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You are doing tons of research about what you should and should not do while pregnant. You are also getting lots of advice from well-meaning family, friends, and acquaintances. With so much information coming your way, how do you know what is fact and what is fiction? We compiled a list of five common myths to see what the experts say.
Wait! Before you help yourself to that second serving of banana cream pie (or whatever you are craving), remember that you are eating for two, you and your baby, not two adults. While there are no hard and fast rules about how much weight you can gain during pregnancy, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that, “Most women should gain somewhere between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy.”1 If you gain too much weight, the March of Dimes warns that you may give birth to a premature baby or large baby, and you may develop diabetes or high blood pressure.2
Fish can be an amazing source of source of DHA, an omega-3 essential fatty acid that supports your baby’s healthy brain development. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AGOC), “To get the most benefits from omega-3 fatty acids, women should eat at least two servings of fish or shellfish (about 8–12 ounces) per week and while pregnant or breastfeeding.” ACOG suggests choosing salmon, shrimp, catfish, and Pollock; and warns to avoid fish high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish.3 The Mayo Clinic agrees, and advises to “avoid raw fish and shellfish, including uncooked, and contaminated seafood sushi, sashimi, and raw oysters, scallops or clams.”4 If you do not like fish, but want the benefits of DHA, supplement with 300 mg daily.5
Worried that you have to put your standing appointment at the salon on hold? According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), “Although fairly limited, most research indicates the chemicals found in both semi-permanent and permanent dyes are not highly toxic and are safe to use during pregnancy. In addition, only small amounts of hair dye may be absorbed by the skin, leaving little that would be able to reach the fetus.” The APA adds, “As such, this small amount is not considered harmful to the fetus.”6
The Mayo Clinic says that air travel is considered safe for women who have healthy pregnancies, but cautions you to make sure your healthcare provider approves. You may be grounded if you have a high-risk pregnancy or if there is a chance of preterm labor. When is the best time to fly? The Mayo Clinic suggests the middle of your pregnancy, when you are about 14 to 28 weeks along.7 After you check with your healthcare provider, but before you book your flight, check with your airline carrier. Some airlines will not let you fly with them during your last trimester.
If your healthcare provider gives the green light, having sex with your partner while pregnant should be safe for you and your baby. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Sex doesn’t hurt your baby. The amniotic fluid in your uterus helps protect your baby when you’re having sex.”8 Are there times you need to abstain from sex while pregnant? Yes, if you had a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, or more) before; a previous miscarriage or you are at risk of having one now; or if you have had a premature baby before or are at risk for preterm labor now.8
The information included in this article and on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation.