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Third Trimester Pregnancy Myths

Debunking the Myths, Misconceptions, and Misinformation About Third Trimester Pregnancy:

  • You shouldn't wear your seat belt if it's uncomfortable.  Totally untrue:  wear it for your protection and your baby's.  Air bags, on the other hand, may be extremely dangerous, so sit in the back seat in a car that has passenger side airbags.  This issue has not been well addressed for pregnant women drivers with driver-side airbags.

  • You can't have sex. This is not true for most healthy pregnant women.

  • You can tell the sex of the baby by how you are carrying the fetus or by how your abdomen protrudes. The only ways to tell the sex of your baby before delivery are with ultrasound or amniocentesis.

  • Once a cesarean section, always a cesarean section. Many women who have had cesarean sections with previous deliveries are able to have vaginal deliveries (VBAC) with subsequent pregnancies.  Discuss this with your clinician if you have had a previous cesarean birth.

  • Natural birth is always better. No extra "points" are given in the mother of the year contest for who suffered the most in labor.  Asking for pain medication or an epidural does not mean that you're weak in character; it does mean you are experiencing one of the most painful conditions!  The goal of pregnancy and delivery is a healthy mother and a healthy baby; in the long run, it doesn't matter what it took to get that desired outcome.

  • You're a bad mother if you decide not to breast feed. While breast feeding is generally optimal for newborns for many documented reasons, it is not always.  For numerous physical, social, cultural, psychological, or emotional reasons, there are mothers who either cannot nurse or who choose not to nurse.

  • If your mother or sister had thus-and-such, you will too- or, if it happened in your first pregnancy, it will happen that way again. While there are some factors which are hereditary or which repeat from pregnancy to pregnancy, in general, pregnancy, labor and delivery are like the stock market:  past performance is no predictor of future performance.

  • You can't exercise. Simply untrue.  Exercise routines may need to be altered, but they are as beneficial as always.

  • The sooner I get this baby out the better! While the discomforts of pregnancy are tiresome and bothersome by the end, pregnancy is the length it is because that is how long a fetus needs for optimal development.  For most healthy mothers, each day a preterm fetus (i.e. less than 38 weeks gestation) stays inside its mother is one day closer to a healthy newborn.  Do not give in to temptation and undertake any ill-advised practices to induce labor early!

Click here for more information on pregnancy.

Created: 10/16/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

 Many women who have had cesarean sections with previous deliveries are able to have vaginal deliveries (VBAC) with subsequent pregnancies. 

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