Pregnancy Myths Abound, but We Have the Lowdown from a Metro Health OBGYN

Were you shocked by all the contradicting dos and don’ts when you got pregnant? My head was constantly spinning with all the advice I got. A book said one thing, my mom said another, and the Internet had a completely different take.

Could I have coffee? Could I take any meds I wanted for the migraines? What about Jimmy Johns? Would I be separated from my beloved Pepe sandwich for the next 9 months??

We talked to the wise staff at Metro Health about common pregnancy myths. These physicians understand pregnancy better than any book or old wive’s tale.

“As OB/GYNs, we build these incredible relationships with women that last for almost a year,” says Dr. Kelly Hansul, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health OB/GYN.

“I make sure to not only tell my patients what they should or shouldn’t engage in during pregnancy, but I also ask them what they are curious about,” she continues.

This article is brought to you by Metro Health and is a collaboration between GRKIDS and Metro Health.

Driven by our passion to put you first, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is changing the face of health care in West Michigan. Whether you’re seeing your family doctor for a physical or working with a specialist to treat a chronic condition, our integrated health care system is designed to give you easy access to high-quality, personalized care.

You’re so Hungry, but You Can’t Eat Anything You’d Like

So what are most of us curious about? Food. 

We wonder, do I eat this? Do I avoid that? Should I limit this?

“There are foods and drinks that pregnant women should absolutely avoid,” advises Dr. Hansul.

“And then there are things that we caution women about, but can be eaten in moderation.”

As my belly grew with my first pregnancy I felt extremely self-conscious whenever I popped into BIGGBY for a drink. Would someone get angry and tell me that I can’t have caffeine (a big pregnancy myth)? 

Many of my friends were afraid of caffeine during pregnancy, but it turns out that they didn’t need to be. You should simply have caffeine in moderation.  

Here are some foods that Dr. Hansul says to avoid and the ones to enjoy in moderation. Sadly, my precious Jimmy John’s falls under the “avoid” category.

Food to Avoid When Pregnant

  • Deli Meat
  • Unpasteurized milk products
  • Soft cheese
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Alcohol

Foods to Eat in Moderation When Pregnant

  • Caffeine
  • Seafood
  • Artificial sweeteners

Dr. Hansul also gets a lot of comments about “eating for two.”

“Eating for two” is NOT true. A bun in the oven isn’t a license to eat all the buns in sight (bummer!). On average, pregnant women only need an extra 300 calories a day, and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is very important.

Myths (and Surprising Truths!) About Your Growing Baby

Your aunt says every woman she’s ever known who had a son, carried him low in her belly. Grandma says extreme morning sickness means you’re having a girl.  

“There is one gender myth that may have legitimacy.” says Dr. Hansul. “Some studies have linked morning sickness to having a baby girl. It may be because of the hormones female fetuses produce.”

So Grandma was right! However, Auntie is not.

When it comes to the shape of your lovely little bump, doctors say that has nothing to do with the gender. Whether baby sits high or low is simply the luck of the draw.

Have you heard that consistent heartburn means your newborn will come out with a full head of hair?

Dr. Hansul says that might actually be true, too!

“Studies show there is an association between heartburn severity and the amount of newborn hair. Researchers found a pregnancy hormone that typically causes heartburn also regulates hair growth.”

Do’s and Don’ts that Every Pregnancy Woman Should Know

“Everyone comes in with questions, and it’s important we discuss those questions honestly, so mom and baby are as healthy as possible,” advises Dr. Hansul. 

Here are some of the most common things that every pregnant woman should know.


  • Exercise regularly
  • Use only specific OTC drugs for treating colds
  • Limit exposure to paint or harsh cleaners
  • Only color your hair after the first trimester


  • Don’t change the litter box
  • Don’t use a hot tub, jacuzzi or sauna
  • Don’t participate in sports with a high likelihood of falling
  • Don’t take any new medications unless they are prescribed by your doctor

No matter which myths or pregnancy stories you choose to believe, the truth about what to eat and how to live your life is a discussion best left between you and your OB/GYN and not well-meaning family members or friends.

Each woman is different, and while there are definite dos and don’ts during pregnancy, you and your doctor should decide what makes sense for your life and your body,” Dr. Hansul emphasizes.

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