Pregnancy Myths Exposed

Do genes determine everything? Can you really eat for two? Find out the truth behind the tales and what you can do to have a healthy baby.

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There's no shortage of advice and information about pregnancy - some of it may be good, but much of it is a bunch of hooey that gets passed down from generation to generation. Knowing a few important facts can help you have a happier and healthier pregnancy. Here's the real deal.

Myth #1: You CAN'T Control Genes

What we know While some features such as eye color and receding hairlines are immutable results of your DNA, experts are discovering that other traits, like waist size or intelligence, are not. A new field of science called epigenetics is finding that what happens in the womb can influence which genes are turned on and off.

As DNA, the blueprint of your body, is rolled out during development, it gets copied. And while that copying occurs, the things you are experiencing - what you eat, the toxins you are exposed to - can stop that copy machine from working properly. This basic principal of epigenetics means that, while we can't control what genes we pass on to our children, we may be able to control which genes get turned on or turned off.

What you can do Staying fit and healthy during pregnancy may dramatically influence how your child's genes function throughout life. Unfortunately, because 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, many women lose the opportunity to set a healthy stage for those early weeks of embryonic and fetal development. Even if you don't have plans to get pregnant, you can take simple steps now to improve your health so that, if and when you do conceive, you give your future child the best start possible.