Fact: The level of pain experienced during labor and delivery varies from woman to woman. While some women may experience intense pain, others may have a more manageable or even pain-free experience. Additionally, pain relief options are available that can help reduce discomfort during labor.
Fact: The due date provided by healthcare professionals is an estimation based on the woman’s last menstrual period and the length of her menstrual cycle. However, only about 5% of births occur on the exact due date. Labor can start 2 weeks before or after the estimated due date and still be considered normal and healthy.
Fact: While a previous C-section does slightly increase the chances of having a C-section in subsequent pregnancies, many women who had a Cesarean delivery can have a vaginal birth in the future. This possibility is determined on a case-by-case basis, and factors such as the reason for the previous C-section and the woman’s overall health will be considered.
Fact: While larger babies can present some challenges during labor and delivery, the size of the baby alone does not determine the difficulty. Factors such as the woman’s pelvic structure, the position of the baby, and the progress of labor play a significant role in determining the ease or complexity of the delivery process.
Fact: Regular and moderate exercise during pregnancy is generally encouraged, as it can help maintain overall fitness, reduce discomfort, and prepare the body for childbirth. Unless advised otherwise by a healthcare professional due to specific health issues, most pregnant women can safely participate in activities like walking, swimming, yoga, or low-impact aerobics.
There’s also a common belief that women pregnant with boys carry low bellies while those with girls carry high.
Fact: This has hardly proven to be true but that doesn’t stop many from believing.
Facts: Fetal Heart Rate does not determine the Sex of the Baby
One common myth is that the fetal heart rate can predict the sex of the baby. According to this myth, a higher heart rate suggests a female fetus, while a lower heart rate suggests a male fetus. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. The fetal heart rate can vary greatly throughout pregnancy for each baby. It is often believed that a higher heart rate indicates a girl, while a lower heart rate indicates a boy. However, research has shown that there is no correlation between fetal heart rate and the sex of the fetus. The heart rate can vary throughout pregnancy and is influenced by factors such as fetal activity, maternal activity, and gestational age, but it has no connection to the baby’s gender.
Fact: While there may be some correlation between heart rate and activity, it is not a direct relationship. The fetal heart rate can change for various reasons, including the baby’s movements, the mother’s activity level, or even the position of the baby. Therefore, it is not accurate to assume that a faster heart rate always indicates a more active fetus.
Fact: It is commonly believed that any deviation from the average heart rate range suggests a health problem in the baby. However, while a consistently abnormal heart rate may be a cause for further investigation, occasional variations in heart rate are quite normal. Fetal heart rates can fluctuate due to factors like fetal movement, maternal activity, or changes in maternal blood pressure. It’s important for healthcare professionals to assess the overall well-being of the fetus through additional tests and evaluations rather than relying solely on the heart rate.
Fact: Some myths suggest that the father’s heart rate could influence the sex of the fetus. This is entirely untrue. The sex of the baby is determined by the father’s sperm, which carries either an X chromosome (for a girl) or a Y chromosome (for a boy). The mother’s genetic contribution will determine the sex of the baby, not the father’s heart rate or any other factor related to the father.
It is important to remember that medical professionals and scientific research should be relied upon for accurate information regarding fetal development and the baby’s health. Consulting with healthcare providers will help debunk any myths and provide accurate guidance throughout pregnancy.
Fact: While the rupture of the amniotic sac, commonly referred to as the water breaking, can be an indication that labor is starting, it does not always occur first. Contractions are often the initial sign of labor, and in some cases, the water may not break until the later stages of labor or even be broken by a healthcare provider during delivery.
Many people swear that scratching an itch, especially when you have a food craving, will leave a mark on the baby’s skin resulting in an ugly birthmark. Some even say that this birthmark may resemble whatever the mother was craving at the time.
Fact: Scratching an itch on the mother’s body does not correlate with birthmarks at all.
The exact cause of birthmarks is not fully understood, but there are several theories. Some birthmarks, such as port wine stains, are caused by abnormalities in the development of blood vessels. These marks are usually present at birth and are caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels in a particular area of the skin.
Genetic factors may also play a role in the development of birthmarks. Some birthmarks are known to run in families, suggesting a genetic component. Additionally, certain medical conditions and syndromes are associated with specific types of birthmarks.
It is important to note that most birthmarks are harmless and do not require treatment.
Fact: People should avoid using castor oil to try to induce labor, as there is no scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness for this purpose
Fact: Some studies have shown that thyme tea can indeed induce labor near the due date but the response is sporadic and unpredictable and there is no consensus on how much tea is enough. It also may clash with other medicines administered by your delivery team leading to hyperstimulation of the womb and distress to the baby. As such, please refrain from its use.
Dr. Christopher Fletcher (MBBS, DM OBGYN @ UWI, FACOG)
Consultant in Obstetrician and Gynaecologist