Fact or Fiction? 2nd Trimester Common Myths Debunked

Monday, February 09, 2015

[Personal] Edited to add : Im writing this post with a heavy heart because I have just received some really bad news in the family. As this post was already in the works before I got the news, I decide to finish it before I take some time off to grieve privately. Im sorry for the late replies in emails, comments and tags from today onwards as I will be away for the time being. Thank you for understanding. 
Fact or Fiction? 2nd Trimester Common Myths Debunked
Once people got to know about my pregnancy (namely into my 2nd trimester) - there was an overwhelming load of information from well-meaning friends and relatives. While I relish the kindness and advice, these are some common ones that I decide to compile because trust me.. it wouldn't be your first or the last time hearing these.
Myth 1 : You have to eat for two
The very first one on my list and how suddenly everyone is giving me the green light to eat MORE! From scooping more rice into my bowl.. to offering me second helpings of everything, pregnancy seemed to be the best excuse to pile on the food. And pounds. An average woman with a normal BMI pre-pregnancy will need about 300 extra calories per day. Which roughly translate to a glass of milk and a small sandwich, a bowl of hearty soup, a piece of cake or a plate of salad. Putting on too much unnecessary weight might cause more harm than good so mindful eating should be exercised during pregnancy unless advised by your doctor. 
Myth 2 : Avoid caffeine 
I realized people started giving me the evil eye when I ordered coffee or even coke! While caffeine is said to cause preterm labor and miscarriages, a cup of java a day during a healthy pregnancy has little effect on a growing baby. The golden rule is to keep within the recommended limit of 200 milligrams of caffeine per day (which is the amount in about one 12-ounce cup of coffee) Of coz, do remember to keep track of caffeine in drinks such as Coke, energy drinks and even chocolate. It is prudent to stay on the safe side and drink tea or go for decaf if you are really unsure, but my regular cup of kopitiam teh really helped me get through some days when Im even too tired to keep my eyes open!
Myth 3 : No manicures/pedicures and hair dyes 
While I personally kept away from my regular grooming sessions during my first trimester (namely coz I was too lethargic to get out of the house lol) ~ my energy came back leaps and bounds during my 2nd trimester and I was just raring to go back into my normal routine. Which meant doing my nails.. trimming my hair and yoga-ing! Chemicals from hair dye, permanents, and relaxers are absorbed through the skin only in minimal amounts that aren't harmful. What is more of an issue is inhaling the fumes from your regular hair dye (ammonia) or chemicals from nail sessions (eg acrylic). If you are prone to feeling queasy, smelling those might make you feel even worse and cause nausea. Perhaps having such treatments in a well-ventilated area or going for natural hair dyes/ simple nail sessions will work better for you during your pregnancy. 
Myth 4 : Thou should not exercise at all
If you have a regular exercise routine pre-pregnancy, I say go ahead and carry on with it as long as your doctor gives you the green light! Simple exercise (no marathons please) will help prepare you and your body for birth and might even help you sleep better at night. A regular exercise workout throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best. Exercising regularly produces endorphins and help relieve the stress of pregnancy symptoms and improve overall well-being. I did Hatha yoga and prenatal yoga and would advise beginners to start slow (eg walks). My doctor even told me to exercise more to avoid water retention and cramps and I found that it really helped me til now!
Myth 5 : Flying will cause complications
I think people are worried about the radiation caused during a flight, even going through airport scanners and going near X-ray machines might make some mothers feel uneasy. For obvious reasons, travelling during your first trimester might not be the best idea especially if contaminated food or water in some countries poses a risk. Or the lack of medical attention, plus language barrier might be dangerous for a pregnant woman. Doctors would usually advise travelling after pregnancy has stabilized, namely during the 2nd trimester because it is also during this time when your morning sickness would have subsided and you have more energy (to go shopping!) On a gentle note, although not all body-scanner are dangerous - I would advise informing the airport staff that you prefer a pat-down instead of going through the machine. I know for sure that the staff in Changi Airport will gladly oblige to your request coz that was what I did! :)
And always get your doctor's clearance (and some pregnancy-approved medicine for common ailments such as headaches and tummyache) before you decide to go for your babymoon! 
Myth 6 : Slathering on moisturizer will keep stretch marks away
If only I got a dollar for each time some one told me this ... I'll be freaking rich! Well, unfortunately stretch marks are genetic pre-dispositioned... *insert sad face* However, applying lotions/creams will help relieve itch from a stretched belly. Not gaining too much weight will help too as stretch marks not only occur during pregnancy but whenever skin is stretched during rapid weight gain or weight lost. And dun buy into those that claim to remove stretch marks once they appear. Over time, your skin will shrink and the stretch marks will fade into faint white lines but yes they are not called Battle scars of Motherhood for no reason! 
Thanks for looking everyone and I hope you enjoyed this little article! I did consciously try to keep common Asian myths (No cutting on bed! Dun look at monkeys! No eating crabs during pregnancy else your child "many hand many leg" in mandarin once born! LOL) out of this article because I know some are generally well-meaning advice from our older generation and many people still keep to it out of respect (and maybe out of fear too). All Im saying is that you will know what is best for yourself and your pregnancy so everything should be taken with a pinch of salt to ensure that your enjoy your journey to motherhood as much as possible. :) 
Will be back soon, have a great start of the week everyone.
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