Busting Common Pregnancy Myths With Mr Yinka Akinfenwa
6th April 2018
Mr Yinka Akinfenwa has a long-standing reputation as a sensitive and expert Consultant Obstetrician, supporting women through pregnancy and birth. Mr Akinfenwa forms part of London Wellwoman Clinic at the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth and in his latest blog post looks at five pregnancy myths and if they have any validity.
A myth is a widely held belief or idea that is in fact false when put up to scrutiny. I will attempt to go through five worldly held pregnancy myths to do with pregnancy and childbirth.
All pregnancies Are Highly Risky And Require Lots Of Testing
I think this is a very important one in that the vast majority of women around the world get pregnant and have babies with no complications whatsoever. The widely held narrative which is held and propagated by the common stories in the media is that pregnancies go wrong. However, in truth the whole process is simply altered physiology, which is very natural and designed for the survival of the human race. Yes, it can be affected by factors such as a woman’s underlying health, environmental factors, food and disease conditions however for a normal healthy woman pregnancy is a happy time with natural body changes which are in fact adaptations to cope with the birthing process and I encourage women to do their best to enjoy it.
A Baby’s Heart Rate Will Tell You If It’s A Boy Or Girl.
Unfortunately this is a myth and not true. Very early in pregnancy all babies will have a heart rate that is really fast above 160 beats per minute and that will gradually slow through the course of the pregnancy. A normal fetal heart rate is anywhere between 110 beats per minute and 160 beats per minute and depending when you listen into it, especially following a bout of intense fetal activity the heart rate can be elevated. Therefore there is nothing that says that a fast heart rate is more likely to be a girl than a slower one.
Heart Burn Means That The Baby Is Likely To Have Lots Of Hair.
This is sadly another myth that is also not true. In the course of pregnancy there is a significant amount of the hormone progesterone which generally relaxes smooth muscle all over the body, including muscles that control the lower end of the oesophagus – this is a part of the digestive tract that would be normally pinched off and prevent a reflux of acid. This dysfunction along with the pressure with a growing uterus and baby will cause the acid reflux or heartburn feeling that women get in pregnancy, sadly it’s got nothing to do with the amount of hair that the baby will have. Another side effect of progesterone is constipation which is more likely in the course of pregnancy.
Doctors Want To Intervene, Induce Labour And Carry Out Caesarean Sections To Deliver Baby’s
This is a myth that is so far from the truth. In reality obstetricians would prefer that you had a natural uncomplicated pregnancy and went into labour spontaneously – as they are the best labours to have. In the presence of added complications or factors that might prove highly risk to the wellbeing of mother or baby your doctor may suggest an alternate course of action and give advice with regards to the options that available at every point in the process of childbirth. Doctors and midwives are more than happy with helping you to achieving a labour and delivery that is safe and happy for both you and your baby.
It Is Impossible For You To Get Pregnant Whilst Breast Feeding
Again this is a myth. The process of breastfeeding causes an elevation in the blood levels of a hormone called Prolactin. An elevation in the level of Prolactin does inhibit ovulation however once the levels of Prolactin start to dip, the possibility of ovulating does indeed exist and it is quite possible to conceive a further pregnancy even in the absence of a menstrual period.