Healthier Together

Winter 2018 issue
The real word on pregnancy myths

The real word on pregnancy myths


Ask Alta DeRoo, MD, what she enjoys most about her ob-gyn specialty, and she flashes a big smile before sharing her answer.

“People come to me happy because they’re pregnant,” said Dr. DeRoo, who practices at UVA Obstetrics and Gynecology, a department of Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center. “Or I get to tell them the happy news that they’re pregnant.”

Along with the tears of joy come lots and lots of questions, Dr. DeRoo said.

Here, Dr. DeRoo tackles some of the pregnancy myths patients ask about most often.

Do I have to give up caffeine?

No, but you may need to cut back. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women limit caffeine intake to about 200 milligrams per day. Water is always the best beverage, but a small amount of caffeine is safe. “That means you can still enjoy one venti Starbucks dark roast, a 20-ounce soda or about three cups of tea,” Dr. DeRoo explained.

Is just one glass of wine OK?

No, absolutely not. With a subspecialty in addiction medicine, Dr. DeRoo is particularly sensitive to questions about drinking and smoking during pregnancy. The short answer is there’s no safe amount of alcohol or nicotine for the fetus.

Exercise will hurt the baby, right?

“We actually encourage exercise for patients unless there is a medical reason why they shouldn’t,” Dr. DeRoo said. “Stick to the regimen you were on before you were pregnant. Even running is safe.” In fact, exercise during pregnancy will result in less weight gain, reduced risk of gestational diabetes and usually an easier labor.

Dr. DeRoo said she loves that Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical Center was founded to give residents a local hospital in which to give birth.

“We provide outstanding local obstetrical care so patients can receive care in their community and don’t have to travel,” she said. •

Bonus myth: Will a relaxing bath help?

Erin Lawson, a certified physician assistant with Novant Health UVA Health System Lake Manassas OB/ GYN, really can relate to what her patients are feeling.

She’s on her feet all day caring for soon-to-be moms during this happy — and exhausting — time of their lives. And she’s expecting a baby, too.

So this pregnancy myth hits home for her: no hot baths.

“You actually can take a nice, relaxing bath,” Lawson said. “Just keep the water temperature closer to warm. And skip the hot tubs, saunas and whirlpool spas for now.”

Soaks that raise your body temperature above 102 degrees can be dangerous for you and your baby, according the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

With a warm bath, you should be able to get right in — and not have to inch in. If your skin turns red or you begin to sweat, the bath is too hot.