Pregnancy myths debunked

Here’s my advice on how seriously you should or shouldn’t be taking certain advice.

You can tell the sex of your baby by the shape of your bump and the way you’re carrying it. If your bump is high up and pointing forward it is going to be a boy. If you are carrying your baby to the front and lower down you’re expecting a girl.
The shape of the bump is related to your body shape and muscle tone and not the sex of the baby inside the womb. You’ll find that people are keen to talk to you about your pregnancy and join in the excitement. Speculating on whether you’re carrying a boy or a girl is a way of getting involved.

If your best friend twists your wedding ring around your finger three times you’re more likely to conceive.
No stretch of the imagination can see this myth grounded in fact.

If you have bad morning sickness you are expecting a girl.
There is no evidence to support this myth. Morning sickness is caused by low blood sugar. It is not affected by the sex of the baby.

Ginger biscuits can help morning sickness.
You may find this helpful. Some research in the 1980s found that 75 percent of pregnant women who took the equivalent of a teaspoon of fresh ginger when they had morning sickness found it helpful. Try it and see.

Raspberry leaf tea makes labour easier.
Not proven
My first reaction is that nothing makes labour easier but the anecdotal evidence for raspberry leaf tea suggests that there may be something in this myth. Advocates of raspberry leaf tea claim that drinking raspberry leaf increases the muscle tone of the uterus making for more effective contractions during labour.

You can plan the sex of your baby by timing conception with the size of the moon. When the moon is waxing and growing you will have a boy and when the moon is waning and shrinking you will conceive a girl.
The idea of the moon hundreds of thousands of miles away making a difference to the sex of your baby is definitely an idea from another planet.

Tie your wedding ring to a piece of string, lie down and hold it above your belly button. Depending which way it spins you will be able to tell the sex of your baby: a left spin for boys and right for girls.
The lie down may do you good but I don’t think you will be any nearer knowing the sex of your baby.

Don’t look at monkeys when you are pregnant or your baby will be born looking like one of our primate cousins.
This is obviously ludicrous. The likelihood of you seeing a monkey during your pregnancy is pretty slim but if you do, don’t worry: it won’t do you or your baby any harm.

If you sit on a bed and cut something with scissors or something sharp your baby will be deformed.
Myths can be fun but those which seek to apportion blame for any abnormality in your baby are very unhelpful.

You are more likely to have a boy if you have sex only once during your fertile period and a girl if you have sex more often.
This is based on the fact that female sperm live longer and swim slower than male sperm. If you have sex a few days before you ovulate the longer living and slower female sperm will be waiting for the egg. If you have sex just before ovulation the faster pushier male sperm will win the race. Whatever you do remember that really there is a 50:50 chance of having either a boy or a girl. Focusing on having a healthy baby is more important than its gender.

If you crave sweet foods during pregnancy you are going to have a girl but if you crave savoury snacks you will have a boy.
Cravings are thought to be the body’s response to deficiency in certain minerals and trace elements. Indulge them where reasonable but keep away from the ones that are obviously harmful such as coal.

Don’t bathe or shower for a month after birth as it upsets the body’s internal balance.
I hope this myth doesn’t find favour as I would feel very sorry for any woman that was not able to enjoy a relaxing bath after labour or during the first few weeks at home with a small baby.

Twins miss a generation.
There’s no evidence to support this popular myth. It is true that twins run in generations but not that they skip a generation. If you are a non-identical twin you do have an increased chance of having twins yourself, around a 1 in 15/20 risk. If you are an identical twin your chances are the same as the rest of the general population. If your mother is a non-identical twin your chance of having twins may be increased but not if it is your father as twinning is carried down the maternal line. This also means that if your husband is a twin it doesn’t affect your chances of having twins.