Babies and old wives’ tales go hand in hand. We set the record straight by busting these pregnancy myths…
“Infertility is caused by stress”
Six months into baby-making sex with no results can leave you feeling anxious it’ll never happen. But vent your frustration to your BFF and she’s likely to say, “Relax and it’ll just happen.” Kicking her in the shin is not the stress reliever that you think it might be! While infertility can be caused by numerous underlying physical issues, a study by the Domar Centre For Mind/Body Health suggests that stress management and cognitive behavioural therapy can significantly increase conception rates for women undergoing IVF. (Plus, it can’t hurt to quote this study when you want a massage from your partner!)
Dr Saleema Nosarka of the Cape Fertility Clinic confirms that while stress won’t make you infertile, being able to relax and laugh does help your chances of conception.
“Sex can kick-start labour”
Anyone who’s been through 38 weeks of pregnancy will understand the desire to get things going. Besides taking your mind off pregnancy aches and pains, orgasms get the body producing contraction-causing oxytocin and the prostaglandin in sperm is also said to soften the cervix. Studies show conflicting results, and Cape Town-based obstetrician Dr Elmarie Basson states that this only works once the body is ready – great news if you are pre-term and wanting some love.
Sex may not help you to meet your child sooner, but it will provide distraction. Just don’t have sex after your water has broken, as this could lead to infection.
“Pregnant women shouldn’t take baths”
The logic behind this old wives’ tale is that because your body temp is already a lot warmer than usual, you don’t want to be raising it unnecessarily. Also the porn-star breasts, water retention and new baby bump take some getting used to, and it can be dangerous as we’re a bit more wobbly than we used to be, not to mention feeling faint unexpectedly.
While you can relax happily in a luke-warm bath without fear of hurting your child (skip the scents and bubbles), it would be a good idea for your partner to help you out of the bath safely to avoid any slips.
“If your cat/dog is unusually attentive, you may be pregnant”
Is Brutus keeping an eye on you like JZ’s bodyguards? Animal behaviourist Bernice Jaffe says that although there is no scientific proof of this, she has had many of her pregnant clients claim that, even before they know they’re pregnant, their dogs start acting differently – either uncharacteristically resting their heads on their owner’s lower stomach or acting more protective. Jaffe suggests that the animals sense changes in their owner’s hormones, behaviour and routines.
Anecdotal evidence says yes; science says it’s possible.