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7 Common Childbirth Myths

Childbirth myths are rooted in cultures, traditions, superstitions, and general hearsay, and these myths have been passed down through the ages. We will take a look at seven of the more common myths related to pregnancy and childbirth.

  • Published on: 20 Jul 2021
  • 4 min read
7 Common Childbirth Myths

Childbirth myths are rooted in cultures, traditions, superstitions, and general hearsay, and these myths have been passed down through the ages.

However, there are also modern-day myths that tend to unsettle many first-time mothers. Not all myths are false because some truths about pregnancy and childbirth are taken as myths and treated as such.

We will take a look at seven of the more common myths related to pregnancy and childbirth.

Myth: You can exercise during pregnancy. 

active lifestyle during pregnancy

This is true and not a myth. Exercise during pregnancy is good because it keeps you active and excites your blood circulation. However, you may have to tone down on strenuous activities, but it’s healthy to exercise still and remain mobile.

The only time you should avoid exercising is if you are experiencing pregnancy complications and have been advised by your doctor to stay as inactive as possible.

Myth: Babies stop moving just before you go into labor.

This is a myth as babies do not increase or decrease their movement before birth. Their birth position is normally set between week 32 and week 36, so if your baby stops moving as usual and you are close to going into labor, then contact your doctor and go to the hospital immediately.

Myth: Labor can be brought on by drinking castor oil.

castor oil for childbirth

This is true, but it is an old-school remedy to induce labor as the castor oil stimulates the bowels, which stimulates contractions of the uterus. It can be unpleasant as the side effects are nausea and diarrhea.

It isn’t recommended as there are better ways to induce labor, like administering a prostaglandin hormone in gel form or table to ripen the cervix. An oxytocin hormone is administered through an IV to stimulate contractions. The dose begins small and is increased until labor progresses to an acceptable level. So, unless you want a possibly unpleasant experience, it is best to avoid using castor oil to induce labor.

Myth: Good hips or small babies make for an easier birth

This is surprisingly a myth as both mothers and babies are designed to accommodate each other during childbirth. A woman’s pelvis is not one solid bone but is made up of ligaments and a number of bones that move and loosen during the birth process. Your baby’s head is also not a solid skull but made up of parts that only begin fusing after birth. This way, the birth canal can expand and the baby’s head to contract or squeeze through the birth canal.

In rare situations, the baby’s head may be too big to fit through the mother’s internal pelvis, but this condition is screened and diagnosed beforehand. It is not the size of the unborn baby, but the position that a mother takes to give birth will make the childbirth more or less painful or easier, but this can change during the delivery as the baby changes its position.

Myth: Having an epidural increases your chances of a cesarean.

anesthetics

The reasoning behind having an epidural and not being able to go through normal birth is plausible because of the loss of control and sensation (pain). True, there are risks involved with having an epidural, but this doesn’t increase the chance of a C-section.

However, it does increase the chance of assisted birth using vacuum or forceps to pull the baby through the birth canal. It is only in cases where your baby is in an awkward position preventing normal birth that an emergency C-section will be necessary. There are other factors, too, like vital signs (baby’s heart rate) dropping or even exhaustion on the mother’s part that may be brought on by blood loss or just long, exhausting labor.

Myth: A big needle is used for epidurals and spinals and is painful.

The needles used are large compared to standard needles. An epidural needle is about the size of pencil lead and the spinal needle is about the size of a thick strand of hair, but doctors are not heartless monsters. You will be given a local anesthetic in your lower back, which will sting for a few seconds. By the time you receive the epidural, you may only feel slight pressure but no pain at all, so this is a myth by all accounts.

Myth: You won’t necessarily have strange cravings.

pregnancy cravings

We all know that pregnant women get strange cravings, but we don’t know whether all pregnant women get these odd cravings. So, it appears that the myth is true as it speaks to all pregnant women, even if there is only a small percentage of pregnant women who don’t announce or succumb to their cravings.

From a medical perspective, a craving is triggered by hormonal changes that affect taste and smell. Sharp changes in blood sugar levels can lead to cravings for sugary treats. The extent of cravings affects all people differently, but it is especially prominent in pregnant women because of the fast-paced hormonal changes that take place.  The myth is worded correctly and, as a result, is true and not a myth. However, there are really some women who have gone through their full pregnancy without any cravings.

Conclusion

There are many myths that help to create an interesting journey for mothers-to-be, but the best advice is to take note of what people say and clarify the “advice” with your doctor on one of your check-up appointments. You never know when a myth could actually be true or when the truth could be a distorted fact or even a semblance of an urban legend.

One thing is for sure - pregnancy and childbirth are a reality, and it is just the beginning of a wonderful journey into motherhood!


Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt

Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.

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