnastics. Finally, the classic: no sex if you are pregnant.

There are many urban legends that dot the nine months of pregnancy, almost as if it were a disease.

Yet gynecologists always tell women: being pregnant does not mean being sick. So let’s see what science says about popular beliefs about pregnancy.

Eat for two or two times better?

Let’s start with diet, a real obsession for many women in normal conditions, let alone when they are pregnant.

The rule that you have to eat for two is false: the caloric needs increase, but certainly do not double.

It may be useful to ask the gynecologist for an evaluation of how much you need to gain weight: there are tables that allow you to calculate, based on the weight before pregnancy, the estimate of when you can increase.

Moreover, in the first trimester you do not need to eat an extra gram, it is from the fourth month that you need about 250 additional calories, practically a couple of small sandwiches a day.

Also false is the fact that you have to eliminate pasta: just follow a balanced diet to avoid problems, better then if rich in fruit and vegetables (cooked), without forgetting the importance of fish, a precious source of noble proteins and omega 3 fatty acids.

If it is true that foods rich in calcium and iron are useful, the legend of “cravings” is false, spots that according to tradition would appear on the skin of the unborn child if the mother does not satisfy her food desires.

By plane, by bicycle and by the beautician

It is now certain: taking the plane does not involve any risk. Indeed, compared to other means of transport it is faster and involves less sudden movements, as long as there is no turbulence around.

The only risk seems to be that of deep vein thrombosis, which has never been proven even for those who are not pregnant. In any case, it is advisable, if the journey is long, to get up often and walk.

The problem is that many airlines, starting from the 36th week, do not let pregnant women on board. Only because there is a risk that labor will begin in flight. That’s it.

No contraindications to the bicycle. Indeed, cycling every now and then is good, even the English guidelines allow its use. Maybe it is good to avoid the exaggerated jerking movements typical of mountain bike races. If the health is good and the pregnancy is going well there are no problems whatsoever.

And if in front of the mirror you do not see yourself beautiful enough, know that make-up, contrary to what the mother-in-law says, does not hurt.

The only warning is to choose quality and hypoallergenic products, to avoid skin sensitization reactions which, moreover, would occur even without pregnancy.

Instead, hot hair removal should be avoided, because the tear could cause the capillaries of the legs to break, which are more fragile during pregnancy.

Just as it is better to avoid hair dyes, because they contain chemicals that could pass the skin and enter the bloodstream.

Sex is Ok but without stunts

Some gynecologists advise a general caution in making love, with the result of confusing women.

What does caution mean? Excluding “acrobatic” sex, a normal relationship cannot harm the fetus, as long as the pregnancy is well underway and there are no problems.

Also because if on the one hand gestation promotes a greater need for pampering in women (the fault is some hormones), this does not necessarily mean an increase in sexual desire.

Indeed, in some cases the desire for sex plummets to historic lows, also for psychological reasons. In summary, if the desire is present there is nothing wrong with indulging it.

Folic acid, before and during

Vitamins are the best friends of pregnancy. Starting from folic acid (vitamin B9), which helps both the growth of the embryo, especially at the level of the nervous system, and the maternal organism.

It is essential to prevent congenital malformations of the limbs and nervous system, the so-called neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. In addition, it helps prevent megaloblastic anemia in expectant mothers, a disease that can cause difficulties in oxygenating the baby.

The Italian Network for the promotion of folic acid, promoted by the Higher Institute of Health, states that the need for this vitamin is at least 400 mcg per day, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.

Supplementation should begin at least one month before conception and continue throughout pregnancy.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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