By Joanna Bounds
With pregnancy comes questions that can be hard to find answers to. Do you know
which vitamin and mineral supplements are essential during pregnancy and which are
a waste of money? And do you know where you're guaranteed to put on weight in the
last four months, besides your tummy? Check out these pregnancy truths
Do I need a vitamin and mineral supplement?
Even though many women think they need a multivitamin supplement during
pregnancy, a balanced diet should supply you with everything you need. I'm a veggie
and I went through both of my pregnancies with perfect iron, says childbirth
educator Victoria Marshall-Cerins. You can do it without a supplement, by keeping
hydrated and eating lots of fruit and veg and fibre. She adds that supplements
containing iron can also have an unpleasant side-effect: Constipation is a natural
effect of pregnancy, but supplements that contain iron can add to that, and will
often lead to haemorroids. It's one of the disadvantages of taking a
Should I take folic acid?
On the other hand, a folic acid supplement is recommended for every woman to
take before they fall pregnant. Taking a specific folic acid supplement before you
fall pregnant is very important. It's been shown to reduce neural tube defects by
50-70 per cent, says Dr Robyn Napier, spokesperson for the AMA, adding that the
recommended daily dose is 0.5mg.
Is it just my boobs and bump that will grow during pregnancy?
No, as it's highly likely you'll add a few extra kilos to your bum and hips
during pregnancy, too. However, unlike pear shapes pre-pregnancy, the fat is there
for a very different reason - as an extra energy source during breastfeeding. The
fat is stored and used from different sites during breastfeeding, says Carol
Fallows, author of Having a Baby (Doubleday). But don't be too disheartened about
the weight gain, as nature invented breastfeeding as a far better way to lose
weight than the lemon detox diet.
Are scans and ultrasounds compulsory?
Many women have three different ultrasounds during their pregnancy the
first to pinpoint the day of conception, the next at around 12 weeks, looking for
chromosomal disorders, and a final one at18-20 weeks to pick up physical
abnormalities. Contrary to what you might think, they're not compulsory, with
childbirth expert Lael Stone, explaining they can sometimes bring up complex
decisions surrounding termination. "There are so many variables and they are
not always accurate," she says. It's a really personal choice. It's how it
fits with you it's your baby, your body and you have choices.
Can nipple stimulation start labour?
Eating a curry, having sex, nipple stimulation they are all ways that are
supposed to kick-off labour. Dr Napier says it's a fallacy, however, that nipple
stimulation can trigger childbirth. There's no real evidence. If you're ready to
go, it might just trigger it. But you'd have to be right on it for that to happen.
Although many women might say otherwise, there's also no scientific evidence that
either eating a curry or having sex will kick-start labour either.
Do alternative therapies really work?
Out of all of the different alternative therapies, it is acupuncture that has
the most studies and research supporting its effectiveness. A recent US study found
that women undergoing IVF increase their chance of falling pregnant by around 65
per cent. It is also often used to turn a breech baby and can help keep mum calm,
too. Acupuncture is great for stress and anxiety and to help build up the energy in
your belly before the birth, confirms Lael, adding that raspberry leaf tea can help
strengthen your uterus before birth, although you need to drink it from at least 30
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Last revised: Saturday, 13 October 2012
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.