Every mom to be has one of these stories. It’s not bad enough that we are forced to suffer through bad maternity clothes and hot flashes, but we are targets for terrible advice from well-intentioned, but often misled, individuals. Below are the five worst pieces of advice I got while pregnant. This happens to be a favorite topic of mine, and I always enjoy hearing these from others so feel free to post your own in the comments section below when you finish reading!
- I was at work wearing a maxi dress with a decorative belt around my rib cage and upon seeing this, a former co-worker became very panicked and exclaimed, “You need to take that belt off right now! You’re going to strangle your baby!” The belt was not tight and I was carrying the baby in my pelvis, not in my rib cage. I’m sure if the belt had been tight enough to crush my ribs and strangle my baby I would’ve been the first to know, but I digress…
- I was once asked, “Are you drinking a glass of red wine every week?” I replied, “Of course not! I haven’t had any alcohol since I became pregnant.” This was the truth, and this apparently also made me a bad mom. “Oh my goodness! Your baby is going to end up with those dark birth marks all over their face! You need to start drinking at least one glass a week so they don’t get wine stains.” To be honest, I would take a birth mark over fetal alcohol syndrome any day, but that’s probably beside the point. For anyone actually wondering if there is any merit to the claim that drinking wine prevents facial port wine stains: fear not, this is totally false. Check out this link for more info: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/port-wine-stains.html
- One friend, who has never been pregnant, had kids, done any research, or hold any type of degree or certification in a related field told me with complete confidence that I was going to get an episiotomy when I went into labor because they’re standard procedure. According to her, without an episiotomy a baby can’t exit the birth canal This was after I told her I was considering natural birth. Of course, this is not true! Not only did I not have an episiotomy, I did not even tear. Do not fear, mamas-to-be, many people who are not doctors will literally make shit up. Just ignore them.
- When I was about four months along, I was still not showing. This was my first pregnancy and I was very in-shape going in to it so I’m told that is not uncommon. Anyway, I ran into an old acquaintance who immediately looked me up and down and asked, “Where is your bump?” I smiled and replied, “I’m sure it’ll come soon enough.” She shot back, “Well, you must not be eating! You shouldn’t starve yourself like that; you’re hurting your baby.” My jaw almost hit the floor. This woman whom I barely knew just accused me of purposely placing my unborn child at risk because I was worried about my appearance. There were about three pretty serious accusations in one statement and I didn’t know which made me the most uncomfortable. Clearly, this woman had not recently seen me around a plate of pasta, because I was definitely eating plenty! I was not sure what shocked me more about this statement, the content or that she she said it with such confidence. Someone who knew nothing about me was suddenly certain I was starving myself and felt entirely comfortable telling me I was a hurting my baby. Not only was she incorrect, but she was very bold. Beware this type of mom-shaming! It’s as absurd as it is infuriating.
- My favorite bit of misled medical advice came from a very unexpected source: my father-in-law. While out at dinner, this normally VERY modest man began talking about birth. To get the full effect of this conversation, I’m going to outline it below in as close to verbatim as I can recall. It’s a gem. Enjoy!
Father-in-Law: “Why would anyone have a water birth? They’re so dangerous.”
Me: “They’re actually pretty safe and considered to be very gentle on the baby…” (I rambled on with some facts and science for a bit here…)
Father-in-Law: “Safe? But the baby can’t breathe underwater!”
Brother-in-Law: “Well they don’t hold them there. They’re born and then they’re brought out of the water.”
Father-in-Law: “Okay, but everything else in the womb comes out too. That can’t be good for the baby.”
Husband: “Well, the baby’s already been living in it for nine months, a few more seconds won’t hurt.”
Father-in-Law: “It’s not sanitary! Babies have to be sanitary. Why else would doctors have to wear gloves when delivering babies?”
Me: “Well, I wouldn’t want to touch someone else’s afterbirth with my bare hands.”
Brother-in-Law: “And to prevent introducing new germs to the baby…”
Father-in-Law: “Okay, but what about the mother? When she delivers all that into the tub, it can’t be safe for her when it all gets sucked back up inside!”
***There was a pause as we tried to figure out exactly what he was suggesting. As it turns out, he thought that after a baby is born, a vacuum is created by the vagina and all the afterbirth and water in the tub actually gets sucked back up into the woman. Go back and re-read that if you need to; it’s a lot to process.
Mother-in-Law: [Laughing] “Yeah, that’s why you never see us girls swimming at the cabin. If we get in the lake, we’ll fill up with water and sink right to the bottom!”