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  • Laura Riley: Oh, this is my favorite.

  • "Pregnant women need to eat twice as much."

  • Absolute myth.

  • Don't do it.

  • You really actually only need about 200 extra calories a day

  • over a normal American diet.

  • And that's assuming that you're starting pregnancy

  • at a normal weight.

  • "Sex during pregnancy hurts the baby."

  • Well...

  • Dena Goffman: "Cocoa butter prevents stretch marks."

  • This is a myth.

  • I'm Laura Riley.

  • I'm a high-risk OB

  • at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell.

  • I'm Dena Goffman.

  • I'm a high-risk OB at New York Presbyterian/Columbia.

  • This is so exciting,

  • wondering what's gonna come next.

  • Riley: I know, I know.

  • Goffman: Oh, my favorite.

  • "It's OK to drink a glass of wine when you're pregnant."

  • We know that the recommendation in pregnancy is that

  • you really should not consume any alcohol.

  • Unfortunately, there is no safe amount of alcohol

  • nor a safe time in pregnancy when we can be sure

  • that alcohol won't affect a developing fetus.

  • Riley: Also, I think it's important to add

  • that we don't think it's safe to drink

  • while you're breastfeeding, either,

  • because the alcohol does get into breast milk.

  • And as Dr. Goffman said,

  • we don't know what the safe amount is, and that safe amount

  • may actually change for different women.

  • Goffman: "Your belly reveals the baby's gender."

  • We certainly hear patients coming in to see us

  • and having heard or having family members say

  • that they can tell whether you're having a boy

  • or a girl based on how the woman's belly looks.

  • And we know that there is absolutely no evidence

  • that the shape of your belly can tell us

  • this type of information.

  • Riley: The other myth that goes along with gender

  • I think is the heart rate is high or low.

  • My patients always say that, you know, they come in,

  • oh, it's 160, it must be girl.

  • Like, no. If it's 160, it means the kid's moving a lot,

  • and if it's sleeping it's going to be 120.

  • So it doesn't tell you whether it's a girl or boy.

  • Goffman: "Cocoa butter prevents stretch marks."

  • This is a myth.

  • While cocoa butter is something

  • that many patients like to use,

  • we don't have any evidence that cocoa butter

  • or anything else that we can recommend

  • will prevent stretch marks.

  • Riley: It's probably genetic, and, essentially,

  • if you gain too much weight in one spot,

  • i.e. your pregnancy gets really big,

  • you're more likely to get stretch marks, unfortunately.

  • But it's not worth spending a ton of money

  • on expensive creams, because it's not gonna work.

  • That was cheery.

  • "You can give a cold to your developing baby."

  • This is a complete myth.

  • Your baby is not gonna get the cold.

  • Although your baby can get sick

  • if you get something like the flu,

  • which is why we tell you to get a flu shot,

  • to prevent your baby from getting really sick.

  • There are some illnesses you can transfer

  • to your baby, but probably not a cold.

  • I think people get the cold and the flu confused,

  • which is unfortunate because the flu

  • can make you really sick in pregnancy.

  • Goffman: "What you eat during pregnancy

  • can influence the baby's palate."

  • Riley: I don't think there is a shred of evidence

  • to support that.

  • I think that what you eat during pregnancy is important

  • because it does sort of, you know,

  • set your baby off to a good start

  • in terms of its overall nutrition and good health.

  • But it's probably not gonna change the baby's palate.

  • Goffman: We always talk about nutrition and food choices

  • and healthy weight gain,

  • which really can have long-term impact

  • on your baby's development, but not specifically the palate

  • or what they have a taste for.

  • Riley: "Pregnant women shouldn't drink coffee."

  • That's a myth.

  • You can drink coffee.

  • This is one where moderation is the most important thing.

  • In the first trimester, having excessive amounts of coffee

  • have been associated with a higher risk of miscarriage.

  • Once that first trimester is over,

  • should you go crazy with the coffee?

  • Probably not.

  • But it's not gonna harm anything.

  • Goffman: "Pregnant women shouldn't eat hot dogs."

  • So, this is a myth.

  • I think the concern with hot dogs are a few.

  • You want to make sure that they are well cooked

  • to avoid infection risk.

  • And there used to be a fair amount of conversation

  • about the amount of nitrites in hot dogs,

  • but I think the evidence suggests that unless you're eating

  • really excessive amounts of hot dogs,

  • that it's probably OK to enjoy one.

  • I think there are probably things

  • better than hot dogs to eat, nutritionally,

  • but I think if people enjoy one once in a while,

  • I don't have a problem with it.

  • Riley: You're way nicer than I am.

  • I'm not sure why anybody's eating hot dogs, frankly,

  • but, you know, you can have one in pregnancy,

  • but I think it's really important

  • to make sure that it's cooked,

  • because the concern about listeria is a real concern.

  • So, that includes the hot dogs,

  • the unpasteurized cheeses, the deli meats.

  • All of those things are things that we worry about.

  • So I think, you know.

  • Yeah, it's a myth that you can't eat hot dogs,

  • but you should be certain that it's cooked well.

  • "Pregnant women shouldn't eat smoked salmon."

  • That's a myth.

  • You can eat smoked salmon if you like it.

  • I'm not a lover of salmon, so.

  • Goffman: I love it.

  • You can eat smoked salmon.

  • This gets into concerns around fish consumption

  • in pregnancy, which is a huge topic.

  • And we talk to our patients about the risk

  • of various types of fish.

  • So, we want to avoid fish with high mercury content.

  • So typically that would be avoiding excessive tuna,

  • choosing chunk-light, canned tuna,

  • and also limiting the number of cans of tuna in a week.

  • There is also some concern about some of these oily fish,

  • I guess, about the potential for toxins.

  • And so I would say salmon in general may fall

  • into that category, but smoked salmon I think is safe

  • for pregnant women to eat.

  • Riley: The whole fish story is a little

  • blown out of proportion.

  • And I think people get really crazy

  • about this whole mercury thing.

  • I would say it's important to also recognize, though,

  • that fish has great nutritional value to it

  • that pregnant women and babies need and want.

  • So it is unfortunate that somehow the fish story

  • has resulted in people thinking, "I can't have any fish."

  • It's really the large steak fishes

  • where you're worried about the mercury.

  • But then, don't forget that something like salmon

  • is gonna give you the DHEAS, which you want.

  • Goffman: "Pregnant women shouldn't pet cats."

  • This is a myth.

  • This would be terrible if all pregnant women

  • in the world couldn't pet their pets, their cats.

  • There is a concern with pregnant women caring

  • for cats in terms of the litter box,

  • and really the risk is toxoplasmosis.

  • And the risk of exposure isn't with interacting

  • with your cat, but with changing a dirty litter box.

  • Riley: It is actually fairly rare in the US

  • for women to come into contact with toxoplasmosis.

  • The more important thing about sort of the cat stories,

  • everyone worries about the cat and the kitty litter;

  • the most common exposure

  • that women get to toxoplasmosis

  • is actually not the cat or the liter even.

  • It's not washing your garden vegetables,

  • because it's the cat that has the toxin

  • that poops in your garden

  • and then you pick that up and eat it

  • because you don't wash it or whatever.

  • So, gardening without gloves are things

  • that we tell pregnant women to avoid

  • because of that particular infection.

  • The cat's got a bad rap, unfortunately.

  • "Pregnant women shouldn't fly."

  • Total myth, get on the plane, have a good time.

  • That said, there are a few things

  • to think about when flying.

  • I think one of the major issues is that pregnant women

  • are at increased risk for getting a blood clot

  • either in their leg or their lung.

  • When you fly, the air is dry.

  • You're also more likely just to be sitting

  • for a prolonged period of time.

  • And that just further increases your risk

  • for getting a blood clot.

  • So I always tell pregnant women, be happy, go ahead.

  • Go on those trips.

  • But you should hydrate before you go.

  • You should wear support hose

  • or at least, like, you know, running tights

  • or something that gives you a little bit of

  • support in your legs.

  • You should get up and walk around every hour or so.

  • People worry about the air pressure,

  • which makes no sense because it's a pressurized cabin.

  • That doesn't do anything,

  • you're not gonna break your water.

  • And they also worry about going through the screener, right?

  • Everybody's worried about the radiation

  • going through the screener,

  • but in fact the radiation exposure is actually higher

  • when you're in the sky in the plane than it is

  • when you're walking quickly

  • through the security.

  • Goffman: "Exercise during pregnancy can strangle the baby."

  • This is a myth.

  • Exercise is actually strongly recommended during pregnancy.

  • All of our professional organizations,

  • all of us as providers talk to patients

  • about maintaining physical activity,

  • maintaining exercise throughout the pregnancy,

  • really unless there's a medical situation

  • that comes up that changes those recommendations.

  • So, exercise is not dangerous.

  • And in fact, the opposite.

  • It's really important.

  • Riley: I think also this whole strangling thing comes

  • from this crazy nonsense that if you get yourself

  • into certain yoga positions,

  • your baby can strangle itself.

  • You don't have any control

  • over the position your baby gets into.

  • The baby is floating in a pool of water.

  • And it doesn't matter whether you're doing a headstand

  • or you're just, like, chilling.

  • "Sex during pregnancy hurts the baby."

  • Well, that's a big myth.

  • And it also helps to understand

  • sort of the anatomy a little bit.

  • I think this is where patients get a little bit confused.

  • The baby is floating inside a pool of water,

  • a big balloon bag.

  • And that balloon bag is surrounded by thick muscle,

  • which is the uterus, surrounds the entire bag

  • and has, actually, a thicker portion at the bottom.

  • So there's just no way

  • that sex is gonna get even near the baby.

  • Goffman: Dyeing your hair is harmful for the baby.

  • This is another big myth.

  • And we get phone calls about it.

  • Lots of questions.

  • There is no evidence, and again,

  • we keep coming back to evidence

  • because that's what we look to as your physicians.

  • And there really is no evidence out there

  • that the things that we use for hair-dyeing reach the baby

  • or have the potential to cause harm.

  • Riley: The other thing about the hair dye,

  • frankly, I tell people, if it's gonna make you feel better,