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True or False?
Is it dangerous to have hot baths while pregnant, and can orange juice cause jaundice in your baby? Deciphering fact from fiction can be confusing for new moms. Luckily, midwife Louette Maccallum is on hand to answer and explain some of the FAQ’s and myths around pregnancy.
To eat or not to eat? That is the question. Whether tis nobler to have the sushi or a well-cooked chunk of hake…
Sushi: Raw wild fish may contain parasitic worms. If the fish has been frozen for at least 4 days, it is considered safe to eat. Salmon is high in omega-3-fatty acids, which has many benefits to the pregnant woman and her unborn baby. Know your supplier and perhaps lean more toward cooked fish instead, to be safe. Always avoid Mackerel, shark and swordfish because they contain high levels of mercury.
Soft Cheese: Soft cheeses may be made from raw or unpasteurized milk which can carry disease causing organisms such as Listeria Monocytigenes. They are also less acidic than conventional hard cheeses, and moister, which could encourage the growth of harmful bacteria. Listeria is relatively rare, but may cause a miscarriage, stillbirth and complications in the newborn.
Can oranges and orange juice give my baby jaundice?
No! There are some cultures that believe this to be true, but jaundice is a physiological condition related to the newborn having an immature liver.
Will drinking coffee and alcohol harm your unborn baby?
Coffee: Coffees, teas and many beverages contain caffeine, which does not offer your baby any form of nutrition. Caffeine is also diuretic, which means it causes your body to dispel water – a process which may flush out important nutrients from your body, which are essential to the development of the foetus. Caffeine also affects your sleep, increases levels of anxiety and reduces your body’s ability to absorb necessary iron. The conclusion? Coffee is not ideal during pregnancy, but if you can’t do without your fix doctors agree that if you limit your intake to only one cup a day you should be fine.
Alcohol: No amount of alcohol is considered safe in pregnancy. It may have mild effects on your baby’s development or behavioural patterns, or it may have severe effects, depending on your consumption. Better left alone.
Is it best to give in to cravings for pickles and other strange things?
Pregnancy brings with it an amazing array of feelings, emotions, symptoms and some very strange cravings that will have your partner running wild through the streets at night in search of rare and wonderful foodstuffs. Craving sweets, chocolates and ice cream is common, because these foods produce Serotonin, a feel good hormone. They are more a comfort food than a real, honest craving.
Some cravings can be dangerous, such as eating soil or slate, and these are usually a sign of a severe deficiency. It may be wise to check with your caregiver first before digging up the driveway, or chipping away the stone walls.
Is it safe to have sex in pregnancy?
There is no danger to the baby when you have intercourse; your baby is in a very safe haven. However some pre-existing conditions such as Placenta Praevia may cause severe bleeding during intercourse, which will compromise the foetus. Your Obstetrician will advise you if at all concerned.
I enjoy taking hot baths. Is it safe during pregnancy?
A very hot bath can raise your core temperature to anything above 39-40 Degrees, and this can pose problems to the unborn child. Regular hot baths can also lead to varicose veins and can make you dizzy, so it is advisable to have a warm bath rather than a steaming hot one.
Is it dangerous for me to hang up washing or stretch my hands above my head?
Some cultures believe that doing this will cause the umbilical cord to be wrapped around the baby’s neck. In Bolivia, they believe that this will occur if you knit whilst pregnant. Basically, this is a great excuse to have others hang the washing and do all the knitting!
How you carry will determine the gender of your baby.
Every woman carries differently, and second and third pregnancies can also vary as they often are accompanied with more weight gain, and bigger tummies due to softer stretched muscle. Just as acne or nausea have no correlation to the gender of your baby, and heartburn does not mean a baby with loads of hair, this is a myth.
If for any reason you are unsure of what to do or what not to do, check with a professional consultant. And remember to enjoy you pregnancy, have fun and eat and do everything in moderation!