4 more pregnancy myths we aren’t buying

Advice is one of those gifts that people like to give a lot more often than anyone seems to want to receive it, and having a baby seems to invite it like nothing else. The thing is, though, that with the way our understanding of our bodies changes, there’s a good chance that some of your would-be advisers are working with old information.

Fetal heart rate and baby’s sex

Unlike some of the other superstitions surrounding predictions of babies’ sex, like the shape of your stomach or the position of skin discoloration, predictions of babies’ sex based on the number of beats per minute of their hearts (lower than 140 bpm for a boy, higher for a girl) sounds like it could potentially be based in some kind of scientific reasoning. Don’t let it fool you, though – studies looking into the claim haven’t found a connection between fetal heart rate during pregnancy and a child’s sex.

“Abdominal workouts aren’t safe during pregnancy”

Sit-ups and crunches can get a little less practical once you start to show, and your healthcare provider may recommend that you stop doing them early in the second trimester, but exercising your abdominal muscles isn’t a bad idea in itself, and there are plenty of core-strengthening exercises you can do safely and comfortably during pregnancy. In fact, they could actually be helpful – your body is going to be under a lot of strain during labor, and a little extra muscle definitely won’t hurt.

“You can’t fly when you’re pregnant”

The act of flying itself doesn’t pose any threats to a healthy pregnancy. The concern, and the reason why some airlines limit how late in a pregnancy a woman can fly, is for the possibility of complications or labor happening mid-flight, where medical attention may not be available. It’s important to check in with your healthcare provider before making travel plans, particularly in later in your third trimester, but as a rule, pregnancy shouldn’t be keeping you grounded if you don’t want to be.

Vascular and pigmented birthmarks

While it isn’t totally clear what the root cause of birthmarks is, research says that these abnormal blood vessels and clusters of pigmented cells probably aren’t prompted by mothers’ frustrated desires for strawberries during pregnancy. And while there isn’t a ton of research to back it up, it seems safe to say that they probably don’t predict too much about a baby’s future, either.

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