We’ve found that so many myths about pregnancy and beauty, and pregnancy and health, are misleading, that we thought we’d bust a few wide open.
When it comes to health in pregnancy, accuracy is vital, so let’s get these pregnancy health and beauty statements sorted into myth or fact.
Myth 1: No Hot Baths
The hot baths pregnancy myth claims pregnant women can’t enjoy a nice steamy bath. But it’s completely fine to lie back and enjoy a relaxing soak, just make sure you don’t have the water temperature hotter than 39 degrees (and make sure you avoid steam baths, saunas and hot tubs where temperatures can top 40 degrees).
Try to make sure 10 minutes is your max, so your body temperature doesn’t heat up too much. And no, the bath water won’t get into your uterus and harm the health of your baby, that’s a myth too.
Your baby is very well protected in your womb by the amniotic sack, so put that worry right to the back of your mind.
Myth 2: No Fake Tanning
We’ve mentioned the no fake tanning myth in a previous blog, but just to reiterate - it’s only spray tans that should be avoided.
If you feel better with an all-over deeper glow then feel free to go crazy with the other fake tans and tinted moisturisers!
Myth 3: No Stress
Another pregnancy and health myth is that any stress at all whilst you're carrying a baby is bad for the foetus.
Whilst of course constant or extreme stress is not good for your baby (and has been linked to premature births) a moderate amount of stress won’t harm that little life you’re growing inside, at all.
In fact a John Hopkins study found that babies born to mums who experienced mild to moderate stress during pregnancy can have more advanced developmental skills by the age of 2, compared to those born to mothers who remain stress free.
Of course, nobody likes to feel stressed, especially during pregnancy, so why not head over to the blog we wrote earlier this year giving you ideas on how to “de-stress” yourself during these precious few months.
Myth 4: No Smoking
OK, lets bust some of those pregnancy and health myths focused on smoking!
Everyone knows you should quit smoking while pregnant, but there’s lots of false information floating around that doesn’t support your efforts to give up.
First off, any suggestion that if you’re pregnant and have been smoking so far ‘there’s no point in stopping now’ is absolutely untrue.
Quitting at any stage of your pregnancy will help your baby’s health – one day without smoking already means they’re getting more oxygen and developing their little lungs better.
Other myths say that quitting smoking itself will be too stressful for the baby – we’re sorry to break it to you, but quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your baby so, no excuses!
Don’t be fooled by myths that smoking fewer cigarettes or switching to e-cig’s during pregnancy is better, any amount of smoking can be harmful for your baby.
In a similar vein, claims that smoking relaxes you, and hence your baby, are not true.
Smoking can cause your baby to be born with a low birth weight and permanent health problems, so if you’re struggling to quit why not visit the NHS quit smoking website.
Myth 5: Reduce Physical Activity
There are mountains of pregnancy and health myths about exercise in pregnancy, making it very hard to know what’s the recommended amount of weekly activity you should undertake.
Don’t let these common myths stand in the way of your fitness during pregnancy, our very own pregnancy fitness instructor, Tash, will tell you that regular workouts will not only make you feel better but they’ll make a whole heap of difference to your delivery and recovery after birth.
One myth claims that you should take it easy, and keep your heartrate below 140bpm. Unless recommended by a doctor to keep exercise light, more intense workouts are actually one of the best ways to prepare for labour.
Just be careful about falling or acquiring other injuries and be sure to warm up and cool down properly (as you always should when exercising).
The same advice goes for sports, even though some pregnancy myths claim team games are a no-no whilst pregnant, running and playing sports are totally fine so long as you keep yourself safe – so maybe no full contact rugby for a while.
Similarly, myths saying that using weights is unsafe can be ignored – just be responsible, avoid anything too heavy to prevent injury – all you need to do is increase your reps with a lighter weight instead.
Another pregnancy myth about exercise claims that working out will make you dangerously overheated, dehydrated, and exhausted. Overheating during pregnancy can endanger your baby’s development, but if you wear comfy loose clothes, and keep a bottle of water on hand, you’ll be absolutely fine.
Signs to slow down would include fatigue, dizziness, profuse sweating, shortness of breath, etc. but exercise can actually boost your energy for the rest of the day instead of wearing you out.
For more information on trimester specific workouts that will keep you fit, and prepare you for labour, why not check out instructor Tash on you tube.
Myth 6: Don’t Dye your Hair
There are quite a few pregnancy and beauty hair myths during pregnancy. If you dye your hair don’t despair - the dangers of hair dye are all a myth.
So, you can get your roots done – and really, if it’s going to make you feel happier and more confident, then you should!
Have you heard that hormonal changes will affect your hair colour? Well, that’s a myth too.
There is a chance colouring products will perform differently while pregnant but professionals know how to counteract this easily.
Myth 7: Don’t Cut your Hair
If you have heard the old wives’ tale about not cutting your hair during your pregnancy, read on!
This supposedly links back to old myths about hair keeping you warm in harsh cold or being your life force, so cutting it would shorten your lifespan or even summon evil forces.
But luckily cutting your hair will have no impact on your baby whatsoever.
Similarly, if you have heard that you must cut your hair after giving birth, this is a pregnancy myth too. You should cut your hair whenever you want, or however will make you feel your best.
Myth 8: Don’t Wash your Hair
Another hair-related pregnancy and beauty myth is that you shouldn’t wash your hair whilst carrying your baby.
This myth is very common in India where women will not wash their hair during pregnancy or after giving birth. This is partially due to a religious link, but also because, in the past, washing your hair in the river was a high fall risk.
Also sometimes washing hair can be seen as a trigger for the menstrual cycle so it’s advised in some culture’s that it should be avoided in the first trimester.
In Vietnam mothers are also told not to wash their hair for a month after birth for good luck and protection. But these pregnancy and beauty beliefs have no evidence to support them.
Myth 9: Don’t Sit All Day
If you believe the pregnancy and health myth that sitting all day will give you a breech baby, think again. Having a breech baby (only about 3% are) has nothing to do with how many hours you do, or don’t, sit all day.
Myth 10: Pregnancy Glow
Ah, the pregnancy glow myth. Unfortunately, if you're hoping for perfect hair and skin while you are pregnant this is a myth.
In fact, pregnancy hormones can bring up totally new skin concerns such as acne, pigmentation and dryness.
Myth 11: Don't Paint your Nails
The nail polish pregnancy myth claims that you can’t paint your nails (or use hairspray) while pregnant.
Really this is because of one ingredient in these products – Phthalates. But it’s worth noting Phthalates haven’t been proven to cause birth defects in humans, although they have been linked to defective male sexual development in animals.
Myth 12: Don’t Go to the Dentist
There are some very strange pregnancy myths concerning dental treatment, ranging from one saying you should avoid dentists at all costs to another that says your oral health will have no effect on your baby at all.
Let’s put a few of these dental myths to bed! Firstly, pregnant women can be more at risk of oral conditions such as ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ and ‘pregnancy tumours’. Both of these conditions are treatable, but you need to be sure to visit your dentist to make sure you don’t have either.
It’s good to keep an eye on gum disease too as this can put you at higher risk of a pre-term, low-weight baby. And of course, morning sickness can cause real damage to your teeth as your stomach acid can dissolve tooth enamel.
Have we convinced you that regular visits to your dentist are a must yet?
Myth 13: No Flying
One common myth during pregnancy is that you shouldn’t fly.
Of course, flying is pretty much off the menu during the current pandemic, but hopefully things will return to normal soon and any of you jet setting mothers-to-be reading this will be comforted to know that flying is safe for you and your baby, right up until about 36 weeks.
Just get the “all clear” from your doctor, take any relevant medical records with you, and make sure you get travel insurance!
Myth 14: Cocoa Butter will Prevent Stretch Marks
We can’t write this blog without covering off some of the bizarre myths around pregnancy stretch mark prevention and the various treatments and DIY’s.
A popular one is that cocoa butter will prevent stretch marks. And another is that creams and gels can moisten the skin enough that it won’t tear as it stretches.
We know that the only way to prevent stretch marks is through a mechanical support like our clever underwear.
But you don’t have to take our word for it – why not read what the renowned Cochrane Report has to say about this particular pregnancy and health and beauty myth.
For more information on our 3-step stretch mark prevention system click here.