Throughout your pregnancy, you can expect to hear a lot of unsolicited advice from your family members, friends, colleagues, and even strangers. Some of those pieces of advice may be based on facts, but others are merely myths that you shouldn’t take seriously. There are even myths that have become harmful to women’s pregnancy, which is they should be debunked and destroyed. It helps, though, to identify which myths are based on truth.

Here are talks about pregnancy that you can believe in:

1. Labor is harder for mothers who are expecting a boy

This myth is supported by several studies, such as an Irish research that showed that the average labor for moms having a boy was over 6 hours, while it was shorter than this for those expecting a girl. In the cases involved in the study, delivering a boy required 2% more Caesarian sections and 5% more that involved complications, and thus medical intervention.

Giving birth to a boy is also more painful, according to study conducted by University of Granada (UGR) researchers and San Cecilio Hospital of Granada. This is because baby girls have an antioxidant defense that is better than that of baby boys, which lessens the cell membrane’s oxidative damage. For the moms, this means reduced inflammation as well as less pain during labor and birth.

A 2003 study also showed that women pregnant with boys also eat more calories while pregnant, suggesting that baby bots are already a bit more demanding than the baby girls even before they are born. This sign may help you to know your baby’s gender before any sonographer says it to you by using ultrasound equipment with sonogram gel.

2. If you want a boy, eat more bananas

This might seem like a typical old wives’ tale, but this is actually supported by scientific research. According to a 2008 study published by the Proceedings of the Royal Society journal, the ladies that consumed the most calories gave birth to boys 56% of the time, while those that consumed less calories delivered girls. The researchers also reached the conclusion that consuming specific nutrients also affected the gender of their baby. The ladies who had a potassium-rich diet had boys. If you want a baby girl, you might want to refrain from eating bananas, which are loaded with potassium.

3. Pregnant women should not take hot baths

This is actually true, so while expecting, you should avoid indulging in Jacuzzis, sauna, or any activity that can bring your body temperature to more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit. An obstetrician would support the merits behind this belief. Expecting women can take a bath, but they should be careful not to make it too hot. It is critical not to raise your body temperature to over 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 10 minutes. If you get too hot in the bath and you’re in your first trimester, this can increase your baby’s chances of having birth defects. You can still soak in the tub but monitor the temperature carefully.

Although a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine said that no woman’s core body temperature exceeded 39C despite bathing in hot water or getting in a sauna. However, the researchers themselves pointed out the limitations in their study and suggested that more study was needed to determine women’s safe exposure to heat.

You can take a hot bath, but caution should still be heeded to avoid heat stress risk. As with all other things, moderation is key.

4. Expectant moms who suffer from heartburn have a hairy baby

This is another pregnancy myth that is now backed by a study. Johns Hopkins University researchers conducted a study observing 64 expectant moms, with 28 of them reporting that they suffered from heartburn, ranging from moderate to severe cases. Twenty-three of the 28 women gave birth to babies with average to above-average level of hairiness. On the other hand, 10 of the 12 women who did not experience heartburn delivered babies with less hair than an average newborn.

However, it’s not actually the hair that causes moms to experience heartburn. The researchers argued that the condition was caused by pregnancy hormones, the same ones that caused hair growth among babies in the womb. These hormones cause the muscles that are supposed to contain acid in the stomach to relax. Whenever you get heartburn, don’t blame your baby’s hair. Blame your hormones!

5. Papaya can cause miscarriage

You might have heard advice about refraining from eating unripe papaya during your pregnancy to avoid a miscarriage. This myth turns out to be true, with scientific data backing it up. A study was conducted on how papaya affect animals. It was found out that it contains possible contraceptive and abortifacient capabilities.

A study also showed that papaya seeds have contraceptive effects experienced by male monkeys. This is based on a research conducted by researchers at the University of Rajasthan and published in Asian Journal of Andrology in 2002, wherein a chloroform extract of Carica papaya seeds reduced the male langur monkeys’ sperm concentration.

Eating unripe papaya can be dangerous to babies in the womb because it can trigger strong uterine contractions. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that eating ripe papaya does not have an adverse effect on pregnant women. However, it also showed that eating unripe or semi-ripe papaya, which contains lots of crude papaya latex that produced marked uterine contractions in pregnant rats in the study, could be dangerous for expecting women.

Eating lots of it can cause a miscarriage. If you’re pregnant and you are craving for fruits, you might want to avoid putting unripe papaya in your grocery list. Divert your craving to other fruits.

Carrying a baby in your womb can make you fret even over the smallest things and you might fret even more as you hear pregnancy myths left and right. But being able to distinguish which myths and superstitions to believe in can help you relax a little bit and enjoy your pregnancy more and get ready for your baby’s arrival.

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