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No doubt you’ve heard them all before: Morning sickness means it’s a girl. Pregnant women have to eat for two. Or a little alcohol won’t do any harm. Do not worry yourself too much. Such sayings and old wives’ tales are not to be relied upon. If you are well informed, you can relax and ignore them. We have examined some of the widespread myths about pregnancy for you in greater detail.
Girls cause more sickness
There is actually something in this. That’s what researchers from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm are saying anyway. The Swedish study of a million pregnant women showed that women complaining of severe morning sickness more often produced girls than boys. This may be attributable to the higher concentration of the pregnancy hormone HCG in the blood. A study by the University of Baltimore produced the following result: out of 66 pregnant women who suffered from unrelenting sickness, 44 bore girls.
Pregnant women have to eat for two
What is usually meant by this is eating double the quantity of food. However, pregnant women do not have to eat double the amount, but rather twice as well. It is true that you need a significantly higher amount of vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. It is the quality of the food rather than the quantity that is important in order to absorb sufficient quantities of these vital substances. This is referred to as the nutrient density in this context. Foods with a high “nutrient density???, such as vegetables, fruit and wholegrain products, potatoes, milk and dairy products all contain particularly crucial ingredients in relation to their calorie content. It is therefore not only pregnant women who should opt for these foods. For more details, please read our article “Pregnancy and nutrition”.
A little glass of something to mark a special occasion is OK
It is better to avoid alcohol altogether, even if you are told that a glass of wine or beer every now and then won’t hurt. Alcohol can damage your child‘s body, particularly the brain. This is because the liver of the unborn child is not yet mature and cannot break down the alcohol. No one will be able to tell you with certainty exactly how much you can have that will allow your child to survive unharmed. It is therefore best not to expose them to even the smallest quantities of alcohol. However, do not worry if you drank alcohol before you realised you were pregnant. For the first 14 days after conception the embryo is not yet connected to the mother’s circulation and therefore does not absorb any alcohol from its mother’s blood.
The baby takes what it needs
We now know that this accepted wisdom is only partly true – e.g. in the case of the mineral calcium. The unborn child can indeed feed on its mother’s reserves. However, this is to the detriment of the mother, as the calcium comes from her bone matter. To ensure that the mother’s bones remain strong and healthy, it is extremely important for her to make sure she gets enough calcium, particularly from milk and dairy products. Our body cannot store most vitamins. The mother and child are therefore dependent on these being replenished regularly. If you want to be absolutely sure that you and your child are getting a sufficient supply of vitamins and minerals, you are advised to consult your family doctor or gynaecologist.
Salty and sour is best
Many pregnant women tend to crave salty or sour foods rather than sweet foods. This is probably attributable to the increased concentration of the hormone oestrogen. It makes saliva taste sweeter, which halts the craving for sweet foods and increases the desire for savoury foods.