You can't exercise
This is a complete myth. It’s better for you and your baby if you stay active during pregnancy. It’s safe and healthy. So long as your pregnancy has no complications you can do the same exercise that you did before you were pregnant (with a few unusual exceptions). If you were not very active before you became pregnant, start with gentle exercise, such as walking, and build it up. Find out more about exercise in pregnancy.
You can't dye your hair
Thankfully you’re not condemned to nine months of bad hair days. Research (though limited) shows it’s safe to colour your hair in pregnancy. You’d need to use seriously high doses of the chemicals - far more than needed to colour your hair - to cause harm.
You must eat for two
Before you start going down the route of ‘one for me and one for the baby’, you should probably know that this is a myth. You only need to have 200 extra calories (on top of the 2,000 daily recommendation for women), and that’s only in your third trimester.
Take a look at our 200 calorie recipes for your final trimester.
You can't fly
Worried about booking a baby-moon? Fear not. Revel in the freedom of holidaying without youngsters while you can. Check the FAQs on your airline’s website - after week 28, you will need a letter from your midwife to confirm your pregnancy is low risk and you’re in good health. Make sure that your travel insurance covers you in pregnancy and take your medical notes away with you.
You can't have sex
Sex will do you no harm, as long as you’re enjoying a healthy pregnancy. For some lucky women, sex can actually be better than ever because of the increased blood flow in the pelvic area. Others might find the opposite (hormones can lower your libido). An orgasm, or sex itself, can sometimes trigger harmless Braxton Hicks contractions, but they’re nothing to worry about.
If your growing bump is making your favourite position uncomfortable, head over to BabyCentre to see the best sex positions for pregnancy.
You will be glowing and happy all the time
As many as one in 10 expectant mums feel stressed and anxious during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can often be to blame for highs and lows, not to mention coping with pregnancy niggles, the sometimes crippling exhaustion, worrying about giving birth and the responsibilities of parenthood. It can be pretty overwhelming, so if you’re not feeling the glow, you’re not alone - far from it. If your mood, or anxieties, are getting in the way of daily life, don’t hesitate to talk to your midwife.
You will have strange cravings
Contrary to popular opinion, not all mums-to-be crave pickles, or other random foods. Cravings can be triggered by hormonal changes in your body affecting taste and smell. Also sharp dips and peaks in your blood sugar levels can give you cravings for sugary, comfort foods (cake/ice cream/chocolate). If you ever crave inedible things, such as dirt, clay or laundry detergent, get in touch with your midwife. This is known as Pica - and can be a sign of severe anaemia.
You can't eat sushi
If you enjoyed sushi before pregnancy, you can continue to eat it. Make sure it's long as it’s from a source you trust, and any raw fish has been previously frozen. Freezing the sushi kills the parasites - anisakis worms - that can make you poorly. Supermarket sushi is made in a factory and should have been frozen beforehand, while safety regulations require shops and restaurants to freeze any raw fish they use. Sushi made with cooked shellfish, such as cooked crab, prawns, scallops or eel should be safe to eat too. Steer clear of marlin, swordfish and shark.
You can't touch cats
Your furry friend is nothing to fear in pregnancy. Recent studies show contact with cats doesn’t increase the risk of getting toxoplasmosis (an infection that can affect unborn babies). However, you do need to take care with cat litter - as this is where the parasite that causes it can live (in cat poo, to be exact). Avoid cleaning the litter tray yourself. If needs must, wear gloves, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards and clean the tray daily (the parasite become infectious after one to five days). Take care in the garden too because your cat is likely to be using this as a secondary litter tray.
You can't have any coffee
You don’t need to rule out caffeine completely but NICE guidelines recommend that you limit yourself to no more than 200mg a day. Be careful though, this can be as little as a filter coffee and a bar of chocolate. More than 60% of women who checked their intake on our caffeine calculator were over the limit.
- NHS Choices 'Is it safe to use hairdye when I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?' http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/949.aspx?CategoryID=54 (accessed 13 February 2015)
- NHS Start4Life 'Pregnancy Myth #9 'you can't fly to another country' http://www.nhs.uk/start4life/Pages/pregnancy-myth-nine.aspx (accessed 13 February 2015)
- NHS Choices 'Sex in pregnancy' http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/sex-in-pregnancy.a...(accessed 13 February 2015)
- NHS Choices 'Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia' http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Anaemia-iron-deficiency-/Pages/Symptoms.aspx (accessed 13 February 2015)
- NHS Choices 'Is it safe to eat sushi during pregnancy?' http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/is-it-safe-to-eat-sushi-during-pregnancy.aspx (accessed 13 February 2015)
- NHS Choices 'Should pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid some types of fish?' http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/should-pregnant-and-breastfeeding-women-avoi...(accessed 13 February 2015)
ℹLast reviewed on February 1st, 2015. Next review date February 1st, 2018.