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Myths & Old Wives Tales About Pregnancy: Revealed

24 May 2023

4 minute read

Myths & Old Wives Tales About Pregnancy: Revealed

There are so many local myths and old wives tales about pregnancy. While some of them are entertaining, others can be downright harmful. Especially those that involve the mother and baby’s health and wellbeing. 

We had a chat with Dr Victor Chin, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Columbia Asia Hospital, Cheras to help debunk some of these popular myths and old wives tales about pregnancy so that you can make informed decisions about you and your child’s health. 

Myth 1: You should eat for two during pregnancy.

So, as far as I’m concerned, in pregnancy, it’s important to maintain a good nutrition intake and normal calorie intake. As long as you’re maintaining your regular diet, healthy diet along with proper supplements, that should be fine. 

That should be enough and sufficient for both mummy and baby. So, you don’t really have to take extra or force yourself to eat much or eat for two. Eating for one person would be enough. Intake should also be according to the mother’s lifestyle as well. 

Let’s say, she wants to exercise. Just light and gentle exercises; like brisk walking, some yoga. That should be fine. In terms of diet, just a regular diet, you know, less sugar, high protein, high fibre intake, that would be just sufficient. 

On top of that, for the first trimester, add on things like folic acid, and you know, you have plenty of supplements available in the market that you can do your own survey. You don’t really have to force feed. A regular diet, your normal diet should be sufficient. 

Myth 2: All bleeding during the first trimester means a miscarriage.

It depends on where the bleeding is coming from. So, in the female reproductive tract, we have the uterus, cervix and vagina. 

If the bleeding is coming from the vagina or the cervix, it does not necessarily mean that you’re having a miscarriage. Of course, the chances of miscarriage during the first trimester are about 20 to 25%, which is quite common. 

If you have any bleeding, especially if the bleeding is a fresh red colour, you might want to visit your doctor to get yourself checked. 

There are some common cases of bleeding that may happen when you’re in your first trimester. 

For example, if you have a polyp on the cervix, it can cause bleeding. Or if you have a cyst in the vagina which ruptures during the pregnancy, it can cause bleeding as well. 

And of course, if you have a miscarriage, you can have bleeding. Certain pregnancy conditions such as ectopic pregnancy, it can manifest as early pregnancy bleeding. 

So, it does not necessarily mean that you have a miscarriage. Having said that, being prepared for any potential pregnancy complication is important as it can help to minimise risk and ensure the best possible outcome for both mother and baby. 

If you are in pain and bleeding, you should get to your doctor as soon as possible. But if the bleeding has stopped, for example, sometimes you might have some bleeding in the middle of the night. Or probably just brownish discharge. 

This could be due to an infection. Or possibly a miscarriage. You can always contact your doctors, the next day to have yourself examined. 

So, don’t panic. Just take it easy. 

Myth 3: Being healthy guarantees a smooth pregnancy.

It depends on what is your definition for healthy. 

Some girls, they might have underlying conditions. Like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Or some people might not have had any medical examinations before. 

So preferably, all women that are pregnant need to have proper blood tests and physical examinations before they call themselves healthy. 

So how it works is usually at the very beginning of the pregnancy, we will triage a lady based on her risk factors. 

For example, age, based on their family history, based on their previous history, we will triage them based on those risk factors. 

Then we will categorise them based on low risk, medium risk or high-risk pregnancy. 

So even though you are healthy, it’s always good to see your doctor earlier in the pregnancy stages to have all these things sorted out, and then you can have better planning for your pregnancy and a smoother pregnancy experience. 

Myth 4: All mothers are blissful and happy after childbirth.

Childbirth is a tedious process. Giving birth is a labour. 

You need to go through many long hours of pushing. You know, it’s physically tiring. 

Then you have a newborn. And when the baby cries, you’ll be feeding the baby; then you get tired. 

So, for the first few days, postpartum blues is very common. 

Especially the first 2 to 5 days perhaps, and subsequently you might get mothers who fall into postpartum depression. So, these are the period where the mum needs to be well observed and well taken care of. 

And that’s when your doctors, or your carers come into play. 

Partners are very important as well. So, all the daddies out there, you need to keep an eye on your wife. 

This article first appeared in, 23 May 2023.

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24 May 2023

4 minute read

Myths & Old Wives Tales About Pregnancy: Revealed

Dr. Victor Chin

Obstetrics And Gynecology

Learn more about Obstetrics And Gynecology in Columbia Asia

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