You're eating for two. MYTH!

Sorry ladies, you only need an extra 300 calories per day so try not to eat too much (especially sugary foods) as otherwise you will gain too much weight and this can increase your risk of gestational diabetes, backaches and high blood pressure (a cause of pre-term birth). On average, women gain about 10-12kg during pregnancy.

Caffeine Is a no-no. MYTH!

You don’t have to skip caffeine all together, just try to limit to one cup per day. Limiting your caffeine intake will also help you sleep better.

Pregnant woman should not eat fish. MYTH!

Fully cooked, low-mercury fish (like salmon, tilapia, shrimp, tuna (canned light), cod, and catfish) are good to eat when you're pregnant, as they will help with baby's development. There are some restrictions when eating fish: a) do not eat fish that is high in mercury, like swordfish, shark, and king mackerel; and, b) do not eat raw fish as this can carry bacteria that could harm your baby.

You have to stop breastfeeding if you get pregnant. MYTH!

There is no medical reason to stop breastfeeding when you are pregnant. The exception is high-risk pregnancies since breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which can cause contractions, but you would also have been told to not have sex and be on bed-rest. Many women continue to breastfeed the older child during pregnancy and after birth. Your nipples may be more sensitive and your milk supply might drop due to hormonal changes.

You can’t touch animals, especially cats, when you are pregnant. MYTH!

There is no problem with cuddling your pet; your baby will not be born with thorns in his skin! However, you shouldn’t change your cat’s litter box during pregnancy because its feces might carry toxoplasmosis, which can harm your baby.

You shouldn’t have sex/exercise/lift your hands over your head/touch your toes while pregnant. MYTH!

Unless you have a specific medical condition and your doctor warns you against it, you will not hurt your baby, cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby or damage the amniotic sack when doing any of these things.

Cocoa butter/lotion prevents stretch marks. MYTH!

Whether you get stretch marks or not mostly has to do with your collagen and how well your skin stretches; something you inherit from your parents. It’s still good to moisturize your belly to help avoid it getting itchy, but don’t go overboard as that might make the itch worse or give you a rash.

Pregnant women cannot get their hair colored. MYTH!

Hair dyes are safe since only the skin absorbs a very small amount. Sometimes the ammonia in permanent dyes can trigger nausea so if that happens, switch to semi-permanent dyes.

If you get sick, baby will get sick. MYTH!

Few infections cross the placenta, so even if you get sick from a cold or stomach virus that doesn't mean your growing baby will. The most common infections in the first trimester are urinary and respiratory infections and stomach flu. While they typically don’t affect your baby, see your doctor; urinary tract infections can lead to kidney infections, so you need to treat them with antibiotics.

It’s not safe to fly when pregnant. MYTH!

Airlines might have restrictions about flying in your last trimester but that is only because they don’t want you to deliver on the plane, not because flying will harm you or your baby. Check with the airline before flying, as you might need a certificate from your doctor clearing you to fly. Some pregnant women, like those with lung or cardiac problems, should never fly without first being cleared by their doctor. Also, the airport security body scanners won’t harm your baby, but if you are worried, ask for a ‘pat-down’ instead.

Coke and chocolate will help bring on labor. MYTH!

Wouldn’t it be nice if this were true! But it simply is not, and while it could make you feel better in the short-term, the caffeine and sugar will agitate you and the baby and dehydrate you, which is not good for you or baby. There are some other common ideas about bringing on labor. One is drinking castor oil, but check with your doctor first, as it can give you terrible diarrhea. If your cervix has already started to efface, you can try walking and sex (your husband’s semen helps soften and dilate your cervix, while your orgasm will cause your uterus to contract). Nipple stimulation can bring on labor by releasing the hormone oxytocin, but it's a slow process; you need to do it for an hour, three times a day.

Water breaking means baby is coming out very soon. MYTH!

Real life is not like the movies, where a woman’s water breaks and she is raced frantically to the hospital, only to deliver her baby within minutes. Don’t we wish! Only 10-15% of the time do the waters break before a woman goes into labor. Most of the time your contractions have already started for real. If contractions didn’t start before the waters broke, they will usually start within 12-24 hours. Call your doctor when your waters break to confirm the time and to describe the color of the liquid. You should go to the hospital within 24 hours of your waters breaking.

Labor starts when you lose your mucus plug. MYTH!

Also called a “bloody show”, this does not mean you’re going into labor either. The mucus plug usually comes out between one-to-seven days before your waters break, or sometimes at the same time. You might not notice it come out, and that’s OK.

A C-section is less painful than a vaginal birth. MYTH!

You might not feel as much pain, but you will likely still feel some pain or discomfort during the process and after when the drugs wear off or give side-effects. Your recovery from birth will probably be longer and tougher and you will have pain in the weeks after delivery and will need medication. You will also have difficulty in picking up, caring for or feeding your newborn and other older children who might need extra attention given their new sibling.

“Good birthing hips” make labor easy. MYTH!

Birthing a baby has nothing to do with a woman’s size on the outside. Some might look wide, but the pelvis can still be small, which can make delivery difficult. The doctor is the only one that can determine the size of your pelvis. The same goes in reverse; even if you look like you have small hips, you might not have a small pelvis, and it doesn’t mean you will need a C-section.

Your labor will be like your mom’s. MYTH!

It’s not true. While you have a 50/50 chance of having the same pelvic shape as your mother, but there are many other factors that can make your experience completely different. And just because your mother might have had a C-section, doesn’t mean you will need one.

Daughters give you a more difficult labor. MYTH!

The sex of your child makes no difference to the difficulty of your labor. A more difficult labor is only caused by the position of the baby as it descends the birth canal, if the baby is very large, or if the mother has pelvic abnormalities (including a narrow pelvis) or uterine fibroids. Also, every person perceives pain differently, so what is painful for some is tolerable for others.

Lying down during labor will help. MYTH!

The opposite is true. Lying flat on your back is not helpful; walk and change positions often if able to help make labor easier.

Labor will for sure be extremely painful. MYTH!

Labor is different for every woman, with sensation ranging from pleasure (yes some women orgasm!) to discomfort to extreme pain. Fear increases tension; tension intensifies pain, and pain produces additional anxiety that leads to fear and further tension. You can break this cycle through knowledge and relaxation techniques, which reduces the perception of and feelings of pain.

You can’t or shouldn’t hold your baby skin-to-skin right after birth. MYTH!

All hospitals in Kosovo should allow mothers to hold their baby skin-to-skin right after birth, unless there is a complication with the baby and/or mother. The benefits of holding your baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth are tremendous. It makes it easier for baby to latch on and latch on well; it lets baby maintain body temperature better even than in an incubator; it helps baby maintain normal heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure; it gives baby good (higher) blood sugar levels; baby is happier and less likely to cry; baby is more likely to breastfeed exclusively and breastfeed longer; baby can better tell mother when it is ready to feed; and, baby is less likely to develop allergies because he gets the same bacteria from you. See how here.

Breastfeeding makes your boobs droopy and smaller. MYTH!

It's pregnancy, rather than breastfeeding, that may cause your breasts to change in size and shape after having a baby. The best thing to prevent drooping is to use a well-fitted bra during and after pregnancy.

You have to stop breastfeeding if you get pregnant. MYTH!

There is no medical reason to stop breastfeeding when you are pregnant. The exception is high-risk pregnancies since breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which can cause contractions, but you would also have been told to not have sex and be on bed-rest. Many women continue to breastfeed the older child during pregnancy and after birth. Your nipples may be more sensitive and your milk supply might drop due to hormonal changes.

You should wash your nipples before breastfeeding. MYTH!

Breastmilk has natural anti-bacterial properties so is very unlike formula feeding where you have to sterilize everything. There is no need to clean your nipples before feeding as this can wash away protective oils.

Many women do not produce enough milk. MYTH!

The vast majority produce more than enough milk. Often when babies are not gaining enough weight it is because of a poor latch that the baby does not get the milk that the mother has.

There is no (not enough) milk during the first few days after birth. MYTH!

It might seem like that but baby only needs a small amount because the milk in those first days, called colostrum, is especially healthy and important. But the baby must be latched on well to get the colostrum and if not he will feed for hours and still be hungry.

There is no way to know how much breastmilk the baby is getting. MYTH!

There are very clear ways to know if the baby is getting enough: 1) Baby is drinking at the breast using the “open mouth wide—pause—close mouth” type of suck. 2) Diaper output. 3) Baby seems relaxed and satisfied after a feed. 4) Baby regains birth weight within two weeks.

If the baby is off the breast for a few days (weeks), the mother should not restart breastfeeding because the milk sours. MYTH!

The milk is as good as it ever was.

It is easier to bottle feed than to breastfeed. MYTH!

With bottle-feeding there is the cost of buying bottles and formula, hassle of cleaning and sterilizing and time to warm the milk. However, Breastfeeding can be made difficult if you don’t get the help you need to get started properly. But even if breastfeeding is more difficult at first, it usually becomes easier later.

A breastfeeding baby needs extra water in hot weather. MYTH!

Breastmilk contains all the hydration a baby needs.

If mother is sick she should stop breastfeeding. MYTH!

With very, very few exceptions, the mother’s continuing to breastfeed will actually protect the baby. By the time the mother has symptoms she has already given the baby the infection. The baby's best protection against getting the infection is for the mother to continue breastfeeding. If the baby does get sick, he will be less sick if the mother continues breastfeeding.

All women instantly bond with their baby. MYTH!

While many women do experience the wonderful rush of love and happiness after giving birth and feel an instant connection with their baby, some women take more time to adjust to being a mother and to form a deep bond with their baby. Practicing skin-to-skin is a great way of helping create that bond.

Breastfeeding comes naturally for all women. MYTH!

It might be the most natural thing in the world, but breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily come naturally for all women. Many have difficulties in the beginning, mostly with getting a good latch (and thus avoiding nipple pain or damage) and have concerns about baby getting enough milk.

Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression (PPD) are the same. MYTH!

They are very different. The Baby Blues are very common with about 80% of all new mothers experiencing emotional ups and downs. The Blues usually last for 2-3 weeks after birth and go away on their own. However, PPD, which affects about 15% of new mothers, can occur anytime within the first year of birth and will not go away on their own without treatment. PPD should be taken seriously; you can learn more about it here.

Being a mother means you have to love everything about it. MYTH!

It’s OK not to love sleepless nights, poopy diapers, and the crying and screaming of your little ‘angel’. That doesn’t mean you don’t love your child or being a mother, it just means you a normal! So be kind to you, because there is no doubt about it, raising a child is hard work!

All mothers are anxious, sleep-deprived, emotional and overwhelmed. MYTH!

Yes, motherhood can often involve all of these things, especially in the early months, however it is not normal to feel this way most of the time. If you feel like this more often than not, you could have postpartum depression.

You and baby should not go out for the first six weeks after birth. MYTH!

While this is not necessarily true, there is some basis in fact. You and especially your baby are more vulnerable to infections and bacteria immediately after birth. Your baby has an immature immune system, especially if you are not breastfeeding. So while it is a good idea for you and baby to get out and have fresh air, make sure you take precautions like staying away from crowds and sick people, and make sure people wash their hands with soap before touching your baby (and wash your own hands after you return home). In Kosovo, women also believe they cannot leave their baby alone, even for a minute, for the first 40 days of life. This is not always practical, so just put baby in a safe position (like in her crib) if you need to step away from her for a few minutes.

The safest place for my baby to sleep is in my bed. MYTH!

The safest place for baby to sleep is on his back, alone in a crib, in your room. This greatly reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). About half of all SIDS deaths happen when a baby shares a bed, sofa or sofa chair with another person. So if you are bed-sharing with baby, make sure you do it safely; we give you some guidelines here.  

Cover baby’s face to keep away evil spirits. MYTH!

This might be a tightly held belief by some family members, but it is not true. Nor is it true that your baby will grow up to be vain if you don’t cover baby’s face when he sleeps. You should not place anything over baby’s face, especially when he is sleeping, as this increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Baby boys make you fat after birth. MYTH!

The sex of your child doesn’t influence your weight after birth. The things that will are the amount and type of food you eat, whether you exercise, and if you breastfeed. Most first-time mothers take 6-12 months to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight.

You will spoil your baby by always picking her up when she cries. MYTH!

This is simply not true; you cannot spoil a child in the early months. Studies have found that babies who were held and carried often cried much less. They also end up being much more independent toddlers, according to research by Johns Hopkins University, one of the world’s leading public health institutions.

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