Bustin’ Some Myths

The Pregnancy Podcast: Episode 76 – Common Pregnancy, Birth & Breastfeeding Myths

Why this podcast?
As this is the third time I have featured an episode from The Pregnancy Podcast I think it is pretty obvious that I am a huge fan.


Evidence-based information on pretty much any pregnancy or birth related topic you can think of given in an entertaining, structured and easy to follow way. Oh, and all of this in episodes of thirty minutes or less.

What’s not to love?

One of my first posts, Get me an epidural!!!!!! Or………. not??? lays out all the ins and outs of this podcast in a lot of detail (I mean A LOT of detail) so if you would like to swat up on The Pregnancy Podcast that would be a good post to check out.

How does it look?
The Pregnancy Podcast comes in three different styles of episode:
1. 40 weeks
2. Q&A and
3. The Pregnancy Podcast

– 40 weeks gives you the low down on what is happening with you and your baby with a tip for your partner thrown in too. Each episode is only five minutes.

– Q&A tackles specific questions from listeners.
Vanessa has explored areas such as retained placenta, perineal massage, ultrasound accuracy, Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, home dopplers and anterior placenta.
Most Q&A episodes are ten minutes or less.

– The Pregnancy Podcast covers a ton of pregnancy and birth related themes in episodes of thirty minutes or less.
Episodes have covered breech babies, circumcision, birth plans, vaginal exams, vaccines, communicating with your care provider, natural birth, C-section, the three trimesters, Group B Strep, birth centres and prenatal yoga.

Why this episode?
Vanessa’s description of this episode on pregnancy and birth myths really says it all –

“Many of these false beliefs are perpetuated by movies and television, repeated by news outlets and on social media, and passed on through friends and family. Eventually these untruths come to be assumptions that can mislead expecting moms”

It is so easy to see something on television and then have it float around in the back of your head until it has become a truth.
A reality.
Your reality.

Maybe you grew up with your mum or grandmother telling you that if a pregnant woman has bad heartburn this means her baby has a lot of hair. This, Vanessa points out, is ‘not a thing’.
There are so many examples of myths that have become, if not fact, then at least something we repeat without question, that an episode like this is great.
Not simply to put some of the more common and harmful untruths to rest but to ensure that we question and keep an open mind in all aspects of our birth journey.

The episode
The last thing that I want to do and, I’m sure, the last thing you want to read, is a transcript of this fun and informative episode. What I do want to do is to give you a taster of a few of the fifteen myths that Vanessa debunks and then point you in the direction of the episode itself so that you can listen to Vanessa bustin’ these myths and others in a lot more detail.

Myth #1 – All pregnant women will get morning sickness
Nope! However, around 60% to 80% will.
Oh, and if you do get it you might experience nausea morning, noon or night or just plain all day long.
I didn’t say it was all good news.

Myth #2 – Natural birth is for hippies
Women opt for undisturbed birth or unmedicated birth for all kinds of reasons.
The interplay of hormones between you and your baby that takes place from the beginning of labour, through to birth and beyond is both amazing and essential for a smooth birth.
Episode 40 explores how birth can look when this symphony is not interfered with.

Myth #3 – Breastfeeding makes your boobs sag
Your breasts are likely to change during pregnancy and after birth but sagging is not caused by breastfeeding. Ageing, weight gain and not exercising regularly are a few things that can cause sagging.
Vanessa even puts a link in the shownotes to a study on breastfeeding and breast aesthetics which shows that breastfeeding does not have a negative effect on aesthetics.

Myth #4 – Eating for two
Actually, it’s more like eating for 1.2.
You only need to increase your food intake by about 300 calories per day.
Oh, and that doesn’t mean 300 calories of chocolate either.
As far as possible, steer clear of too many processed foods and go for wholefoods instead.

Myth #5 – After your due date = late
Less than 5% of babies are born on their due date.
Your baby’s due date is calculated assuming that you ovulated on day fourteen of your cycle.
Not everyone does.
ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists) consider a full term baby to be anywhere between 39 weeks and 40 weeks 6 days.
Interestingly, your baby is not considered post-term until after 42 weeks.

The due date is not an exact science and is really more of a guess date.
This is especially important to keep in mind if you are considering an induction.
It is so hard to say if your baby is really fully developed and Vanessa gives you a few questions that you can ask your care provider if the subject of induction comes up.
There is also a full episode on induction here.

Myth #6 – If you breastfeed and drink alcohol you have to pump & dump
Alcohol in your breastmilk follows your blood alcohol level.
Time, rather than pumping, will remove the alcohol from your milk.
This article on Kellymom has some really useful information on alcohol and breastmilk.

Myth #7 – Breech babies cannot be born vaginally
A breech position is not ideal but a vaginal birth is absolutely possible.
The catch is that because so many breech births are C-sections it may be hard to find a care provider with the skills to attend a breech birth.
If you are interested in learning more about what you can do if your baby is breech you can find a great article on Dr. Stu’s site here.

Myth #8 – Lotions prevent stretch marks
Again, nope, sorry.
Whether or not you will get stretch marks is purely down to genetics so if your mum got them, you probably will too.
About 90% of women will get some kind of stretch marks during pregnancy.
Stretch marks don’t just appear on your stomach either.
You can get them on your breasts, thighs or your bum.
Vanessa has a few tips on keeping your skin healthy which may help and using lotion could help with itching.
Any stretch marks will fade with time though and are really not something to get stressed out about.

To wrap up
Myths, old wives tales and folklore can all be a fun part of pregnancy but they can also be really damaging if they become such a part of our world that we forget that they are, in fact, myths.
I chose to feature this episode not only because it puts a lot of common myths to rest but because it reminds us that just because a lot of people say or believe something, doesn’t make it true.

Keeping an open mind, doing your own research and trusting your own instincts is huge during pregnancy and in preparing for your birth.
More than that, it prepares you for being a parent and having the confidence to raise your child in the way that is right for you.

I would love to hear from you about myths or old wives tales that you came across during your pregnancy.
Who shared these with you?
How did they influence you?
Please leave a comment below!

Other episodes on this topic
The Checkup Podcast: Pregnancy Myths

The Baby in Bloom Podcast: Facts and Myths about Nutrition in Pregnancy

Dr Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy Podcast: Pregnancy Taboos


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By emilywills

Emily Wills is a doula based in Stockholm. She believes that birth can be a beautiful and empowering experience and started this blog as a way of sharing some really great podcasts. She is also a mother of three and an enthusiastic runner.

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