Almost every pregnant woman will hear one or more of the common pregnancy myths or "old wives' tales." Is there any truth to them? Obstetrical Nurse Wanda Steele puts answers to five of the most typical myths.
Wanda F Steele, RN

Your questions
I understand that girl and boy heartrates are different. Is this true and which is faster? - Laura, Oklahoma

Everyone tells me I'm carrying very "high" with this pregnancy, and so it's going to be a boy. Is this accurate? - Catherine, Massachusetts

If I continue to work and lift my arms over my head, will I tangle the baby in his cord? - Mimi, South Carolina

The expert answers
Okay folks, let's get a few of these cleared up right now. Believe me, in twenty years of obstetrics, I have heard them all. So let's put a few of the most rampant ones to rest.

1) My baby's heart rate has always been 140 or higher, that means it's a girl, right?

No, as a matter of fact, it means nothing. A baby's heart rate can range anywhere from 110-180 and still be in the "normal" range. Girl's rates have not proven to be faster than boy's -- or vice versa.

2) If I carry low, that means I am having a boy -- or if I am carrying differently this time, the sex must be different from my last child.

Sorry, wrong again. How you carry depends a lot on your muscle tone, uterine tone and the position of the baby. Whether the baby is high or low has no bearing on its gender.

3) If you attach a needle to a string and hang it above a pregnant woman's belly, it will circle for a girl, and swing back and forth for a boy.

Gimme a break! :)

4) My grandmother told me that I should not lift my arms above my head, that each time I did so, I was wrapping the cord around the baby's neck.

In the course of a 40-week pregnancy, that cord has been everywhere. The amniotic fluid allows the cord to be cushioned and to float around. Raising your arms above your head does not cause the cord to become entangled anymore than any other movement that you make on a daily basis.

5) The less weight I gain, the smaller the baby will be, and the easier it will be to have it.

The baby gets what the baby needs, and if anyone is going to go lacking in nutrition or vitamins, it will be the mother. Do not starve yourself in hopes of having a smaller baby -- you are only hurting yourself.

Good luck,

Wanda :)

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