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From ‘eating for two’ to that pregnancy glow – we debunk eight pregnancy myths

Congratulations! You’re pregnant. And that means you’re about to breeze through the next nine months as a glowing goddess. Or maybe not. Let’s face it – pregnancy is an amazing experience, but it’s often not as exciting or carefree as you might have thought.

We teamed up with the skincare experts at Baby Dove to host a ‘debunking Mummy Myths’ Facebook Live session with a parent panel on the Baby Dove Facebook page –you can catch up on the video if you missed it! Now, let’s get real with eight common pregnancy myths:

Myth #1: You’ll feel more attractive than ever with your pregnancy glow

Thicker hair, glowing skin, bigger boobs? Count us in. We’ve all heard of the great side effects of pregnancy, but you’re less likely to see celebrity mums-to-be instagramming about their swollen feet, itchy skin or heartburn. Your raging hormones can also bless you with some more embarrassing side effects, like haemorrhoids, wind and the unwelcome return of your teenage acne. Pregnancy is a huge change for your body, and it’s okay if the only ‘glow’ you experience is a clammy sheen from…

Myth #2: ‘Morning’ sickness

Okay, who named this? Because for some it feels like all-day sickness and can last for longer than just the first trimester. Some days, you end up powering through on not much more than a bag of ice-lollies, a lemon and a packet of ginger nuts. There’s lots of good advice out there about how to cope with morning sickness*, but you have no time for non-pregnant people keen to bond over that one time they felt nauseous with a hangover.

Myth #3: You can eat double helpings of everything

‘Eating for two’ is such a common phrase, it’s basically another way of saying you’re pregnant. Unfortunately, it’s not a free pass to eat chocolate for breakfast. Apart from upping your folic acid supplements and the usual pregnancy restrictions, you shouldn’t try to eat more than your normal diet during pregnancy. You’ll only need to add an extra 200 calories in your final trimester. That could be as little as half an avocado or a small bowl of fortified cereal… or a few squares of chocolate.

Myth #4: You’ll get loads of sleep before the baby arrives

“Sleep now while you can,” – the sage advice of every parent remembering those sleepless nights with a newborn. Although that’s easier said than done. It can be pretty difficult to get comfortable with your bump and drop off, especially when you’re woken by muscle cramps, weird dreams or simply needing to wee every hour. From the second trimester onwards, another delightful side effect is nasal congestion, so you might find yourself snoring for the first time in your life. At least your partner will be awake to keep you company…

Myth #5: Pregnant women shouldn’t exercise 

You’re hot and sweating, and that’s just from getting up and down the stairs. Growing a baby can feel like a workout in itself, but if your doctor approves, it’s also good to keep up or even start some exercise while pregnant. Simply swap high-impact workouts and high-risk sports for low-impact alternatives like yoga. Pregnancy yoga classes are gentler, work around your bump and and focus on relaxation too. Swimming is another great option as it takes the weight off your feet, so you can float around feeling like a graceful mermaid for a change.

Myth #6: You must buy everything new and you must buy it NOW

It can be exciting to create a nursery for the first time because – well, let’s be honest – it’s an excuse to go shopping. Even dad is researching prams like he’s investing in a new set of wheels. And while it’s a nice idea to have a pretty rocking crib, a lot of things are just that, nice to have and not need to have. Babies grow out of things quickly, which means you can get some barely-used items for a fraction of the price when buying second hand (apart from car seats and baby mattresses – those you should buy new for safety reasons). Time to get yourself on Ebay we reckon!

Myth #7: Everything will go exactly to your birth plan

Ah, birth plans. They have the parenting world divided. For some, they’re labelled completely pointless, while for others they’re an essential source of comfort and control. Whichever camp you fall in, you’ll need to be flexible. By all means, let the midwife know your plan A. Maybe you dream of a calm water birth using only hypnobirthing techniques? But your baby may have other ideas on their arrival, so read up on inductions, emergency deliveries and pain-relief options too, so you can both feel informed on the big day.

Myth #8: Pregnancy is a journey you go on alone

Pregnancy is incredibly personal and no two people experience it the same way – but that doesn’t mean no one around you understands. Sure, you might feel that way when your pregnancy hormones are kicking in, but your partner, best friend or family will be there every step of the way. Because of that, they’ll be feeling new levels of happiness and stress too, which can affect them physically. You’re in this together, so it’s important to feel like you can share the experience and lean on those around you – sometimes literally – when things get too much.

Whatever your experience, these nine months leading up to the birth are guaranteed to be a whirlwind of firsts and emotions. Forget the myths and expectations, and try to enjoy the experience with your bump!

Do you have any more mummy myths to share? Check out ‘Being a parent: does it come naturally?’ .

* If you are being sick frequently and can’t keep food down you could have hyperemesis gravidarum. This is serious and you should consult with your GP or midwife immediately to make sure you get the right treatment.