The moment I found out I was pregnant, I dove down the research rabbit hole. I had this deep desire to know absolutely everything about pregnancy, but I quickly learned that knowledge isn't always power — it's can be kind of scary. The more I learned, the more obsessed I became in certain areas. And soon, I was refusing to drink coffee for fear my baby was going to grow seven heads. Although it's good to be informed, there are so many myths about pregnancy that need to end now so other women don't have to suffer un-caffeinated like I did.
In general, everybody gets the gist of pregnancy. (I mean, it's not a hard concept to understand.) But many women have heard some story, advice, or opinion, not founded in fact, that they believed to be true. Whether it came from your friend who was pregnant, your grandmother, or the woman in line next to you at Starbucks staring you down as you order a latte, it happens. All women hear myths about pregnancy and all they do is freak you out, make you think something's wrong, or give you false security. Every pregnancy is different, sure, but these 15 myths about impending motherhood need to end now.
Myth #1: You Will Be Glowing Like Gisele
Did anyone else think they would just look like an angel during pregnancy? No? Just me? Look, the pregnancy glow is an actual thing that can happen (emphasis on the word "can"), but it doesn't always make you look like a supermodel. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), the pregnancy glow is caused by hormones producing more oil in your face, but this can also trigger acne and make your skin way too oily. In fact, the APA noted you can consider yourself "blessed" if you experience a glow at all, but you have to watch out for too much oil. Basically? Not everyone looks like Gisele when pregnant. Don't expect a radiating glow that makes everyone weak in the knees, OK? Maybe stock up on some face wash.
Myth #2: You Will Hate Every Moment Of It
Not necessarily true. Pregnancy gets a bad rap these days, but it doesn't mean it will be that way for everyone. Some people love being pregnant, but it all depends on your type of pregnancy, your personality, and your surroundings and emotions. It's easy to get carried away and feel like you're going to be made fun of if you love it, but honestly, many people do. Own it.
Myth #3: Morning Sickness Is Just Morning Sickness
Morning sickness sounds pretty terrible on its own, but if you blindly thought, "Hey, at least I'll be good by noon," I just want to give you a hug. According to the APA, research shows that morning sickness actually occurs more often throughout the day, not just during your morning. And all of those claims that it will end after 13 weeks may not be true for you either. The APA noted that it can start earlier and later for some women that textbooks may suggest. Basically, it's every woman for herself with this nonsense.
Myth #4: Sex Will Be The Last Thing On Your Mind
Everyone loves to joke that the last time parents had sex was when they conceived, but that couldn't be further from the truth for some women. Today's Parent noted that not only does increased blood flow to your genitals make everything more sensitive, but the hormones could actually increase your libido and make you want sex more than ever before. Sure, nausea and breast tenderness may get in the way, but the truth is that sex isn't completely unwanted by many pregnant women.
Myth #5: You Can't Have Any Coffee Or Soda
Don't let the haters stop you from doing your thing — or drinking your coffee. Chugging a pot isn't wise, but the American Pregnancy Association noted that 150 to 300 mg of caffeine per day is safe.
Myth #6: You Will Send Your Partner Out At 3 A.M. For Pickles & Anchovies
Every woman's cravings are different, but the sitcom-style of pregnant women isn't always accurate. Pickles, anchovies, and pizza are often used as examples of crazy pregnancy cravings, but Psychology Today noted that salty snacks, like pickles, are actually less common cravings than sweet foods like fruit or ice cream.
Myth #7: You Can't Work Out
Whether you've heard that working out can cause a miscarriage or that you have to keep your heart rate at a certain level, someone has most likely told you to lay off the exercise while you're pregnant. Obviously, it's always best to talk to your doctor, but according to Parents, there is no evidence linking exercise to miscarriage. In general, you can workout just like you did before, but expect to be more tired.
Myth #8: You Will Feel An Instant Bond & Connection To Your Baby
I definitely felt like something was wrong with me when I was pregnant. I would hear from friends or family members or pregnant strangers about how connected they were to their baby while pregnant, how they loved their baby the moment the pregnancy test turned pink, and how they sobbed when they saw that flickering black and white jelly bean. In reality, that's not always the case. In an interview with Parents, Kristen Bell shared that she didn't feel connected to her child until after she was born and you know what? That's totally normal. You are not a bad mom for feeling like you're just growing a sweet little thing inside of you. It's normal to be excited to meet your baby, but to not really know who they are yet. And it is totally normal to be thrilled, but not feel like you are already connected to the baby inside of you. All of it is normal.
Myth #9: You Can Prevent Stretch Marks
Nobody wants to hear this, but according to Parents, stretch marks are pretty much hereditary. All of the lotions and creams advertised to keep your skin from having stretch marks don't really work, as the stretching happens in layers under your skin.
Myth #10: You Have To Severely Limit Your Diet
No fish, no deli meat, no red meat, no sugar, no cheese, no eggs — someone has probably given you a list of foods to avoid while you're pregnant. Parents noted that there are some things to consider, like making sure your eggs are cooked thoroughly and to limit your fish intake, but you don't have to completely overhaul your diet. Just make sure to use moderation across the board and listen to your doctor about certain cooking procedures, like heating up deli meat.
Myth #11: You Have To Play Classical Music To Your Belly So Your Baby Grows Up Smart
And go to all the prenatal classes, read nothing but classic literature to your bump, and make sure you're doing as much yoga as possible. Look, those are all fine things to do and Parents noted that research has shown that playing Mozart to your bump could increase baby's IQ, but nothing is absolutely for sure. If you hate classical music or Jane Austen (be still, my heart), then it's OK to choose The Beatles and Harry Potter for your bump bonding time.
Myth #12: You Can't Color Your Hair Or Get Your Nails Done
Hate your roots? Get your hair done. The APA noted that while there are chemicals in the dyes used to color hair, they are not very toxic and are totally safe to use while pregnant. In fact, you don't have to skip many pampering sessions. What to Expect also noted that manicures and pedicures are safe while pregnant, too. Just make sure you're in a well-ventilated salon so the fumes don't make you feel sick.
Myth #13: You're Eating For Two
You definitely have to keep your weight up, but you don't have to eat another person's calorie intake for the day. What to Expect noted that you should be eating an additional 300 to 350 calories per day when you hit the second trimester and about 500 extra calories per day in the third trimester.
Myth #14 If You Don't Feel Pregnant, Something Is Wrong
You hear all about the symptoms of pregnancy, but you don't seem to be having any of them. No nausea, no backaches, no tender breasts — just a positive pregnancy test. While it may be a little alarming for all of your symptoms to suddenly go away (or never appear), it doesn't always mean something is wrong. According to Today's Parent, every pregnancy is different, and the way your body reacts and develops to pregnancy may be different than somebody else's body. Don't worry too much.
Myth #15: You Have To Enjoy Every Moment Of It
No, you don't. Pregnancy is thrilling, sure. It's a life-changing event and it may be everything you ever wanted, but sometimes it just seriously sucks. Forcing yourself to enjoy every minute of it will only make you feel guilty and frustrated. Enjoy the fun moments, let the bad ones pass, and remember that it was all worth it.