3 Widespread Pregnancy Myths Exposed
Congratulations! I am sure that if you are reading this then you are just starting your pregnancy journey or might nearly even be at the stage when you are ready to bring your new bundle of joy into the world. Well, wherever you may be on this nine-month road, you might be asking yourself what can I do to ensure I have the best pregnancy possible? Of course, in life, we might turn to friends and family who have children, or even end up scrolling through articles with different bloggers opinions. In this article I am going to break down three of the most common pregnancy myths that I hear and discuss what the research says. Let’s debunk some of these myths below…
Myth 1: I shouldn’t eat eggs during pregnancy – The current research around food allergies and pregnancy suggests that the risk of your baby developing an allergy can be reduced when your baby is in the womb. While many women think that they should exclude food allergens, such as eggs, cow’s milk, peanuts and soy from their diet during pregnancy, there is no research to suggest that this will lower the chances of your child developing an allergy. In fact, studies now show that eating eggs daily during pregnancy will help to reduce the risk of egg and cow’s milk allergies. During pregnancy, your child’s immune system is slowly being programmed, so it’s the perfect time to introduce common allergens during this time to build up your bub’s immunity, just ensure that eggs are well cooked to minimize listeria and salmonella risks.
Myth 2: You must stop eating fish – Many pregnant women will avoid fish at all costs. This is in large due to the fear of exposure to mercury which is found commonly in fish. Now, let’s look at the truth! Mercury is a naturally occurring chemical found in air and water, so fish can take it up when they feed. The nervous system of your unborn baby is the most sensitive to the effects of mercury as their brain is still developing in the womb, which can make pregnant women fearful of eating fish. However, what we need to remember is that fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, so we should not be excluding fish from our diet, especially during pregnancy. What we do need to be mindful of is that different types of fish, and the location they are caught, will lead to different amounts of mercury. Fish such as shark (flake) and swordfish should be avoided as they have the highest levels of mercury. Including 2-3 serves per week of low mercury level fish such as salmon and tuna as part of a healthy diet per week will be of great benefit for you and your baby. So, do not be so quick to cut the fish from your diet (and if you’re not eating fish regularly, you may even need to think about eating more!).
Myth 3: I need to ‘eat for two’ – One of the oldest rumors about pregnancy is that you must ‘eat for two’. While it is expected for you to gain weight during pregnancy, doubling your food intake may put you at risk of complications such as gestational diabetes if you are gaining weight rapidly. Now, while there is no need to double the intake of your food, it is important that you are consuming a healthy and high-quality diet during your pregnancy to optimise not only your health, but the health of your baby. Pregnancy is the time to focus on consuming adequate amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, lean proteins, dairy products, and healthy fats. So, double your efforts to eat a quality diet, but ensure that you don’t double your calorie intake.
Want more advice?
No matter where you get your pregnancy advice from, it is important that we turn to the evidence to back up any claims that the internet or other people tell you.
For more evidence-based advice about what to eat during pregnancy visit Nourish With Melanie.