The Top 10 Pregnancy Myths — And The Truth Behind Each

Pregnancy is complex enough without misinformation.

Last updated on Jan 20, 2023

pregnat woman Artem Varnitsin / Shutterstock

Pregnancy is a special chapter in a woman’s life. You’re becoming a mother and, basically, creating a new life. 

The sheer fact that everything you do for nine months can influence your baby is stressful as it is, but many other things make this time even more worrisome and frustrating.

You may be hearing all sorts of pregnancy myths from friends, family, coworkers, and media that are not entirely correct. So how do you figure out the myths from the truth, and what pregnancy facts do you really need to know?


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To make your pregnancy less stressful, here are 10 common pregnancy myths — and the truth behind each:

1. Pregnancy is always a wonderful experience

How many times have you heard other women say their pregnancies went smoothly? It was a wonderful, perfect experience and yours will be, too.


You’ll sail through these nine months and your pregnancy week by week will be a joyous experience.

When Kim Kardashian said she hated being pregnant due to severe complications she had, most women criticized her.

Fact: All women are different and so are their pregnancies. Some women can have it easy while others do not.

You see, biological, social, and psychological factors play a role in your pregnancy and the symptoms you experience. The bottom line is that you shouldn't compare your pregnancy to anyone else’s.  

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2. Stress during pregnancy harms the baby

Stress is a physical response. When you are stressed out, the body assumes it’s under attack and it launches "flight or fight" mode by releasing different hormones that prepare you for the physical reaction. Basically, you can’t avoid stress even during pregnancy.


Fact: Acute and moderate stress is a natural bodily reaction. It would be impossible to avoid it entirely and it doesn't really harm your baby. In fact, it can tone the nervous system of a fetus and accelerate its development. That said, chronic, severe, and unmanaged stress could affect the baby through the amniotic fluid.

Some theories suggest that chronic and severe stress during pregnancy could be a risk factor for ADHD in kids later on. In other words, acute and moderate stress isn't harmful, chronic and severe stress is harmful.

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3. Heartburn during pregnancy means your baby will have hair

Although it may seem bizarre, it’s not uncommon for people to say a baby will have hair when a woman complains of heartburn during pregnancy. It’s important to mention that heartburn is on the list of pregnancy symptoms.  


Fact: There might be some truth in it, after all. A small study from the Birth journal found that women who experienced mild to severe heartburn gave birth to babies with hair.

Scientists believe it could be due to pregnancy hormones; they relax the lower esophagus and are also responsible for hair growth in the fetus. More studies are necessary to find out for sure.

4. A bigger baby is a healthier baby

Fact: The average baby weighs about 7.5 lbs. Babies that are much bigger than that are at a higher risk of obesity and diabetes later on. In other words, a healthy weight range is ideal even though the baby may not look "big" enough to someone else.

5. Pregnant women should avoid physical activity

Now that you’re pregnant, you need to rest as much as possible. Exercise and other types of physical activities aren't recommended and could only harm you. Not only is this one of the most common myths, but people also shame those women who exercise while pregnant.


Fact: Getting enough rest is important, but you also need to be active. Fetuses of pregnant women who exercise have healthier heart rates and better cardiovascular health. Also, they have lower birth weights and the labor itself is easier.

Of course, you should avoid grueling workouts. Stick to low-impact exercises or yoga.

6. The shape of your baby bump predicts the baby’s gender

If you’re carrying low then you’ll probably give birth to a baby boy. On the other hand, if your baby bump is higher up, a baby girl is on the way. People have probably tried to predict your baby’s gender based on the position and shape of your belly.

Fact: The gender of the baby has nothing to do with the position of a pregnant woman’s stomach. Muscles in the stomach tend to stretch in subsequent pregnancies. Therefore, if your baby bump is higher up, it just means this is your first pregnancy or you have stronger abdominal muscles.


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7. Pregnant women should stay away from seafood

Fact: Seafood is healthy and it delivers Omega-3 fatty acids necessary for a baby’s brain development. Just stay away from high-mercury fish and seafood.

8. Women with severe morning sickness are more likely to have a girl

Fact: Although it sounds weird, yes. Studies show that mothers who deal with severe morning sickness are, indeed, more likely to give birth to a daughter.

9. Women who have a big appetite during pregnancy are more likely to carry a boy

Fact: This is true and the evidence confirms that a bigger appetite during pregnancy could mean you’ll have a son.


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10. If you have an STD, your baby will too

Fact: Depends on the STD you have. For example, Chlamydia is caused by a virus and it could pass from the mother onto the baby during childbirth.

It’s impossible to avoid all the pregnancy-related myths lurking around. There’s always going to be a belief or myth that spreads from one person to another for generations.

The best thing you can do is to learn as much as you can about pregnancy and strive to have a healthier lifestyle for both you and the baby.

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Donna Begg is affiliated with Consumer Health Digest where she works with beauty and health experts. She is an expert editor, researcher, and analyst.