Whether they want to hear it or not, everyone has plenty of advice for pregnant women. As soon as that bump appears, the floodgates open and everyone puts their two cents' worth in. I’ve certainly dealt with some, um, interesting pregnancy advice over the years.
Nothing bothered me more than being told to eat for two. This was also the most frequent piece of advice I was given. If I had taken this at face value, I would have gained twice the amount of weight during my pregnancy and been incredibly unhealthy. Thanks, but no thanks. I stuck to what my midwife told me about increasing my diet by 100 calories a day during the first trimester, 300 per day during the second trimester and 500 per day during the third trimester.
This one came from my dear grandmother during my first pregnancy. The old belief is that if you raise your hands above your head during your pregnancy, the umbilical cord will become tangled, which can lead to miscarriage. While you should obviously be careful about lifting objects that are too heavy while you’re pregnant, umbilical cord entanglement is caused by fetal movement — not Mama balancing in Tree pose.
Speaking of tree pose, my husband couldn’t get over the fact that I worked out almost my entire pregnancy (up to 32 weeks). I’ve always kept a regular fitness routine and worked hard to drop some weight even before I got pregnant through running and yoga and continued well into my pregnancy. It made me feel amazing and it took a trip to my midwife with my husband for her to explain to him that I wasn’t doing anything wrong and was actually making a really healthy choice.
My poor dad couldn’t have been more confused by his introduction to the term "midwife" at the beginning of my second pregnancy. He didn’t think it was safe to use anyone other than an OB-GYN since that's what he and my mother did — as well as everyone else they knew. I ended up having the most amazing midwife, and I'm still in touch with her now. Sorry, Dad... you were so wrong on this one.
During my first pregnancy, when I was six months pregnant, I visited my husband’s extended family over Fourth of July weekend. It was my first time meeting them and I wasn’t exactly accepted with open arms. Their biggest complaint: the fact that I had dyed my hair red. Having worked in a hair salon, I was very much in aware of when you can get your hair colored during pregnancy (after the first trimester, FYI). When you’re pregnant and not feeling your best, having your hair cut and colored can make you feel magical.
My sister (a mom of three) was notorious for insisting that I Googled everything I had questions about during my pregnancy. The thing is, when you Google a question, you get the most extreme results — a few million of them. I found myself going deeper and deeper into a dark hole of pregnancy discussion forums and closing the computer feeling more frazzled than when I opened it up. Nope, I wasn’t going to do that to myself. I decided early on that texting my midwife with questions was the best option, and it really helped keep me as stress-free as possible.
This was a mother-in-law comment that I heard time and time again when I was pregnant with my first child. She believed all of these old wives tales so intensely that my smile and nod routine got old really quick. It’s easy to get sucked up into this one since we all know that microwaves do indeed produce radiation. While it’s always a good idea to play it safe, standing near a microwave while pregnant will not be a contributing factor to any type of miscarriage, infection or autism in your baby.
Dealing with losing the baby weight after my second pregnancy was something I often openly fretted about to family and friends. Every single person, without fail, would casually say, "it took nine months to put it on, it will take nine for it to come off." It was practically a mantra. This was something I couldn’t believe and was trying to be as realistic with myself as possible. And just as I suspected — it’s taken more than those nine months to come off. Crisis averted with that one.
I heard this from everyone my entire pregnancy, and relaxing couldn’t have been further from what I was capable of doing the entire 40 weeks. You know the feelings: stress, exhaustion, restlessness... and having a to-do list that’s a mile long definitely doesn't help. I wish someone had just told me the truth: "Don’t even bother trying to relax because your mind won’t slow down. Do what you need to do to put yourself at ease." Instead, I would take a deep breath and tell myself that.
This little nugget of advice came from my mom, a mom of four herself. I totally get where she was coming from — I can’t even imagine having four children — but she would always look at me and say, "one and done," after our first baby. My husband and I knew we wanted one more baby to complete our crew, and when the time was right, we did just that. Whether you want one kid of 16, it's nobody else's business.
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