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Facts And Fallacies About Pregnancy

Have your family and friends been telling you about the taboos of pregnancy? How much truth is there in these hearsay?

Below are some of common myths on what pregnant mothers should or should not do.

Myth: Eating crabs may cause the child to be hyperactive

Fact: There is no scientific basis for the association of this food to a child being hyperactive. However, pregnant women are advised to have a healthy balanced diet comprising the various kinds of natural food without chemical ingredients and preservatives. It is recommended to take foods high in folic acid, iron and calcium. Avoid eating raw uncooked food (eg. sushi, oysters) and unpasteurised cheese.

Myth: Painting during pregnancy may cause the baby to have birthmarks

Fact: Birthmarks are usually caused by some form of pigmentation in the baby's skin. It can also be due to an abnormal collection of blood vessels at a particular area. Some of the birthmarks may disappear as the child grows older while others do not.

Myth: Cutting cloth in bed may result in the baby having a cleft lip and / or palate

Fact: Cleft lips and palates are congenital defects. This condition tends to be hereditary and the risk increases with the number of affected immediate family members. However, it may also occur in babies without a family history of this condition.

Certain drugs have thought to cause this defect but findings are not conclusive.

Myth: Eating twin bananas may lead to Siamese twins

Fact: Siamese twins are born with part of their bodies joined together. It happens purely by chance and takes place during the development of a single embryo.

In the majority of twin development, the embryo should separate within two weeks after conception. For Siamese twins, this occurs later and the embryo is not completely separated.

This condition is serious as the mortality rate for babies born with this condition is high. Fortunately, Siamese twins may be detected by ultrasound examination during pregnancy. When detected at the early stage of pregnancy, the couple may decide whether to continue with the pregnancy.

Treatment options vary with each case depending on which portions of the babies' bodies are joined together and whether there are associated deformities. In most cases, surgery is performed.

Myth: Mothers should avoid consuming "cooling food" such as grass jelly, pineapple and green bananas as this may lead to miscarriages

Fact: There is no conclusive evidence to associate specific foods with miscarriages. Miscarriages usually occur during the first three months of pregnancy. About half of these cases are due to abnormally formed fetuses with abnormal chromosomal makeup. Other causes include infection and medical conditions such as diabetes.

Pregnant women are advised to have a healthy and well-balanced diet, consuming food from the four food groups (rice and alternatives, fruits, vegetables, and meat and alternatives). Additional intake of specific nutrients during pregnancy such as folic acid, Vitamin C, calcium and iron are also important to meet the mother's and baby's needs.

Myth: Sewing and patching holes during pregnancy may cause the baby to be born with an imperforated (closed) anus

Fact: Imperforated anus is a congenital malformation. It is a condition present at birth and is not inherited. It may be associated with other deformity such as urinary or chromosomal anomaly.

This condition occurs in every one in 5,000 births. Surgery is done to correct this condition.

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