Here are our top ten myths in Kosovo about Pregnancy:

1. You're eating for two. MYTH!

Sorry ladies, you only need an extra 300 calories per day so try not to eat too much (especially sugary foods) as otherwise you will gain too much weight and this can increase your risk of gestational diabetes, backaches and high blood pressure (a cause of pre-term birth). On average, women gain about 10-12kg during pregnancy.

2. Caffeine Is a no-no. MYTH!

You don’t have to skip caffeine all together, just try to limit to one cup per day. Limiting your caffeine intake will also help you sleep better.

3. Pregnant woman should not eat fish. MYTH!

Fully cooked, low-mercury fish (like salmon, tilapia, shrimp, tuna (canned light), cod, and catfish) are good to eat when you're pregnant, as they will help with baby's development. There are some restrictions when eating fish: a) do not eat fish that is high in mercury, like swordfish, shark, and king mackerel; and, b) do not eat raw fish as this can carry bacteria that could harm your baby.

4. You have to stop breastfeeding if you get pregnant. MYTH!

There is no medical reason to stop breastfeeding when you are pregnant. The exception is high-risk pregnancies since breastfeeding releases oxytocin, which can cause contractions, but you would also have been told to not have sex and be on bed-rest. Many women continue to breastfeed the older child during pregnancy and after birth. Your nipples may be more sensitive and your milk supply might drop due to hormonal changes.

5. You can’t touch animals, especially cats, when you are pregnant. MYTH!

There is no problem with cuddling your pet,your baby will not be born with thorns in his skin! However, you shouldn’t change your cat’s litter box during pregnancy because its feces might carry toxoplasmosis, which can harm your baby.

6. You shouldn’t have sex/exercise/lift your hands over your head/touch your toes while pregnant. MYTH!

Unless you have a specific medical condition and your doctor warns you against it, you will not hurt your baby, cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby or damage the amniotic sack when doing any of these things.

7. Cocoa butter/lotion prevents stretch marks. MYTH!

Whether you get stretch marks or not mostly has to do with your collagen and how well your skin stretches, something you inherit from your parents. It’s still good to moisturize your belly to help avoid it getting itchy, but don’t go overboard as that might make the itch worse or give you a rash.

8. Pregnant women cannot get their hair colored. MYTH!

Hair dyes are safe since only the skin absorbs a very small amount. Sometimes the ammonia in permanent dyes can trigger nausea so if that happens, switch to semi-permanent dyes.

9. If you get sick, baby will get sick. MYTH!

Few infections cross the placenta, so even if you get sick from a cold or stomach virus that doesn't mean your growing baby will. The most common infections in the first trimester are urinary and respiratory infections and stomach flu. While they typically don’t affect your baby, see your doctor; urinary tract infections can lead to kidney infections, so you need to treat them with antibiotics.

10. It’s not safe to fly when pregnant. MYTH!

Airlines might have restrictions about flying in your last trimester but that is only because they don’t want you to deliver on the plane, not because flying will harm you or your baby. Check with the airline before flying, as you might need a certificate from your doctor clearing you to fly. Some pregnant women, like those with lung or cardiac problems, should never fly without first being cleared by their doctor. Also, the airport security body scanners won’t harm your baby, but if you are worried, ask for a ‘pat-down’ instead.

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