There are so many myths about pregnancy, it can be hard to know what's the truth and what's not. In fact, many moms -even those with multiple babies still believe old wives tales about their growing babies. But let's face it, there's just so much going on during those long nine months that even some doctors don't know every detail of the pregnancy process. In fact, scientists still haven't uncovered the reason the body does many of the things it does while pregnant!
What are babies doing while in the womb? What are some of the many side effects of pregnancy? What physically happens to your body while you carry a baby? And what kinds of things should you avoid while pregnant? These are some of the many topics that we're willing to bet that most moms (and especially men and women who haven't had the pleasure of carrying a baby around in their womb) don't know that much about when it comes to the process of growing a human being from a tiny embryo. That's why we think only 10% of moms and even smaller percentages of those who haven't been pregnant will be able to pass this quiz.
Think you know it all about making a baby? Then prove it!
1How much weight should a healthy woman gain during pregnancy?
We've all heard that a pregnant woman should "eat for two," but actually her daily caloric increase should be nowhere near double. Really, she is only supposed to eat about 450 extra calories per day during the third trimester -although this number will vary for women who were underweight or overweight before pregnancy. Putting on too much weight doesn't just make it hard to shed the baby weight post-pregnancy either, it can actually cause health problems in the child's life later on -children of women who gained excessive weight during pregnancy are four times as likely to become overweight themselves.
2What is the best way to prevent stretch marks?
No woman wants to see those giant red lines spread all over her belly just because she's carrying a little one, but 90% of women get them. Scientists say that if your mother had stretch marks, you'll probably get them yourself. Keeping your skin hydrated can help keep it elastic, which can help reduce the tearing that turns into stretch marks, but it won't prevent you from getting them altogether. So what should you look for when buying stretch mark creams and lotions?
3Which organ helps the baby to grow?
There are nearly 80 organs in the adult human body ranging from the thyroid to the lungs and including some things you don't normally think of as an organ -like your skin, nose and tongue. Babies start to develop almost every organ they will ever have while they are growing in the womb, although some -like the reproductive organs don't fully develop until much later. What is the only organ that a person can grow after they have already been born?
4Which of the following does NOT grow during pregnancy?
Your baby isn't the only thing that grows during pregnancy. In fact, your uterus grows an incredible 500 times its usual size! Sure your belly gets bigger along with the fetus, but you might be surprised to learn which body parts do grow right alongside your baby bump. Not all women will experience all of these changes and they may sometimes be too small to notice even if they do change, but one of these body parts does not grow during any regular pregnancy while the other three often do.
5What color is a baby's first poop?
Though babies urinate while inside the womb, they don't usually poop until after birth. They still have fecal matter building up inside of them and it consists of everything they ingest during their time in the uterus including mucus, amniotic fluid, bile, the soft hair that covers their body during pregnancy and more. The first poop is known as meconium and it is usually all expelled within a few days after birth -although some babies go before birth, which can cause complications during delivery.
6What do babies NOT do in the womb?
Women have always known that babies move around as they grow -those punches and kicks are a big giveaway. But we didn't know many of the things they did inside their mothers until we started using ultrasounds on pregnant woman in the 1950s and we were able to actually see the fetus in the womb. Now babies have actually been spotted sucking their thumbs, playing with their toes, yawning and more. So which of the following activities have babies not been spotted doing?
7What is the hormone called that loosens up the hips for birth?
A woman's body needs to loosen up during pregnancy to make room for the baby both as it grows and when it leaves the womb, that's why the body starts producing a special hormone that helps loosen up ligaments and soften the cartilage at the center of the pelvis. Interestingly, this (and a woman's shift in her center of gravity) is also the reason pregnant women are more prone to breaking bones than the general public. So what is that hormone called?
8Which of the following foods should you avoid during pregnancy?
There is a lot of debate about what foods are safe during pregnancy, with some doctors advising extreme caution and others taking a more relaxed approach. Some claim sushi is okay as long as it was frozen and served at a reputable place, others advise against it. It's worth noting that while many pregnant mothers worry about soft cheese, most cheese in the US is pasteurized and therefore not a risk to pregnant women and those that are unpasteurized must be clearly labeled.
9Which of the following has been scientifically proven to induce labor?
There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to inducing labor and some women will try just about anything to trigger delivery after they've lugged that baby belly around for almost a full nine months. But scientists have researched just about every inducement myth out there and so far they have only found one thing that will actually help kick start delivery by releasing the oxytocin chemical that can get the process going -so which of these is it?
10Which of the following painkillers is acceptable for use throughout pregnancy?
It's very important for pregnant women to check whether or not any given drug is safe for use during pregnancy before taking it as many things safe for adults can harm a growing baby. Most women will need some type of pain relief at least some point during pregnancy whether for headaches related to hormones, aching related to sciatica, foot pain from carrying all that extra weight or any of the other pains of pregnancy. Surprisingly, only one of the four most commonly used over-the-counter pain relievers is actually safe for use throughout pregnancy.
11Which of the following old wives tales actually can help predict your baby's gender?
Before there were ultrasounds, parents had to wait a full nine months to know if they were having a boy or a girl. It's hardly surprising that a number of myths started circulating to help parents guess whether they should be expecting a boy or a girl, but a handful of these actually have some scientific backing -for example, mothers carrying boys do tend to eat more than mothers carrying girls. So what's another actual predictor of a baby's gender?
12How accurate is gender prediction?
At the twenty week ultrasound, excited parents are given the option of finding out the sex of their baby or waiting until birth for the big surprise. A lot of parents ask the technician to keep it a secret so they can save the news for a gender reveal party, but a lot also like to know so they can prepare the nursery. But like most medical matters, the gender prediction isn't `100% accurate, so what is the likelihood the technician properly identifies the baby's gender?
13How many sperm are boys born with?
It's strange to think that sperm and egg meet in a woman's uterus where the baby soon starts to grow its own sex organs. Girls are born with all the eggs they'll ever need (about two million) since women don't produce any new eggs throughout their lives. On the other hand, boys have testicles that produce sperm on demand most of their lives, so they don't need their testicles to kick into full gear until puberty. So how many sperm do they have at birth?
14Which of the following activities is OK for pregnant women?
These days, doctors recognize that many of the restrictions they placed on pregnant women in the past aren't actually dangerous and they have OKed many activities that were once considered off limits. Heck, there was a time when doctors advised women to avoid anything exciting (such as watching sporting events) as it was believed to be bad for the baby. Which of the following activities was once a no-go for pregnant women but now considered a healthy way to relax?
15Which of the following salon services should be avoided while pregnant?
There's nothing like a day at the salon to help you feel relaxed and boost your confidence, but while pregnant women can easily enjoy a haircut, a makeover and a facial, many worry about the pressure applied during a massage (as long as it's a prenatal massage, you're fine, but ask your doctor if you still have any questions) and the chemicals used in hair dyes and nail polish. So which of these services is actually off limits for pregnant women?
16How should you sleep while pregnant?
You probably know that pregnant women should avoid sleeping on their bellies as this puts pressure directly on the baby bump itself. You might even have bought a fancy pregnancy body pillow. But do you know how you should ideally be sleeping if you want to protect your most precious cargo? Of course, if you're one of the many women with absolutely terrible heartburn during pregnancy, you might have no choice but to sleep on your back propped up by a bunch of pillows.
17What percentage of women have C-sections in the US?
The World Health Organization estimates that the number of medically necessary cesarean sections (and thus the ideal number of the procedures in a given country) is around 10-15%. In the US though, the number of cesarean sections performed is drastically higher than that -often because women choose to deliver surgically even though they don't need to, despite the higher number risks involved compared to traditional delivery. What is the total percentage of women who have cesarean sections in the US?
18Which of these is NOT commonly caused by pregnancy?
No one ever thought pregnancy would be easy, but some conditions can make it a lot worse than it would be on its own. For some women, pregnancy doesn't just result in sore backs and swelling feet because they suffer from some of the many common, but painful side effects of pregnancy. Some of these conditions can even leave women stuck in bed for months at a time on bed rest. So which of the following painful conditions is not commonly associated with pregnancy?
19True or false: Women with heartburn are more likely to deliver babies with hair
This one is a bit of an old wives' tale, but some of those stories are actually scientifically accurate -which makes sense given that many of these were based on observation, even if the observers had no idea why what they were seeing was happening. So is there any real science behind the basic idea that women who suffer from severe heartburn during pregnancy are more likely to deliver a baby with a thick, luscious heads of hair at birth?
20How long is the average pregnancy?
There are a lot of stories that first-time pregnancies tend to last over 41 weeks, but that was actually only found in one study with only a few hundred participants. As it turns out, most pregnancies are about the same length, no matter how many births the mother has already gone through. That being said, having any baby after the first is easier in one way -the deliveries in these pregnancies do tend to be a lot shorter -half as long on average.
21What is the medical name for false contractions?
Starting at the 20th week, women may begin to experience what are known as "false" or "practice" contractions that have nothing to do with actually going into labor. These contractions may not actually dilate the cervix and signal the start of the labor process, but it is believed that they may help prepare the body for labor by softening the cervix -plus, they do give new moms an idea of what to expect when they do actually go into labor.
22What is the main component of amniotic fluid?
Your baby and the placenta that keeps it alive floats in amniotic fluid for nearly nine months. While the fluid slightly changes its composition as the pregnancy goes on, it is mostly made up of one thing by week 20 and that continues to be the main ingredient of the fluid all the way up until birth (other components include nutrients, hormones and antibodies to keep the fetus safe from infection). So what is the main component of the fluid your baby spends its early life in?
23What comes in before the actual breast milk?
Lactation consultants often call it "liquid gold," but there's a scientific name for golden, creamy pre-milk that breasts excrete before a woman's breast milk comes in (which is usually 2-3 days after delivery). In fact, many women start lactating this calorie-rich substance long before they actually give birth -and it's not uncommon for women in their 3rd trimester to start lactating this fluid when they hear someone else's baby crying -though fortunately it's usually only a few drops at a time.
24What does placenta mean?
It's not the prettiest thing to look at -especially after you just spent hours trying to push out a beautiful baby and then have to deliver the afterbirth, but placentas are a critical part of the baby-making process. They give fetuses nutrition and oxygen and help filter out their waste products. Fun fact: while some people do eat their placenta -often ground up in pill form though sometimes fried up like a piece of liver, overall humans do not ingest the placenta and we are the only mammals on earth not to do so.
25What are the stages of pregnancy?
While we tend to call the unborn little ones in the womb babies, there are actually specific scientific names for each stage of a pregnancy. The first stage lasts only a few days, when the fertilized eggs travels down into the uterus. The second stage lasts up to ten days as a hollow ball of cells attaches to the uterine walls. The third stage lasts until the eighth week, while the major organs develop inside the future baby. From there on out, the future baby starts growing into a fully grown baby human being.