In the online age there really is no excuse for believing old wive’s tales. We have a world of information at our fingertips and are always just a click or a tap away.
The problem is, sites like Facebook do more to spread misinformation than your Auntie Mary after she’s been on the white wine. And when you combine this with the mass of misinformation already out there, it creates some beliefs so ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh at them.
This is intensified where fertility and pregnancy is concerned, leading to the following myths that are still believed by a large number of men and women, no matter how absurd they seem.
6. Myth: Female Contraception is the Same as Male Contraception
This myth was likely spread by men who can’t bear the idea of “getting the snip” or even wearing a condom. In many cases ignorance is at fault, but there are no doubt some men who try to convince their partners that female contraception is just as easy as slipping on a condom simply so they don’t have to wear said condom!
The truth, however, is that no type of female contraception is quite that easy or problem free. The pill is a good example of this. Not only is it not 100% effective and not only does it promote unprotected sex and the spread of STDs, but it can also cause a wealth of side effects for the woman and could increase their risk of developing a number of diseases.
The biggest misunderstanding, however, concerns tubal ties, also known as “getting your tubes tied”. This is nowhere near as easy and as simple as a vasectomy.
Firstly, it requires an overnight stay using general anesthetic. Secondly, it can lead to serious complications, including infections. Thirdly, if the woman decides that she made a mistake and wants to have children after all, or if there was an issue with the initial procedure, then an equally dangerous tubal reversal procedure will need to be performed.
No one, man or woman, should be made to get a procedure that they don’t want, but if you’re in a partnership and have come to the decision not to have children together, condoms are the safest way and a vasectomy is he safest procedure.
5. Myth: Sleep Now, Because you Won’t Sleep Later
It’s no secret that new parents don’t get much sleep, and after a month of seemingly endless nights filled with crying and vomit stained PJs, they’ll long for the days when they could sleep through the night without being woken by a high-pitched human alarm clock. In anticipation of this, many experienced mothers will tell expecting mothers to “sleep now, because you won’t sleep later”.
But that’s not how sleep works. You can’t stockpile it over the course of several weeks—you can’t even stockpile it from one day to the next. Just because you sleep 16 hours one night doesn’t mean you can stay awake all through the next night. And even if this was a thing, there would be no legible way for you to stockpile several months’ worth of sleep short of slipping into a coma.
4. Myth: Cats will Harm Your Baby
This is a worrying belief and one that is becoming more prevalent after spreading on forums and social media groups for new mothers. They aren’t entirely clear about why this is such a big issue, but it generally boils down to hygiene issues and the idea is that if your cat is an indoor cat and uses a litter box it will somehow spread disease and that disease will harm the baby.
This is true if you don’t clean the litter box, but cats are generally very clean creatures. There is a risk of toxoplasmosis, but again, if you keep the litter box clean and don’t eat out of it then it shouldn’t be an issue. What is really worrying is that overly anxious new mothers are kicking their cats out of their house, either shutting the door to them or dumping them on cat shelters, all because of their paranoia. If your cat is a house cat and has always been one, not only is there very little to worry about, but kicking it out on the street and leaving it to fend for itself in a world it has never been introduced to is borderline evil.
3. Myth: You Have to be Very Strict with What you Eat
It is true that expecting mothers should avoid certain foods, such as blue cheese and raw meat, but this can be taken to the extreme, to the point where it does more harm than good. There are so-called “experienced” mothers out there recommending that expecting mothers avoid vegetables because of the risk of E.coli and eggs because of the risk of salmonella. But unless you’re eating vegetables encrusted with dirt or drinking raw eggs like Rocky preparing for a fight, there’s nothing no worry about.
Wash your vegetables, cook your eggs, don’t eat uncooked meat, moldy/unpasteurized cheese, and you’re golden. You should also avoid liver, not only because it can lead to an excessive consumption of vitamin A, but because it’s nasty.
2. Myth: You Need to Eat Twice as Much
Pregnancy is a great excuse for overindulgence. If anyone says anything just remind them that you’re eating for two and then get right back to chugging that pint of ice cream. It’s worth noting, however, that this is another myth. In fact, during the first 6 months of pregnancy women don’t need any extra calories at all. Beyond that, they only need about 200 extra calories a day, which works out at about two slices of bread.
1. Myth: You Need to Avoid All Medicines
Drugs aren’t good for you at the best of times, but during pregnancy they can do serious harm to your baby. Babies born to drug addicts actually need to be weaned off the drugs, although contrary to popular belief they are not quite “born addicted”. This, in addition to the knowledge that alcohol and cigarettes should also be avoided during pregnancy, has led to the belief that all drugs, including medications, should be avoided.
But this is not the case. You should definitely consult your doctor before taking anything, but you don’t need to suffer through the pain of a headache, constipation or other common problem just because of a mistaken belief that all medicines should be avoid. Trust your doctor, they know best.