We’ve all heard horror stories about going into labour, read books about What to Expect and been handed down some (sometimes really weird) wisdom about pregnancy. Of everything out there, there are some popular myths about pregnancy that just aren’t true and some things that sound made up, but actually are true.
Can I know I’m pregnant the minute it happens?
There are women who will say they knew immediately when they had conceived their child. They talk of breast tenderness or feeling tired or ill within days or weeks of conception or say that they just “feel pregnant”.
So, can a person know they are pregnant the moment the sperm hits the egg? No. Most of these are more about how we feel emotionally than any actual physical indication that an egg has been fertilized. A small number of women might experience some symptoms a couple of weeks later, but those could be hard to distinguish from regular premenstrual symptoms. Your body needs time to create high enough levels of HCG to know for sure, so it’s best to wait until the week after your expected period to take a pregnancy test.
Am I going to turn into a vomit machine like women on TV or Kate Middleton?
Maybe, but probably not. If you go by a lot of movies and TV shows, pregnant women all suffer from morning sickness (or all day sickness) and other extreme pregnancy symptoms. The truth is that many women experience very few symptoms and don’t need one puke bag their entire pregnancy. While morning sickness is a very common symptom, it’s rarely as dramatic as portrayed on television. A lot of women that do get morning sickness start feeling better by their second trimester so it isn’t 9 months of misery (not from throwing up anyway!). The exception is people like Kate Middleton, but that’s because of a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Women with HG experience severe nausea and vomiting that can cause serious dehydration and a seriously miserable pregnancy. The good news is that fewer than 3% of women get HG.
Can I predict my baby’s gender?
Through medical imaging, sure. Or other medical tests like NIPT (Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing) and more advanced screenings. But that’s about it.
There are a bunch of methods out there that claim to reveal the gender of your unborn baby, including:
- How you carry. There are theories that how you carry your pregnancy (high or low on your torso) can indicate whether you’ve got a boy or girl in there.
- Cravings. Some people believe salty cravings mean you’re having a son and sweet cravings mean a daughter.
- Chinese Gender Predictor. This uses a Chinese Lunar chart, your age and when you conceived to predict the gender of your child.
There are many more out there, but they all have one thing in common: there’s no evidence to support that any of them are remotely accurate. Still, they are fun and there’s no harm in doing them, just don’t put too much weight into what they say.
In a typical pregnancy without complications, a 20-week ultrasound will usually be able to reveal the baby’s gender. If you go with earlier screenings like the NIPT (it’s a simple blood tests), you can get results while you’re still in your first trimester.
Surprising Pregnancy Facts
While there are a lot of claims out there that aren’t true, that’s not to say there aren’t some pretty crazy things about pregnancy.
Can my baby recognise my voice before they’re born?
Yes! By the third trimester, your fetus has been hanging out around long enough to recognise which voice is their mama’s. So if you see a pregnant lady talking to herself, don’t worry - she’s just having some of their very first conversations. If your partner is also prone to talking to your baby bump, there’s a chance that the baby will also find their voices familiar once they’re out in the world.
Not only can they recognise your voice, they will likely prefer your voice. Scientific studies have shown that babies are partial to their mother’s voice above all others and this can become an important part in early bonding.
Will becoming a mother make my heart grow?
Actually, yes... And not just figuratively. While a woman is pregnant, her blood volume increases by 40-50%, and her heartbeat increases. Like any other muscle in the body, if it’s working harder, it grows bigger. So yes, becoming a mother does LITERALLY make your heart grow bigger.
It’s not just her heart growing - Her feet may also get bigger, sometimes growing up to a full size larger. For some of us unlucky mamas, that means finding shoes that fit during pregnancy can get more difficult by the time the baby arrives. Especially if you’re also one of the unlucky ones dealing with serious feet swelling. On the flipside, it can be a great excuse to buy a whole new shoe collection.
No surprise here, but her uterus also grows. Makes sense, there’s a baby growing in there. But did you know it increases more than 500 times its pre-pregnancy size during pregnancy? That’s some impressive elasticity.
Do babies drink their own pee?
Yep, sure do. From the second trimester, babies begin urinating inside the uterus. It becomes part of the amniotic fluid, which also happens to be what they drink. They continue this cycle of peeing and drinking, drinking and peeing until they’re born (and then hopefully never again).
The human body is a fascinating - sometimes gross - thing. Growing and bringing a baby into the world is a beautiful thing, even when it does get kinda weird.