Myths and Tales

There are two things every pregnant woman can be fairly sure of - you'll get bigger, and people will tell you lies. And the bigger you get, the bigger the lies they tell. Here are our favorite top ten myths...

Big bumps mean big babies.
Er, no. If you're tall and have good stomach tone, you may barely look pregnant, even though the baby may be big. If you're little, your bump may look huge, but your baby is more likely to take after you and be small. And if the head has engaged, your bump may look smaller.

You will put on major pounds
"Not necessarily - and it's not a problem if you don't," says Ong Guay. "We don't pay weight gain a great deal of attention now. Many pregnant women aren't weighed at all. Putting on loads of weight doesn't mean you're having a big baby, either. A lot of that extra weight will be water and fat."

Everyone gets stretch marks.
Actually, only 50 per cent of women do. It's thought the tendency to get them is inherited, so if your mom didn't, then you probably won't.

You'll "bloom" in the middle months of your pregnancy.
Don't bank on it. Spots, greasy hair and exhaustion can plague some of us right through our pregnancies. So if you do feel marvelous, then think yourself extremely lucky!

You're expecting a boy if your tummy gets hairy.
Well, at least it's not a werewolf. You'll be relieved to know that it's all down to the increase in male hormones during pregnancy. Rest assured that plenty of women who sprout lustrously hairy tummies go on to have girls.

you're carrying high or wide, it's a girl; low or out in front, it's a boy.
The only thing carrying high means is that it's your first pregnancy or you're incredibly fit. The muscles supporting your uterus get slacker with each pregnancy, so your bump may be lower each time. If your bump is out in front, you probably have a short torso, so the baby has nowhere to go but out. Wide bumps usually mean the baby is in a sideways position.

A fast heartbeat means
it's a girl; a slow one and it's a boy
Studies published this year in America have shown that girl babies do have faster heartbeats than boys - but only during labor. In pregnancy, heart rate is no clue whatsoever to the baby's sex.

Each labor gets easier.
There's some truth in this one. Says Ong: "Second and subsequent labors are more likely to be shorter, with less chance of complications. Although, if you had a difficult pregnancy with a second or third child, or need to be induced, it's more likely the labor will be more difficult."

If your
baby's born at night, he'll be awake at night.
If only life were that simple - or predictable. "I put this one right up there with astrology," says Ong. "It's a fun idea, but it's got no basis in reality. The time of day your baby was born has no relation to his sleeping and waking times."

can't have a home birth with a first baby.
You can, but you have to be determined, says Oxfordshire midwife Ong Guay. "I'd have no objections to agreeing to a home birth for a first baby, as long as the woman's pregnancy is uncomplicated," she says. "It's most important that a woman who wants a home birth talks it over with her midwife - particularly if her GP is opposed to it, as some are."