Prudent or paranoid? The truth about 9 pregnancy myths

Hair color, hot tubs, coffee and sex — they are just a few of the topics that are often debated during pregnancy. As if pregnant women do not have enough to think about, they are frequently faced with a list of “dos” and “don’ts” supplied by well-meaning –— but sometimes misinformed — family, friends and strangers on the street. While some activities in question may be perfectly fine for both mother and baby, others are best limited until after delivery. Here is the bottom line on a handful of the most common pregnancy questions.
You should not exercise while you are pregnant
Check with your physician about specific types of exercises, but most exercises that you were doing prior to your pregnancy can be continued for as long as you are comfortable. Optimally, pregnant women should exercise at least three days a week, but five to six days each week is best. Keep your pulse under 140-beats per minute. As your baby — and your body —grow, your sense of balance will change, so watch out for falls. Always incorporate a warm-up and cool-down, and drink plenty of water during and after your workouts.
You are eating for two, so eat all you want
Pregnant women only need 300 calories above the daily average of 1,800 to 2,300. You can easily add 300 calories with a healthy snack. Your doctor will monitor your weight gain during pregnancy to make sure that you are on track. Eat twice as healthy, not twice as much!
Sex during pregnancy is dangerous for the baby
Sex will not hurt you or your baby if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy. You and your partner may find some positions more comfy than others. Take time to get used to your changing body, and experiment to find out what is most comfortable.
Do not color your hair
It is perfectly fine to dye your hair and get your nails done, assuming the salon you choose is clean and reputable. However, if the fumes are overwhelming when you enter, it is probably not the best place to be — especially since pregnancy can increase your sensitivity to chemical smells. If you are having a manicure or pedicure, it is best to take your own nail tools along to decrease the risk of infection, whether you are pregnant or not.
No more Starbucks
There is no proof that small amounts of caffeine (such as one cup of coffee, tea or soda a day) adversely affect a normal pregnancy, so go ahead and enjoy. If you have a complicated pregnancy, you may need to limit your caffeine intake. Check with your doctor.
Avoid hot tubs and steam rooms
This one is true. Hot tubs, steam rooms and saunas are all off-limits. During pregnancy, your core body temperature should not rise above 102.2. It is fine to relax in a warm bath or shower.
No more sushi
This again is true. Do not eat uncooked fish, meat, or unpasteurized cheese during pregnancy. Even if cooked, shark, swordfish and mackerel should be avoided.
Use (insert magic formula here) to get rid of stretch marks
There are no magic creams to prevent or treat stretch marks.
Save your money and use a moisturizing lotion to keep the stretching skin from itching and becoming irritated.
An epidural will prolong labor
As long as you are making active progress in labor when you receive the anesthesia, an epidural should not slow your labor.
Your physician and the anesthesiologist will discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure.
Remember, your doctor is your best resource for questions and concerns about your pregnancy.
Let your doctor know what is on your mind, and together the two of you can help make your pregnancy as safe and joyful as possible.

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