Old Wives Tales

Old Wives Tales
January 5, 2018 Nicola
old-wives-tales about pregnancy

Everybody has a view about pregnancy… even complete strangers can give you helpful (or blatantly unhelpful) advice about your baby bump.

We’d like to explore some of those favourite nuggets of wisdom, wise comments and questions.

“Have you started eating coal yet?”

Unlikely as it sounds, many pregnant women experience unusual food cravings.  The phenomenon is known as ‘pica’ and can include an appetite for coal, toothpaste, chalk or clay amongst other even more bizarre non-foodstuffs. Eating ice, or pagophagia is particularly common in the US and earth eating or geophagia is reputedly popular amongst pregnant women in Tanzania.
More common pregnancy cravings include ice-cream, water melon and salty snacks.

“Has the nesting instinct kicked in yet?”

Is this really a thing?  Apparently yes! As count-down to birth approaches oestrogen levels begin to rise and studies have shown that increased levels of oestrogen, combined with higher levels of oxytocin and prolactin can prompt the onset of more maternal behaviour.   Preparing for your baby with unprecedented cleaning, decorating or arranging of very small garments on hangers is perfectly normal.
Make the most of it, you’re unlikely to feel like carrying out these tasks after the birth.

“Oooh you’re carrying high – definitely a boy!”

Popular folklore suggests that women who carry their bump high and to the front are expecting boys and that if your bump is low and wide it’s DEFINITELY a girl (or the other way around depending on where you live and who you talk to). Interesting, as most pregnant women are quite subjective about the shape of their bump, the shape shifts depending on how the baby is moving in the womb and it changes again when the head engages.  Unsurprisingly, tall, slender women tend to have different shaped baby bumps compared to short women with wider hips.
Studies of pregnant women have not revealed any correlation between bump shape and gender.

“Breastfeeding works as a contraceptive”

No, it doesn’t.  Whilst it can take a few months for your periods to get back to normal after the birth of your baby, and breast-feeding can delay this, you will ovulate before you have your first postnatal period.  This can be anywhere between 6 and 36 weeks after your baby is born and there are plenty of examples of breast-feeding women becoming pregnant just weeks after the birth of their baby. Even with twins.  Breast feeding is NOT an effective method of birth control.
But having babies close together can be a delight! (Honest!)

“Forgotten something AGAIN? It’s baby brain”

Actually, research has shown there is some scientific evidence for baby brain. During pregnancy, women use the right side of their brain more, as they prepare to bond with their babies.  The right side of the brain is related to emotional skills, making you more sensitive and preparing you to concentrate and understand your babies needs after the birth.
But whilst attention is focused on the right-hand side of your brain, the left-hand side can get a little less agile.  It’s not your fault.
For sensible, down to earth advice click here.  We’ll keep you updated with weekly information throughout your pregnancy.

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