Pregnancy and childbirth are undoubtedly one of the most important periods in a woman’s life. Amidst all the joy that pregnancy brings with it, comes its fair share of confusion as well. I write this article with the hope to clear some of these doubts and clarify some myths. In my career, I have had the fortune of working in some of the best maternity hospitals in the country. My tenure in K.E.M. Hospital, Mumbai saw us do over 9000 deliveries per year. Hence I can confidently say that I have heard every kind of pregnancy myth possible – raning from silly to downright outrageous!!!
Some of the myths that I have come across are as follows:
- Not to eat ‘hot’ food/papaya during pregnancy : This classification of food into hot and cold goes back eons into time. And it is as ridiculous as it sounds. There are no restrictions on what to eat in pregnancy. However spicy food should be avoided so as to avoid acidity & one should preferably eat home cooked food to avoid infections from outside food.
- Eating certain kinds of food can determine the sex of your child – Really? Unless you do a genetic analysis or your GOD – you cannot really control the sex of your offspring. What is more – you really shouldny attempt to either.
- It is forbidden to do exercise during pregnancy – This is entirely untrue. Quiet to the contrary – daily exercise is recommended during pregnancy. However the kind of exercise is very important. The best maternity hospital in Mumbai will guide you as to the kind of antenatal exercise which is most suitable for you. Not just that – they will also guide you on which exercises to avoid during pregnancy. Our hospital in Malad, routinely conducts antenatal classes for our obstetric patients. The objective of these classes is to prepare the expecting couple for childbirth and teach them various aspects of antenatal care.
- That stretch marks are completely reversible – Now this is a myth that I came across only after joining private practice. In the government circles, patients were less bothered about their cosmetic appearance. The truth is that stretch marks occur due the breaking of collagen fibrils in the subcutaneous layer. These are not completely reversible, although they do tend to fade with time. The best treatment for stretch marks is prevention which is taught by most good obstetricians in Mumbai – to their patients.
- That weight gain during pregnancy is irreversible – This myth is easily shattered by all the celebrity mothers you see around you. the only key to successful weight loss is exercise, exercise and exercise.
- Top feeding is better than breast feeding – This is probably the worst misconception of them all. The truth is that there is no fomr of nutrition superior to breast feeding in all lactating women. Breast feeding offers several advantages over top feeding such as – increased immunity in the baby, nutritionally more complete, increased bonding between the mother and the baby, prevention of breast cancer in the mother, increased weight loss post pregnancy in the mother & better development of the GI tract in the infant. Exclusive breast feeding should ideally be recommended for all women uptil 6 months post delivery as far as possible.
- Travelling is bad for pregnancy – This is only half truth. Travelling in pregnancy is safe as long as it is done cautiously. Jerky rides and bumpy movements can be dangerous – however as long as the journey is smooth, it should not be uch of a problem.