10 Pregnancy Diet Myths and Facts: Expectations Vs Reality

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Pregnancy can be overwhelming due to the rapid changes and demands. While diet is important in maintaining the health of the mother and the baby, many a times, others confuse you with pregnancy myths and misconceptions on the diet dos and don’ts. Here we bring you pregnancy facts, backed by scientific evidence to help you make informed choices.

Myth 1 – Fruits like papaya, pineapple and mango cause miscarriage 

A very common and misunderstood pregnancy fact is that raw papaya and pineapple should not be eaten during those 9 months. We reveal the truth! These fruits have enzymes that could possibly trigger uterine contractions. Mango is high in Vitamin A, an overdose of which can potentially be harmful for you and your baby. While it’s safe to consume these fruits occasionally in small amounts avoid going overboard. 

Myth 2 – Drinking too much water leads to an increase in amniotic fluid

Drinking at least 3 litres of water a day is essential to accommodate the growing blood volume, maintaining a healthy blood pressure and easing constipation symptoms. It also supports good milk supply during lactation later on. 

Myth 3 – Consuming tea or coffee is harmful

Another very common pregnancy myths is around caffeine consumption. Again, moderation is the key word here. Caffeine is a known diuretic, which means that you will lose water from your body faster. Limit caffeine intake such as tea, coffee and chocolates.

Flying during last trimester of pregnancy will not cause a miscarriage. The concern is around the fact that if the expecting mother goes into labour while on the flight, it can be concerning. Take regular walks in the aisles and keep yourself well hydrated.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, UK

Myth 4 – You must eat for two while pregnant

While your caloric needs increase in pregnancy, it’s important to concentrate on the quality of food eaten and not on quantity. During the first trimester, an increase in calories is not needed. Eating for two is a very common myth in the list of pregnancy myths. There is an increase of about 350 calories per day during the second and third trimesters, but still there is absolutely no need to eat double the quantity of food.

Myth 5 – Consumption of saffron makes the baby fair

A very common pregnancy myths in India but the truth is that the baby’s complexion depends on the parents’ genes and it can only be inherited and not determined by consumption of certain foods.

Myth 6 – Do not eat fish when pregnant

Some fish that are high in mercury and could possibly harm the development of the growing foetus. However, fish is a good source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids. You can eat fatty fish like Salmon, Rohu, Catla and Catfish (Magur) in moderate quantities for eg: once or twice a week to get the benefits minus the mercury.

Myth 7 – Citrus or sour foods will make you catch a cold

Citrus fruits are an excellent source of Vitamin C that helps in boosting immunity and fighting off cold. Similarly curd is a good source of probiotics – good for gut health and digestion. So don’t shy from these beneficial foods. And don’t fall for another of the pregnancy myths.

Myth 8 – An occasional sip of alcohol is fine

Avoiding alcohol is best. While there is no recommended quantity considered safe, alcohol consumption is linked to a higher risk of birth defects in babies. 

Myth 9 – Avoid Peanuts when pregnant

It was believed to reduce the risk of asthma in the newborn, avoid peanuts. There is however, no scientific evidence to back this. Peanuts are a great source of protein and so eat them without worrying. In fact, they might be beneficial in reducing nut allergies in the baby.

Myth 10 – Avoid Soya products

Soya contains phytoestrogens, a product that hinders endocrine function and can cause infertility in men and women. While it’s true that people with thyroid malfunctions should avoid soya and soya products, others can consume moderate amounts of soya, especially because it is a good source of vegetarian protein.

Few more nutrition tips, that bust the pregnancy myths, for a would-be mother :

  • Do not eat foods that are not well cooked, especially eggs and meat products. 
  • Do not overdo your multivitamin supplements too – it’s best to consult your gynaecologist on this.
  • Have small frequent meals to keep indigestion and bloating at bay. Have a variety of food in your meals.

On a happy, closing note, it is interesting to note that a mother who eats nutritionally well during her pregnancy is more likely to have a child who fusses less over food and tends to eat all foods.