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Pregnancy fact or fiction
Pregnant women in a class

Pregnancy fact or fiction

By HOPE GARCIA, RN, BSN, MSA, CLC, NEA-BC on March 6, 2019

Being pregnant for the first time is exciting — but you often are bombarded with advice from friends and family. Generally included in that advice are warnings of what you can't do or alarming details about changes to your body.

To help sort through this nine-month process and the months after birth beyond, the Women and Children's division at Spartanburg Medical Center set the record straight.

During pregnancy 

Can I exercise or do yoga while pregnant? 

Pregnant women are encouraged to 30 minutes of moderate activity daily. An exercise routine can help decrease some of the discomforts and fatigue associated with pregnancy.

Can I have sex while pregnant? 

Yes, unless your doctor advises you not to. If you have severe or persistent cramping or bleeding after sex, call your healthcare provider.

Do I need to eat more since I'm eating for two? 

When you're pregnant, you always hear about “eating for two.” During your first trimester, you should eat as normally as possible. Once you are in your second and third trimesters, you can eat an extra 300 to 400 calories per day. If you are having multiple babies, talk to your healthcare provider about how much more you should eat.

Are there everyday things I shouldn't do, such as dying my hair, getting a massage or manicure, flying in a plane or cleaning house?

There are several things pregnant woman should avoid, but the top two are partaking in alcohol and tobacco. They also should not lift anything more than 25 pounds. Limit or avoid exposure to strong smelling paints or chemicals, which you may encounter while cleaning house. We recommend you wait until the second trimester of pregnancy to dye your hair. 

I have a cat; do I have to give it away?

You do not need to give your cat, or any other pets, away. However, pregnant women cannot clean the litter box because of the risk of toxoplasmosis, which are parasites that come from cat feces.

Can my baby hear me while I'm pregnant? 

The baby's ears start forming by nine weeks. Between 18 and 21 weeks, your baby may be able to hear you. It may take several weeks before their hearing is developed enough to decipher sounds from within your body versus outside the womb.

Can I take a bath, or do I have to take showers?

You are safe to bathe either way: in a tub or shower. However, if you are soaking in a bath, make sure the water is not hot enough to raise your body temperature to 102.2 F, because this can cause birth defects in the first trimester.

Will certain foods make me go into labor?

We hear all sorts of rumors: spicy foods or onion rings from certain restaurants will make you go into labor. However, no foods have been proven to start labor.

After pregnancy (postpartum)

Will clumps of my hair fall out after I give birth?

Some women experience hair loss in the postpartum period, but your hair will grow back.

Will my clothing sizes change (shoes, pants, bra) as my body adjusts after birth?

Yes, as your body changes postpartum, you will see your clothing sizes change and adjust.

Will I bleed a lot after giving birth? 

You will have a vaginal discharge caused by your uterus shedding blood and tissue as it shrinks to its pre-birth size. This is different than a period. Bleeding is heavy at first, but you shouldn't use more than one pad per hour, and discharge will decrease over time. Bleeding can last up to six weeks and the color changes from red to brown to white.

Will I be incontinent?

You should not be completely incontinent, but you may leak urine with a cough or sneeze. Follow up with your OB/GYN to discuss treatment options.

Will I gush breast milk when I hear a baby cry? 

Your breasts will leak milk from time to time. As your baby gets used to breastfeeding, the leaking will slow down. Spartanburg Medical Center has experienced lactation specialists that can answer any of these questions.

Hope Garcia, RN, BSN, MSA, CLC, NEA-BC, is the director of women's and children's services for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Having a baby? Be sure to learn more about what to expect by taking one of our maternity classes. If you don't have an obstetrician or gynecologist, find a physician at