Pregnancy myths debunked

Fetal heart rate can predict baby’s sex

Unlike some of the other superstitions surrounding predictions of babies’ sex (like the shape of your stomach or the position of skin discoloration), looking at the number of beats per minute of their hearts sounds more scientifically sound. So is it true that if baby’s heart rate is lower than 140 bpm that it’s a boy, or if it’s higher it’s a girl? Although it sounds feasible, studies haven’t found a connection between fetal heart rate during pregnancy and a child’s sex, although baby girls do tend to have a higher heart rate during labor.

Ab workouts aren’t safe during pregnancy

Your healthcare provider may recommend that you stop doing them early in the second trimester, but exercising your abdominal muscles isn’t a bad idea in itself. There are so many other options for core-strengthening exercises you can do safely and comfortably during pregnancy. In fact, they could actually be helpful – your body is going to be under a lot of strain during labor, and a little extra muscle won’t hurt.

You can’t fly when you’re pregnant

The actual act of flying itself doesn’t pose any threats to a healthy pregnancy. The concern, and the reason why some airlines limit how late in a pregnancy a woman can fly, is for the possibility of complications or pre-term labor happening mid-flight, where medical attention may not be available. It’s important to check in with your healthcare provider before making travel plans, particularly in your first and third trimesters, but as a rule, pregnancy shouldn’t be keeping you grounded if you don’t want to be.

Heartburn for hair-growth

This one may actually be true — a 2007 study at Johns Hopkins University suggests that heartburn during pregnancy and baby’s potential full head of hair at birth may be caused by the same set of hormones. More of these hormones can both lead to heartburn and influence hair growth. Eating spicy food to cause heartburn and, by extension, hair growth, on the other hand, is still probably a no-go.

Vascular and pigmented birthmarks

While it isn’t totally clear what the root cause of birthmarks is, research says that these abnormal blood vessels and clusters of pigmented cells probably aren’t prompted by mothers’ frustrated desires for strawberries during pregnancy. While there isn’t a ton of research to back it up, it seems safe to say that they probably don’t predict too much about baby’s future, either.

Are there any old wives’ tales you’ve heard? Which myths do you still believe?