Pregnancy truths revealed

Pregnancy truths revealed

Do you know which vitamin and mineral supplements are essential during pregnancy and which are a waste of money? And do you know where you're guaranteed to put on weight in the last four months, besides your tummy? Check out these pregnancy truths revealed:

Do I need a vitamin and mineral supplement?

Even though many women think they need a multivitamin supplement during pregnancy, a balanced diet should supply you with everything you need. I'm a veggie and I went through both of my pregnancies with perfect iron, says childbirth educator Victoria Marshall-Cerins. "You can do it without a supplement, by keeping hydrated and eating lots of fruit and veg and fibre." She adds that supplements containing iron can also have an unpleasant side-effect: Constipation is a natural effect of pregnancy, but supplements that contain iron can add to that, and will often lead to haemorroids. It's one of the disadvantages of taking a supplement.

Should I take folic acid?

On the other hand, a folic acid supplement is recommended for every woman to take before they fall pregnant. Taking a specific folic acid supplement before you fall pregnant is very important. It's been shown to reduce neural tube defects by 50-70 per cent, says Dr Robyn Napier, spokesperson for the AMA, adding that the recommended daily dose is 0.5mg. Iodine is also recommended for the duration of pregnancy.

Is it just my boobs and bump that will grow during pregnancy?

No, as it's highly likely you'll add a few extra kilos to your bum and hips during pregnancy, too. However, unlike pear shapes pre-pregnancy, the fat is there for a very different reason - as an extra energy source during breastfeeding. "The fat is stored and used from different sites during breastfeeding," says Carol Fallows, author of Having a Baby (Doubleday). But don't be too disheartened about the weight gain, as nature invented breastfeeding as a far better way to lose weight than the lemon detox diet.

Are scans and ultrasounds compulsory?

Many women have three different ultrasounds during their pregnancy the first to pinpoint the day of conception, the next at around 12 weeks, looking for chromosomal disorders, and a final one at 18-20 weeks to pick up physical abnormalities. Contrary to what you might think, they're not compulsory, with childbirth expert Lael Stone, explaining they can sometimes bring up complex decisions surrounding termination. "There are so many variables and they are not always accurate," she says. It's a really personal choice. It's how it fits with you - it's your baby, your body and you have choices.

Can nipple stimulation start labour?

Eating a curry, having sex, nipple stimulation they are all ways that are supposed to kick-off labour. Dr Napier says it's a fallacy, however, that nipple stimulation can trigger childbirth. There's no real evidence. If you're ready to go, it might just trigger it. But you'd have to be right on it for that to happen. Although many women might say otherwise, there's also no scientific evidence that either eating a curry or having sex will kick-start labour either.

Do alternative therapies really work?

Out of all of the different alternative therapies, it is acupuncture that has the most studies and research supporting its effectiveness. A recent US study found that women undergoing IVF increase their chance of falling pregnant by around 65%. It is also often used to turn a breech baby and can help keep mum calm, too. Acupuncture is great for stress and anxiety and to help build up the energy in your belly before the birth, confirms Lael, adding that raspberry leaf tea can help strengthen your uterus before birth, although you need to drink it from at least 30 weeks onwards.

This article was written by Joanna Bounds for Kidspot, New Zealand's best family health resource.


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