You NEED to know the truth about these 18 pregnancy myths

Can you pet your cat or dye your hair while pregnant? This article will tell you.

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  • Pregnancy is already a tiring experience when dealing with morning sickness and aching backs, but let's not forget the countless superstitions that make the experience even more stressful. There are so many farfetched and absurd beliefs surrounding expecting mothers. Could some of those myths actually be based on facts?

  • Here is a list of 18 busted pregnancy myths and some truths too:

  • 1. Myth: Hair dye can harm your baby

  • This common belief is actually false! Have no fear; you can cover your roots without any complications. Chemicals are only harmful if they are used excessively. The only actual risk from hair dye is the strong fumes that emanate from the dye itself can make pregnant women feel nauseous.

  • 2. Myth: You can't pet your cat

  • You are free to pet Fluffy all you want during the nine months of pregnancy. But, just don't change her litter box because of a risk for toxoplasmosis.

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  • 3. Myth: Flu shots are dangerous

  • Flu shots are actually recommended to expectant mothers. The vaccine does nothing but protect the baby. In fact, pregnant women are more susceptible to having complications from the flu, so getting the shot can actually save your life.

  • 4. Myth: You're eating for two

  • A lot of pregnant women use pregnancy as an excuse to binge on their favorite treats. Although you might have a growing baby in your belly, you only need about 300 extra calories a day to maintain a healthy fetus.

  • 5. Truth: Go easy on the caffeine

  • Most doctors recommend lowering your caffeine intake during pregnancy. Too much caffeine has been linked to an increased risk in miscarrying and low-birth weight. According to a study done by the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women should lower their intake to less than 200 mg of caffeine per day. 200 mg is found in about one 12 oz cup of coffee.

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  • 6. Myth: You shouldn't fly during your third trimester

  • If you have a big vacation coming up, go for it. Small amounts of radiation from airport security will not affect the baby. But be cautious when traveling in the third trimester, and don't travel alone. You never know when that baby will suddenly want to arrive.

  • 7. Myth: No seafood

  • Seafood is actually quite healthy for a pregnant mother and the fetus. Fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids are especially important and can assist in the baby's brain and vision development. The only fish that should be avoided are those high in mercury, such as excessive amounts of tuna, shark and swordfish.

  • 8. Myth: You can't be intimate

  • Sex doesn't hurt the baby in your body, because it is protected by amniotic fluid. So you are still able to be intimate. But be especially cautious and aware of sexually transmitted infections; your baby isn't always protected from those.

  • 9. Myth: Exercising can harm your baby

  • Exercising moderately can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your posture and decrease your risk for gestational diabetes.

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  • 10. Truth: Your birth month can impact the baby's personality

  • Although most people believe astrology is a big hoax, the stars may be on to something. There have been multiple studies suggesting that the time of year you arrived can have a lasting impact on both mental and physical health. The month someone is born in may have a greater influence on their personality than you previously thought.

  • 11. Truth: Your baby is at risk for being overweight if you gain a lot of weight during pregnancy

  • Pregnant moms shouldn't gain too much or too little while carrying the baby. A new study shows that not gaining enough weight or gaining too much increases your child's chances of being overweight or obese.

  • 12. Truth: Do not attend funerals

  • Although this belief first started as a superstitious old wives tale, it actually makes sense. Pregnant women are best kept away from depressing and stressful events, especially when those events are heavily populated and crowded. Stress can put you at risk for infection, and a small room with many people cramped inside can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

  • 13. Truth: Sorry, no hot tub for you!

  • You should avoid anything that can overheat your body while pregnant. That includes hot baths, too much sun exposure and saunas. Anything that can overheat you can potentially be dangerous to your baby.

  • 14. Myth: Spicy foods can trigger labor

  • You can eat as much salsa, cilantro and spicy enchiladas as you want and nothing will change. Spicy food does tend to cause a lot of heartburn in pregnant women though, so be cautious if you are prone to acid reflux.

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  • 15. Myth: Cocoa butter prevents stretch marks

  • Cocoa butter is a great moisturizer, but that is all it does. Putting too much on your skin can actually backfire and cause a rash or sensitivity.

  • 16. Myth: Sleep only on your left side

  • Sleeping only on one side every night is terribly uncomfortable for anyone. Sleep in any position that will allow you to get some shuteye, though as doctors warn, avoid resting on your back and stomach when things start feeling heavy.

  • 17. Myth: You're having a girl if you have severe morning sickness

  • Though it might be true for some moms being sicker when they were pregnant with a girl, every pregnancy is completely different. The same answer goes for how your body carries your baby bump. There is no way to determine the baby's gender other than an ultrasound.

  • 18. Truth: Castor oil can induce labor

  • When your body is beginning to prep for delivery and has begun to naturally dilate, castor oil has proven itself worthy to induce labor. In fact, the oil is one of a few natural oils that can help labor along. However, before you attempt to use castor oil, consult with your physician.

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Chakell Wardleigh has a Bachelor of Arts in English. She spends her days silently (mostly) correcting others' grammar. She adores all things nerd, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare, and anything else that whisks her away from reality. She currently works as an editor for the FamilyShare team. You can usually find her with her nose in a book, laughing too loudly, or belting out songs from Hamilton.

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