If you made a list of subjects that are surrounded by lots of myths, pregnancy would probably be near or at the top of the list. Some myths ― such as one that claims you can tell the sex of a baby by the shape of a woman’s belly ― are fairly harmless. Others, however, can be unhelpful or even dangerous, including myths about exercise hurting the baby or that you need to eat double the food you normally do.

In this blog, Dr. John Macey discusses some of the myths and facts about pregnancy. Dr. Macey offers comprehensive pregnancy care for women of all ages at his state-of-the-art OB/GYN practice in Nashville, Tennessee.

Myth: You’re eating for two

While you should add a little extra to your diet, you certainly don’t need to double your portions or eat past the point of fullness. You only need to ingest about 300 more calories per day during the second and third trimesters. That’s about half a chicken sandwich or half a cup of nuts and fruits. And try to make sure those 300 extra calories come from nutrient-rich foods. An extra 300 calories from healthy food is worth more than 300 empty calories from junk food.

Myth: Peanut and dairy consumption will make your baby allergic

There are a ton of myths around what pregnant women can and cannot eat. One of the biggest myths is that eating peanut products or dairy will make the baby allergic to these foods. The truth is that your baby won’t develop an allergy from you consuming either one. For peanuts, one of the biggest factors that may increase a baby’s risk of developing an allergy is if one of the parents has a peanut or tree nut allergy.

There are, however, some foods pregnant women should avoid due to the potential that they could have harmful bacteria or other properties. These foods include raw meat and raw eggs.

Myth: You shouldn’t pet cats

This myth is tied to a rare parasitic disease called toxoplasmosis, which can potentially lead to miscarriages or cause malformed babies. The odds of you contracting the disease from your cat, however, are extremely low.

Only cats who eat tissues with the disease can get it, so you’re safe if your cat lives indoors fulltime or you don’t feed it raw meat. Additionally, humans can only contract it through direct contact with cat feces. So wash your hands directly after cleaning the litter ― or have someone else clean it ― to keep your feline friend at home.

Myth: Exercise will hurt your baby

For women who were exercising before they became pregnant, most doctors believe it’s OK to engage in light-to-moderate exercise as long as it doesn’t include contact sports or prolonged periods on the back. A recent survey of OB/GYNs found that 97% recommended that women exercise 2-5 times per week, especially during the first trimester.

However, if you didn’t exercise regularly before you got pregnant, talk with your doctor first before exercising, as starting a new routine may not be advisable.

You’re sure to encounter more myths than those listed above. When you have questions, Dr. Macey is your best resource. He’s an expert on all things related to pregnancy, including high-risk situations, and he’ll always make sure you get the best care and advice. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Dr. John Macey today.

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