As a soon-to-be father who has recently learned that his wife is pregnant, there are likely a million thoughts and concerns running through your mind right now. In addition to thinking of future plans for your coming child, you need to learn as much as you can about your wife's next nine months of pregnancy in order to ensure that your baby is healthy and happy.
Between friends and family members, you'll probably also hear a good amount of advice that may or may not be true. Here are some tips on sorting out fact from fiction.
Pickles and ice cream
While it's true that many women experience food cravings later in their pregnancies, the idea that your wife will be eating pickles and ice cream for three meals a day is something of a myth. Dietary cravings can change unexpectedly and may be completely different from one pregnancy to another, but that doesn't specifically mean that your wife will be eating every weird food combination in the book. She's far more likely to want a type of food that she doesn't normally eat rather than something that almost nobody ever eats.
Scientific research has always pointed to heavy alcohol consumption as harmful to the healthy development of unborn babies, but recent research suggests that moderate drinking may not have adverse affects on fetal growth during pregnancy. Of course, before breaking open a bottle of wine, it may be best for you and your wife to talk with her OB/GYN to make an informed decision.
Similar to alcohol, it was long believed that eating fish or shellfish while pregnant could expose unborn children to health risks due to high mercury levels. While all fish contain mercury, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency report that it's safe for women to eat 12 ounces of seafood that contain low amounts of the substance – like shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon and catfish. However, women should continue to avoid foods like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.