For pregnant women, it’s natural to be worried about things that may hurt their unborn babies. Because of that, they take extra care to research what they should and shouldn’t eat, drink, or do.
But fear has the potential to make us overgeneralize and exaggerate potential hazards, and that mindset inevitably produces plenty of myths. To balance keeping your baby safe and putting your fears to rest, we’re debunking four common myths about pregnancy.
Getting a Massage Is Dangerous
For many years, the rumor that pregnant women risk premature birth or, worse, miscarriage by getting a massage abounded. Some massage therapists will even refuse to work on pregnant women because of this belief. However, no evidence backs up this theory. In fact, massage can offer pregnant women numerous health benefits, such as:
- Relief from muscle pain
- Reduced headaches
- Reduced swelling
- Hormone regulation
- Stress relief
If you want a massage but have concerns, talk to your doctor. They’ll typically recommend a lighter tissue massage.
You Can’t Have Any Coffee
There’s a long list of foods and drinks that doctors urge women not to consume when they’re expecting, including alcohol, mercury-heavy fish, and raw meat. Coffee is often present on this list because it can increase the risk of miscarriage when consumed in excess during the first trimester.
This is a notable concern, but this risk diminishes after the first trimester. Having a cup of coffee in the morning will not affect the baby, though it’s still good to keep it to just a cup or two a day.
You Should Never Dye Your Hair
This common pregnancy myth is related to the very real risk of toxic fumes to prenatal health. Exposure to fumes such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can affect developmental health. It’s for the same reason that pregnant women need to be cautious when remodeling their homes. But the fumes in hair dye aren’t as toxic as we may think, and the dye doesn’t extensively absorb into the skin. As long as the room is well-ventilated, dyeing your hair shouldn’t harm the baby.
Exercise Can Harm the Baby
This is another idea that stems from some degree of truth. Too much heavy lifting can be bad for the baby, and it can increase the risk of falls for you. However, debunking this common pregnancy myth is simply a matter of recognizing that a sedentary lifestyle can be harmful to your health. To strike a balance, it’s a good idea to take part in regular, moderately low-impact activity daily. This can be as simple as taking a brisk walk or as complex as going for a swim.