Five pregnancy facts every expectant mother should know

by Rita Watkins

Five pregnancy facts every expectant mother should know

Pregnancy can bring about numerous changes to the body, many of which women may not be familiar with if they're experiencing it for the first time. While there's the obvious baby bump that comes with expecting a child, there are also other side effects that begin in the first trimester and continue up until the due date such as mood swings, unusual food cravings and chronic fatigue. That being said, how can a mom-to-be decipher what is fact from fiction when it comes to pregnancy symptoms?

If you're expecting for the first time, it's in your best interest to speak to your primary care provider and buff up on your knowledge of motherhood prior to the arrival of your baby. There are numerous resources available to you these days in the form of websites and books, all of which can help you learn what's true and false. To get you started, here are some helpful key facts associated with expecting.

1. The shape of your baby bump does not determine the child's gender
While this old wives' tale has been circulating for years, there is little truth behind the rumor that the mom's belly determines the baby's gender. Many people believe that if a woman is "carrying low," she's bound to have a boy. However, there is no definitive proof that a woman's belly shape is indicative of her child's sex. The only way to confirm the gender of an unborn baby is through an ultrasound.

2. You can fly during your pregnancy
This is another fact that is commonly perceived to be fiction. The truth of the matter is that you can travel via plane throughout your pregnancy calendar. Most airlines permit expectant mothers to fly, but some may require documentation from a medical professional if you're attempting to travel close to your due date. Don't write off your vacation just yet - check with your airline of choice and you still may be able to book it while pregnant!

3. You can exercise while expecting
This is another fact that should be recognized, especially if you want to avoid having to work hard to shed baby weight after delivery. Exercise is completely acceptable throughout your pregnancy as long as you know what your body can handle. Speaking to your primary care provider can help you find out which type of physical activities are suitable for you during your nine months.

4. You can eat seafood
We've all heard it before - raw fish can be a threat to fetal development. However, this is another rumor that expectant mothers should avoid in order to ensure they're maintaining a well-rounded, nutritious diet during pregnancy. The fact of the matter is that certain fish pose more of a danger to moms-to-be than others. For instance, mackerel and swordfish are more likely to contain harmful chemicals in their systems. However, other types of fish can be perfectly acceptable and provide you with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Speak to your doctor for more information on which foods are safe to eat during your pregnancy.

5. You shouldn't be eating for two
Time magazine states that while you'll need about 300 extra calories a day in the second trimester to support your baby, this doesn't mean that you need to double your food intake in order to give him or her the necessary nutrients to grow.

Do you know any other key pregnancy facts often associated for fiction? How do you choose to buff up on your knowledge? Leave your feedback in the comments section!