Pregnancy Myths

Often, pregnancy brings about much excitement – and a lot of advice. It is sometimes difficult to know which advice is good advice and which is just a pregnancy myth.

Below, we discuss a few common myths of pregnancy and offer the most up-to-date, evidence-based information.

Please note: this information should never replace the prescribed advice of your GP, Dr Hong or another healthcare professional.

Myth 1 – Consuming high allergy foods in pregnancy will cause allergies in your baby

One common myth in pregnancy is that women who avoid high-allergy foods (such as peanuts and dairy) during their pregnancy reduce the risk of their baby developing allergies.

However, there is no evidence to suggest that infant allergies are prevented by excluding foods (particularly those that are considered highly allergic) from the diet during pregnancy.

Of course, if you suffer from a food allergy yourself, it is always best to avoid that food.

There is some research to suggest that moderate intakes of oily fish approximately three times a week may reduce the risk of eczema seen in infancy.

Myth 2 – You need to eat for two when you are pregnant

It is natural to think you need to eat for two when you are pregnant; you are carrying another person after all!

However, in the First Trimester your energy needs and therefore the amount of calories you require is just the same as if you weren’t pregnant. It is important to note that your requirements for additional vitamins and minerals will however increase in the first trimester.

As your pregnancy progresses, your energy needs will change and therefore you will require slightly more calories in your second and third trimester to accommodate your growing baby. You’ll need approximately 300-400 calories more than you’d need if you weren’t pregnant.

Myth 3 – You shouldn’t drink coffee when you are pregnant

There is not enough evidence to suggest avoiding all caffeine during pregnancy will affect birth weight or pregnancy outcomes.  According to the Australian Department of Health & Aging, consuming caffeine in small amounts is unlikely to cause harm in pregnancy.

  • A small amount of caffeine is about 200-300mg per day

Below are some common beverages that contain caffeine:

  • One cup of black tea = 25-110mg of caffeine
  • 375ml of cola = 48mg of caffeine
  • One cup of coffee (instant) = 60-80mg of caffeine
  • One cup of coffee (filter) = 60-120mg of caffeine
  • One cup of café-style coffee (i.e. flat white or latte) = 113-282mg of caffeine
  • One cup of green tea = 30-50mg of caffeine

Myth 4 – Exercising when you are pregnant is dangerous to your baby

Exercise is actually important during pregnancy. According to Sports Medicine Australia, there is substantial evidence to suggest that women who are physically active during their pregnancy experience the following benefits:

  • Reduction in complications in delivery
  • Reduction in risk of pregnancy-related complications including
    • Pre-eclampsia
    • Pregnancy-related hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Reduced pain in the lower back and pelvis
  • Reduced anxiety and stress levels

It is recommended that pregnant women aim for low impact, moderate-intensity exercises (such as walking or swimming) of approximately 30 minutes duration on most days of the week.

Before you commence any exercise regime during pregnancy it is always important to talk to Dr Hong first.

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