Forming a new human being is the most complicated thing a person can do without really having to think about it. But that doesn’t mean women don’t fret over it. I wanted to deconstruct the most common myths about pregnancy, some of which are propagated in extremely popular and well-regarded pregnancy books. Consider it a "Mother’s Day" present to moms-to-be.
Myth #1: Cocoa butter prevents stretch marks. False. In fact using cocoa butter makes women’s skin more sensitive, and some women have allergic reactions to it. I once treated one woman who came in with bright pink circles on her breasts. She couldn’t figure out why, until the patient copped to using cocoa butter to try to keep her breasts perky.
Myth #2: You can’t fly during your first or last trimester. Nope. False again. You can fly whenever you want. Some airlines won’t let you on the plane in your last trimester, but that has more to do with fears that you’ll go into labor and force the plane to land or spoil the upholstery.
Myth #3: You can’t pet your cat during pregnancy. False. However, you shouldn’t change your cat’s litter box during pregnancy because of the risk of toxoplasmosis from the dookies. And also, because, dammit, you’re growing a human being, and do you have to everything?
Myth #4: You shouldn't eat smoked salmon while pregnant. False. Salmon is good for mothers-to-be; it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids like DHA, which studies show have a variety of benefits for pregnant women and their fetuses, and salmon is a fresh water fish, so the likelihood of mercury poisoning is low.
Myth #5: You can't eat sushi. False. Sushi is permissible except for mackerel, shark, tilefish and swordfish. And don’t eat too much tuna — no more than 12. oz (about two maki, or rolls) per week.
Myth #6: No hot dogs either? False. Hot dogs are also fine to eat, as long as they’re well-cooked.
Myth #7: Pregnant women should keep away from polished furniture. So false. My colleague, Dr. Bohn once treated a woman who was nervous about sitting on her couch, because of the furniture polish fumes. Sheesh.
Myth #8: Dying your hair is harmful for Baby. Wrong again. False.
Myths #9, 10 and 11: You shouldn’t have sex/lift your hands over your head/touch your toes while pregnant: All false (and a little bit weird), unless you have a specific medical condition and your doctor warns you against it.