pineapple

By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Janice TUNG Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

At this stage of your pregnancy in week 13, you will have definitely received plenty of advice on what you should and shouldn’t eat. But which are facts and which are just old wives’ tales? Here are some of the most widely held, but untrue beliefs about pregnancy and food.

Myth 1: You Should Be Eating for Two

eating right for two

It’s common to hear that since there are now two of you, it’s cause to eat more and whatever you like.

Fact: Doing this will result in you gaining unnecessary weight that will be harder to lose later and which may also jeopardise both your and your baby’s health. Instead, focus on the quality of your diet. Reduce fat, salt and sugar but increase your intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products. So lay off the prata and curry for breakfast and reach for some oats with fresh fruits instead.

Related: Weight a Minute: Pregnancy Weight Gain

Myth 2: Eating Certain Light-Coloured Foods Will Result in a Fair Baby

eating light coloured foods for fair baby

You may have heard that eating more bird’s nest, tofu and soya bean products while avoiding dark-coloured food or beverages will result in a fair baby.

Fact: Skin colour is genetic and no food can change this. By avoiding certain food or food groups, you may not get necessary nutrients for your pregnancy. As for bird’s nest, there’s no clinical evidence to support that eating it will lighten skin pigmentation.

Related: Pregnancy and Diet

Myth 3: Some Foods Can Cause a Miscarriage

foods that can cause a miscarriage

There’s a belief that eating fruits like papaya and pineapple as well as those traditionally classified as "cooling" foods like grass jelly and green bananas may lead to miscarriages.

Fact: There are no documented cases of miscarriage from eating these fruits and food. Miscarriages normally occur due to infections or certain medical conditions. Eating healthy and well-balanced meals with food from all four groups — protein, fibre, carbohydrates, and healthy fat — will keep you and your baby healthy. If you’re still worried about certain foods like pineapples, replace them with another type like honeydew so that you still get adequate vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Related: Myths About Pregnancy

Myth 4: Eating Herbs and Tonics Will Make Baby More Intelligent

herbs and tonics for a more intelligent baby

There are herbal teas and tonics that are marketed for pregnant women.

Fact: There is no medical and scientific evidence that supports this.

Related: Nutrition During Pregnancy - Eating Right for Two

Myth 5: Full-Cream Milk is More Nutritious

nutrition of full cream milk

Some people may advise you to have full-cream milk as it’s better than its low-fat/skimmed counterparts.

Fact: Low-fat and skim milk products have the same valuable nutrients that full-cream milk has, with less saturated fat making them the healthy and low-calorie choice for expectant and breastfeeding mothers.

Related: An Eating Guide for Breastfeeding Mothers

superfoods for superhero baby

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References

  1. Tan, T., Tan, K., Tan, H., & Tee, J. C. (2008). The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth.. New Jersey: World Scientific.

  2. Health Promotion Board. (2013). Healthy Start for your Pregnancy.. Singapore: Health Promotion Board.