Dr. Steven Grover on Common Pregnancy Myths
Fact or fallacy? Many Pregnancy Myths are a Little of Both
by Debra Melani
Dr. Steven Grover, OB/GYN and department chair of Women's Services at Sky Ridge Medical Center, helped us sift out the truth in a number of perplexing pregnancy issues. Here is his best take-home advice:
Pregnant women should NOT:
Eat deli meat
True. Unless it's steaming hot.
Deli meat can harbor listeria, a bacterial "bad actor" during pregnancy. Listeria can lurk in soft cheeses and hot dogs, too, so make sure those dogs are really hot and ditch the cold-cuts for a while.
False. Unless her Japanese cuisine consists of fish on the “no-no” list.
"These types of fish (shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel and ahi or bigeye tuna) tend to have higher mercury content than the others and should be completely avoided because of risks of neurological problems for baby." But sushi with any other type of fish? Have at it, but keep it to two, 6-ounce servings per week. Whether sushi can be raw has garnered no clear-cut recommendation, although anything raw, especially shellfish, has the potential to make anyone sick.
False. Unless Mom's a java junky.
If double-espressos keep Mom humming all day, it's time for rehab. However, coffee is OK, in moderation, meaning try to keep it to one cup of the leaded variety a day.
False. Unless Mom's thinking something steamy.
"We don't want pregnant women's body temperatures rising above 102 degrees because of the possibility of birth defects." Keep baths and hot-tubs lukewarm, and if you begin feeling overheated, that signals the end to relaxation time. If it's bubbles or bacteria reaching Junior you are worried about, no worries. He's safely sheltered in his amniotic sac and probably giving Mom a thumb’s up on bath time.
False. Unless Mom's under special doctor's orders.
If there are no complications with pregnancy, there are no restrictions on what a couple does in the bedroom. Junior’s still floating in his protective sac and not in danger of being scarred for life -- physically or emotionally (Really. He can't hear you.). So no wining with dining, but after that? Your call.
Eat for two
True. And there is no "unless."
Pregnancy doesn’t give Mom a ticket for double portions and half a cheesecake every night. Stick with three meals a day with healthy snacks, bumping your daily calorie intake by about 300.
Change cat litter
True. Unless Mom's careful.
But why not take a reprieve from the unpopular household duty for nine months? "We usually tell patients if they have to change the litter, wear gloves and wash your hands." But because of a parasite transferred in cat feces called Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause a serious, even fatal, infection in baby, it's better to let other family members adopt the chore. Keeping your cat indoors and away from raw meat reduces the risk. And, yes, it's still OK to pet Fluffy.
False. Unless there are special orders, or Junior's knocking at the door.
After 36 weeks of pregnancy, Mom might want to scratch trips overseas, but that's just so she doesn't have a stewardess-led birth on a plane. "We ask them to stay within an hour of the hospital after 36 weeks. That's not because of any danger of flying; it's so they can have the baby with us at the hospital they planned on for birth."