10 Pregnancy Myths
Glowing skin. Bad sex. Cravings for pickles and ice cream. You may expect these changes - but here’s why they may not happen to you
Myth: Pregnancy is a fulfilling, life-affirming experience
We all know them: Women who sail through their nine months loving every minute, full of the promise of the new life they carry within.
What's with the rest of us?
It turns out that a host of factors - biological, psychological, and social - can trip up women on their way to delivery day. "People think you feel wonderful and special and euphoric," says Leslie Hartley Gise, M.D., a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Hawaii. "But pregnant women can become depressed or anxious, too."
Minefields can range from the stresses of work, to the monumental things happening to your body, to the worry over the life changes that come with bringing a child into the world.
"I almost resented being pregnant the first time," admits Kimberly Mele, of Cumming, GA. "As a hairdresser, I was on my feet all the time, which left me exhausted. Plus, my belly kept me from getting into the positions I needed to cut properly."
The best lines of defense against pregnancy's blues? "If you work, try to find a balance between the pressures of your job and your physical and emotional needs," says Dr. Gise. Slow down when you need to. As your due date approaches, can you work at home one or two days a week? Equally crucial: Find someone to lean on. Your partner, friends, or family members - even acquaintances from childbirth class - can provide support. Also, says Dr. Gise, "now and after the baby arrives, stay involved in other important areas of your life - interests, hobbies, work - to help you keep a part of yourself separate, just for you."
Myth: You'll crave pickles and ice cream
You might, but you could have totally unexpected yearnings, too. Normally a chocoholic, I was certain that pregnancy would make me wolf down everything from super-fudge ice cream to chocolate croissants. But it was fruits and salads in one pregnancy, and starchy foods like bagels and muffins in the next.
Cravings tend to vary with each pregnancy, and sometimes even week to week or day to day. Before Amy Rodriguez became pregnant, she never ate sandwiches or white bread, and considered herself a healthy eater. But the first time she was expecting, says the Cypress, CA, mother of three, "I'd eat tuna melts at every meal for a week, then move on to something else, like ham-on-white sandwiches and chips."
"Most cravings are harmless in terms of your health, although they're not always good for weight gain," says Richard Henderson, M.D., an obstetrician-gynecologist at St. Francis Hospital, in Wilmington, DE. If you're gaining in line with your doctor's recommendation, he says, and you're getting enough calcium and fruits and vegetables, don't worry about indulging - in moderation.