Confused About Pregnancy? 3 OB/GYNs Straighten Out The One Pregnancy Misconception They Hear All The Time
Much of the media I consumed as a teenager had premises based around pregnancy. From the rollercoaster ride that was 16 And Pregnant to the story of my personal style icon, 2007 indie banger Juno — much of what I watched from age 12 onward seemed to include a pee-on-the-stick pregnancy test and a baby shower. Still, movies with amazing soundtracks and MTV hits don't always show you the whole picture. And if you've watched all the baby shows, read all the baby books, and are still feeling a little confused about pregnancy, you, my friends, are not alone.
Perhaps pregnancy can feel so confusing because so many child-bearing myths exist. "There are so many misconceptions out there!" Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB/GYN at at Yale-New Haven Hospital and clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine, tells Elite Daily. "In the old days they would refer to them as 'Old Wive's Tales.' My poor late mother was besieged by my crazy older relatives when she was pregnant with me."
When it comes to pregnancy, finding the real tea isn't always easy. I spoke to three OB/GYNs about debunking the pregnancy misconceptions they hear all the time, and what they had to say is honestly super reassuring.
1. You Can't Assume Gender!
Of course, the liberal arts student in me was thrilled to debunk any gender-related baby myths. For Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, a common misconception is that you can assume your baby's gender based on their position in the uterus, "Carrying high (or wide) means a girl, while carrying low (or narrow) means it's a boy," Dr. Gaither says.
According to Dr. Gaither, the position of the baby reveals less about the baby's gender and more about the pregnant person's body, "The manner in which a pregnant woman carries has nothing to do with the sex of the child, but everything to do with the woman’s abdominal musculature," Dr. Gaither says. "The more 'toned' the abdomen, the 'higher' the gravid uterus will appear in the abdomen....conversely, the less 'toned' the abdomen, the 'lower' the gravid uterus will appear."
Throwing away old gender misconceptions with the joy of 1,000 Marie Kondos, a pregnant person's own muscles inform how they carry their baby.
2. You Don't Have To Stick To Decaf
For mommies-to-be with serious coffee addictions, Dr. Sherry A. Ross, Women’s Health Expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period., comes in hot with some life-saving news. The myth she commonly hears, "Caffeine can't be consumed during pregnancy," Dr. Ross says.
And the real (caffeinated) tea? "Caffeine can be consumed in a safe manner during pregnancy. Know how much caffeine is contained in the foods and beverages you eat, so you can keep the quantity under 200 milligrams a day, which is considered a safe amount before and during pregnancy," Dr. Ross says. "It’s recommended to limit your caffeine intake to one cup of coffee or two cups of tea a day during the pre-pregnancy period."
Keeping an eye on your caffeine consumption can be a good practice for pregnant people, but according to Dr. Ross, you don't need to completely cut your daily cup.
3. You May Not Get It From Your Mama
While you and your mom may share a lot of things, according to Dr. Minkin, a common pregnancy misconception is assuming that your pregnancy will be like your mother's. "'My mother had a terrible labor so that I will have a terrible labor' And another one you hear, 'My mother had to have a Caesarean, so I know I'll need one — why bother to go through labor?''
You and your mom may be totally in sync when it comes to clothes, food, or movies, but according to Dr. Minkin, your mother's pregnancy doesn't dictate your own. "We have many things that we can offer women, such as epidurals, which can really help with pain during labor," Dr. Minkin says. "The younger woman may have a much better pelvis than her mom. And also a lot depends on how the baby presents to the pelvis (the position in utero)."
Dr. Minkin also shared a tip from her own doctor. "His answer was a classic, which I still repeat to my patients: 'If at some point during your pregnancy your partner naked, there is a good chance your baby will be born naked.' And I think that's still the only reliable one out there!" Dr. Minkin says.
Pregnancy can be a confusing time. As they say in grade school, it's important to remember that there are no stupid questions. Parsing the real tea from the gossip can be stressful, but checking in with your doctor can provide some much-needed clarity and calm to your new adventure. At the end of the day, if you're planning on starting a family, just remember: You are going to be an amazing parent, and that's no misconception at all.