Pregnancy Myths Part 1
Reviewed by Shawn A. Tassone, M.D.
There are numerous myths surrounding pregnancy. Here are some of the most popular and most common pregnancy myths around.
Myth 1: A woman can’t get pregnant if penetration only happens for a few seconds.
Anytime you have intercourse there is a potential risk of pregnancy. Of course, there’s a greater chance of getting pregnant if penetration is occurring at the same time as ejaculation, however there is still a risk of pregnancy even prior to ejaculation and you should always be concerned with transmission of STD’s.
Myth 2: Once sperm comes into contact with air or oxygen, it dies.
Actually sperm can live for approximately 3-5 days. The only time sperm dies is when it is completely dry. But if the sperm is left in a moist and warm environment, such as the cervix of a woman, then it is fully capable of staying alive and eventually making its way to an egg for fertilization.
Myth 3: A woman can not get pregnant from pre-ejaculation.
Although pre-ejaculation isn’t considered actual ejaculation, and it’s only the liquid or fluid that is released before ejaculation, it still contains sperm. And yes, if it comes into contact with the vaginal area, a woman can still get pregnant. This is one of the main reasons why the withdrawal method does not always work.
Myth 4: A woman can not get pregnant if she’s having intercourse in water.
Actually, if a man ejaculates in the vagina while in water, pregnancy can still occur since the water doesn’t actually interfere with the sperm being deposited into the vaginal area.
Myth 5: A woman can get pregnant if ejaculation occurs in water.
This is actually not true. It’s hard to believe that sperm can find its way from the penis, through the water and into the vagina, especially if in a bathtub, pool or hot tub. Chemicals, bubbles and other substances, as well as the temperature of the water make it incredibly hard for sperm to survive more than a couple minutes. Chances are pregnancy won’t occur.
Myth 6: A woman also has to have an orgasm in order to get pregnant.
This is completely false since a woman’s orgasm has zero to do with an egg being ready and available for fertilization.
Myth 7: Pregnancy can not occur when there is no penetration.
Actually, if intercourse is not taking place, but faux sex or dry sex is, there is still a chance of pregnancy occurring if there is skin on skin contact. Anytime a penis comes into contact with the vaginal area, there is a slight risk of conception. Plus, there is also a chance of spreading an STD during dry or faux sex.
Myth 8: Pregnancy can occur from anal sex.
Pregnancy can not actually occur from the act of anal sex, although since the anus opening and the vaginal opening are in such close proximity, there is a chance that pregnancy can occur if the sperm travels from the anus to the vagina, making its way into the vagina and to an egg for fertilization.
Myth 9: Sperm can travel through material such as clothing.
No conclusive studies have been done to either prove or disprove this myth, however, if a piece of clothing or material is completely saturated with sperm and it comes into direct contact with the vagina, there is a slight possibility pregnancy can occur.
Myth 10: You can tell your baby’s gender by the way you are carrying.
There is no way to tell your baby’s gender simply by the way you are carrying. An ultrasound, or sonogram and an amniocentesis are the only definitive ways to determine your baby’s sex. The way the baby is being carried is based on many factors such as their position inside the belly, their gestational age and weight, maternal weight and stature of the mother, as well as whether or not this is the mother’s first or fifth pregnancy.
Myth 11: All women experience morning sickness.
Not true, in fact many women only experience nausea and not vomiting and vice versa. Plus, the term “morning” seems to fool people into thinking that the nausea and vomiting only occurs in the morning hours, when in fact it can and does happen at all hours of the day and night.
Myth 12: Pregnant women should not take baths.
Many people think that if a pregnant mother takes a bath, bacteria will make its way into the vagina and harm the baby. Scientists however, have proven that water does not enter the vagina during a bath. In fact, a bath can benefit the pregnant mother by relaxing her and it is encouraged to relieve stress.
Myth 13: Pregnant women should eat for two.
Actually you have to remember that early in pregnancy, the baby is only the size of a seed so there’s no reason for you as a pregnant mother to consume extra meals. 300 extra calories a day will ensure that you’re giving your baby all of the nutrients it needs, even towards the end of the pregnancy.
Myth 14: Sleeping positions can and will affect the delivery.
It’s already hard enough for most pregnant women to find a comfortable sleeping position. So if you do, sleep that way. Even sleeping on the belly for the first trimester is okay. However, it is recommended that later in the pregnancy you try to sleep with a slight rotation to your left side to relieve pressure on the large veins that return blood to heart.
Myth 15: You can’t get pregnant if you’re breastfeeding.
Most women wish this myth were true, but in fact you can get pregnant if you’re still breastfeeding. More so, your chances of getting pregnant increase once your menstrual cycle returns.
16: Sex induces labor
Sorry, but it doesn’t. Nor will sex cause deformities to your baby. A woman can participate in sexual intercourse up until the day she delivers as long as she is comfortable, healthy and the doctor gives the okay.
Myth 17: Doing headstands can help a woman when getting pregnant.
Sperm traveling through the fallopian tubes and to the egg has nothing to do with gravity or the way a woman is standing, laying, etc. However, some experts believe that if a woman lies down for 20-30 minutes after sex, it can slightly increase the chances of conception.
Myth 18: Computers can be harmful to the baby.
Actually there is no scientific proof that this myth is true. Sitting for hours in front of the computer can cause other problems such as vision changes, but as far as harming the baby, there’s no proof.
Myth 19: Small breasted woman can not breastfeed.
As with other things, when it comes to breastfeeding, size doesn’t matter. As long as the mother has the proper nutrients, liquids, rest and relaxation, there is no reason why she won’t produce enough milk when the time comes.
Myth 20: Mom shouldn’t put her arms above her head because the umbilical cord can wrap around the baby’s neck.
This is a very common myth. But truthfully the mother’s movements don’t affect the umbilical cord at all. The cord is often around the baby’s neck because when a baby is in the proper head down position, it’s the most natural place for the cord to settle.