03 July 2007

Scary pregnancy myths

This afternoon Yahoo's featured article proclaimed, "12 myths of pregnancy - Go ahead, mothers-to-be — it's OK to cuddle with the cat, or relax with a bath." Hmmm....sounds like the opportunity for a little investigative reporting.

This list, reported on by Yahoo's own health expert, Simeon Margolis (M.D., Ph.D.) says that these 12 common myths were unearthed by a Dr. Robert H. Shmerling. The list is provided with little or no explanation. For example, #8:
Don't take a bath if you are pregnant.
OK - so any bath will do? Let's not count on the author for extra help, because as he says,
I've never heard of any of these myths; but then, I've never been pregnant.
I scanned through and became annoyed by the housewife references in #2:
If you raise your arms above your head while pregnant (as when hanging up clothes on a clothesline), the baby will get the cord wrapped around its neck.
(you know, since women are always hanging clothes on a clothesline) and #11:
Avoid bumpy car rides — they can trigger labor; or, labor can be triggered by being bumped in the abdomen or by lifting groceries.
(lifting groceries?) and thought - maybe this list was actually created in the 1950s. I mean, the last time I checked, women were doing things other than housework (maybe this makes them worse mothers? Or at least they seem to have the time to run around spreading crazy pregnancy myths!).

So I found the source on a website called InteliHealth. The list was compiled 2 1/2 years ago - well, I thought we were out of the stone age by then, by I guess I was wrong. Then I realized that something was off. In comparison to Yahoo's - #1 myth, the InteliHealth list's top myth was:
You can determine your baby’s gender by the position of sexual intercourse and you can predict it by how you are carrying.
Yahoo, apparently, decided this was too racy to lead off with and tacked it onto the bottom of the list instead.

What have I learned today? To avoid health advice from Yahoo, that's for sure, and go back to my copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves for truly professional medical advice.

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