Ten Pregnancy and Maternity Myths

You, Mamas, probably have heard it all, and now, so have I. While expecting and even after the delivery, I got tired of some silly, and even stupid myths women try to force on other women. So, I thought it is time to burst some ugly myth bubbles.

Myth #1: Belly’s position to predict gender

If your belly is high you will have a girl, if you carry low you will have a boy. Or, if your sides widen you have a boy, and if you are more petite during the pregnancy, you have a girl.

I am still laughing, because I carried neither high or low, neither narrow or wide. Sprout moved where she wanted, when she wanted and how she wanted. She never “dropped” before birth (i.e. her body never shifted all the way down).  The day I went into labor, I taught two fitness classes, made a 5 course meal, had guests over, while she stayed in the same general area as she did before. I simply looked pregnant, that’s it!

Myth #2: Using moisturizers can prevent stretchmarks

If that were true, every pregnant woman would slather herself with the gooeyest (is that a word?! :)) of slime on a daily basis.  While moisturizing my belly after showers was a part of my daily ritual, it was no different than moisturizing the rest of my body. I did not give my belly skin any special attention during pregnancy… and DO NOT HAVE even one stretch mark.

Myth #3: Getting stretchmarks (or not) is genetic

No, it’s not! Some of my sisters (and there are SEVEN of us) have stretchmarks, while others do not. I think that every pregnancy is different, just like one woman is different from another. There is no way to predict who or when might have stretchmarks. The same woman might not get any stretchmarks with one child, while go cobweb wild with another.

Myth #4: The six weeks rule

Whoever came up with that? I heard it from doctors, nurses, other Moms and even my experience midwives: “You need to wait for at least six weeks, before… (fill in the blank).” I still want to know who is responsible for this big lie? Because of this made-up rule I felt like I was lagging behind with my healing, because six weeks after having Sprout, I still did not feel like “myself”.  To be honest, I do not know if I will ever feel like “myself”. But when you hear the “six weeks” over and over again, it makes you feel deficient, incomplete, and puts totally wrong expectations in your mind. I think it is because of this dumb expectation that American women are rushed back to work after only six weeks post-partum. Wouldn’t it be easier to say: “You will get there, when you do, and your body will let you know.”

Based on the “six weeks” prediction I planned going back to work after six weeks, but let me tell you, as great as my pregnancy was, Sprout’s delivery was like a month-long marathon and did me in to recover for much longer than six weeks. I am still not the old me (and I do not know if I will ever be). So, if you are pregnant, know to expect the unexpected.  That’s it! Let you body heal, don’t push too hard, do not set lofty goals. Maybe you read too many celebrity stories, when some model bounces right back and does a runway show only weeks after delivering; but I beg you to realize that:

  1. it is not realistic,
  2. your body needs time to heal,
  3. doing one runway show is not the same as going back to work for the rest of us mortals,
  4. you do not have a personal assistant or a chef, and probably won’t get much sleep for the first few weeks of your newborn’s life!

Myth #5: It is hard to lose baby weight

Although is will seem like I will contradict what I just said in #4, it is not a contradiction.  Losing weight is easy if:

  1. you did not gain more than your body needed for a healthy pregnancy,
  2. you eat a healthy, plant based diet

I put on 30 lbs with Sprout, 18 of which came off in less than 24 hrs after giving birth; then I was 23 lbs down in 7 days, and the rest of the 7 came off in the following few weeks.  I did not diet, I did not restrict my caloric intake (on the contrary! I ate like a race horse! ;)), I could not even work out for almost 2.5 months, but I did not stress over it.  My active and healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, and healthy diet after, helped me melt the pounds off.

On another note, it is also good to remember that losing weight and getting back in shape are not always the same thing.  While I lost the weight quickly, my skin still needed time to retract, so it was only reasonable not to expect a flat belly immediately after.

Myth #6: In the old days women gave birth, swaddled the baby and went back to work

I only hope that it was a man that started this dumb tale. If you ever gave birth you know that no matter how great the delivery was (and mine was great), your body went through a very physically taxing experience and you need time to recover.  Just imagine having a major surgery and going back to work… Not happening! Well, what do you think happens to a woman’s body, when the tiny opening of her uterus has to open wide enough to let a child out, and her (YES, I AM GOING THERE!) vagina, which has an opening the size of a small plum (or whatever else you want to imagine :)) must be torn open to accommodate a HUMAN BEING to come out of it!

Myth #7: You will bounce right back

See #6! While it might be a possibility for some, it should never be your goal. GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO RECOVER! If you can get help, do! If you can delay going back to work, do! I had quiet intense back labor, which felt like the fiery flames of …. and let me tell you–you do not bounce right back after it!

Myth #8: Breastfeeding will cause you to lose weight

ROFL! (If you are not sure what that means–rolling on the floor laughing). If this were true, all of my sisters would the skinny… THEY ARE NOT! For that matter, the 3+ billion of the Earth’s population (women) would be skinny–they are not!  While you might get hungrier faster while breastfeeding, only CLEAN calories (plant, unprocessed) will burn quickly, giving you energy; a junk diet, no matter how much you are breastfeeding, is still… junk. If there are some exceptions in the womankind to this rule, it’s just that–exceptions, the rule is the opposite–you eat too much, you eat junk, you will keep on the pounds!

There was a young lady in my fitness class who was pregnant during the same time as I was.  She is probably 10 years younger than I. We delivered at about the same time.  When I saw her about 3 months later, while all of my “baby weight” was gone, she still looked pretty much the same as she did during the pregnancy, sans the belly–still round and carrying extra weight, although breastfeeding.

Myth #9: Rest when baby rests

And all real women said… “Impossible!” When my midwives told me that, even though this is our first child, I rolled my eyes in disbelief. Really? My husband got only 2 days off work after Sprout was born. With him gone, I still needed to make food, wash her diapers, take care of her… oh, and I did have business to run, which took no breaks! To imagine that every time my newborn closed her eyes I could lie down to rest was unimaginable, although highly desirable. Let’s simply admit it–the rich and the famous, the millionaires who can afford to hire help, they can probably pull this one off; as for the rest of us human Moms–we are “all you can do professional zombies”! Although I highly recommend to attempt this feat (resting with your newborn), having realistic expectations will keep you from going crazy.

Myth #10: All newborns are sleepy all the time

Meet Sprout:

I do not think that she knows the definition of sleep.  It is not because I am a bad parent–I give her every opportunity to nap and rest.  Ever since she was born, however, she was super alert, and prefers to study the world around her rather than sleep.  She is healthy, smart, and keeps on putting weight and growing.

While my nephew and his wife were blessed with a super sleepy baby boy who did not need any encouragement to fall asleep, I was blessed with a little mini-me–she barely stops to take a 30 min nap… and no amount of tricks have been able to change that, save me lying next to her to make sure she stays down.  Yes, I know that some of you are able to let your kid cry it out a few times to learn the new habit, but, while I am iron-strong when it comes to everything else in my life, I am, admittedly, gooey-weak when it comes to hearing her cry for longer than a few minutes.  I did try let her cry it out once, and 30 mins later she was still up, and I was crying with her… so… I am still a professional zombie, aspiring to be stronger in face of my crying kiddo  :(.

Myth #10: The Fourth Trimester

I cannot remember where this silly thinking originated, but I heard it way too many times–when the baby is born, the first three months will be like her fourth trimester. She simply had to come out because there was no room to grow on the inside anymore, but she will need another 3 months to finish developing.

A few thoughts usually cross my mind:

  1. this is very stupid (yes, I said it! go ahead and throw that tomato, if you want to), and very evolutionistic view. I think that if the babies needed 4 trimesters in the womb, God would have made it so they would have been in us for 12 months, not 9!
  2. kids will keep growing and developing WAY beyond 9, 12 or even 100 months :). They will keep developing and growing into their adulthood;
  3. See myth #10, not all babies come out of the womb and sleep all the time, because they are growing; some of them manage to do both–grow and stay up at the same time.

I have a few more, less commonly spread myths I have heard, but I will save them for another time.

Your Myth?

What are some of the myths you have come across while pregnant or in your life, but now know they were just a bunch of lies and superstitions?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728672872 Kim Ralph Pirie

    I love this! I agree with you on the 6 weeks and so much more! I just hope I am not the girl from your workout class that still has the baby belly :)

    • http://www.vega-licious.com/ Elena

      Heck no! You slimmed down quick! And I do not think I am 10 years older than you :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=728672872 Kim Ralph Pirie

        Thanks! I just wish I was able to get to class more often! and your right I am not 10 years younger :)