There are a whole range of superstitions about pregnancy and birth - all to be taken with a large pinch of salt! From dangling a gold ring over the bump to avoiding dark foods if you want a baby with light skin, there are many old wives' tales out there. Some of them are quite bizarre!
As anyone who’s pregnant will know, there are a whole range of myths, old wives’ tales and superstitions about pregnancy, birth and what your baby will look like – all to be taken with a large pinch of salt! Some of them – such as not having baths that are too hot – are based on scientific evidence. Others, such as avoiding watermelon as it may make your baby’s head big, resulting in a difficult delivery, and squid, as the baby’s umbilical cord could become tangled – are just plain bonkers! Yet, even so, it’s still popular for people to have a good look at your bump to try to work out if it’s high or low and, as a result, if you’re having a boy or a girl, or telling you not to have baby equipment in the house before the birth. From dangling a gold ring over the bump to avoiding dark foods if you want a baby with light skin, there are so many old wives’ tales out there that we had to put them all in one place…
So here are our superstitions! Scroll through them using the arrows above the picture, or click on the image to get to the next slide.
Many people say you shouldn’t buy baby clothes or equipment while pregnant as it could tempt fate for something to happen to the baby. Then again, if your baby is born premature you’ll need those nappies and babygros!
Monday’s child is fair of face, Tuesday’s child is full of grace; Wednesday’s child is full of woe, Thursday’s child has far to go; Friday’s child is loving and giving, Saturday’s child works hard for its living; But the child that is born on the Sabbath day, Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
Myth says that if the baby is a boy, the mother carries it low so the bump is nearer to her pelvis, and if it’s a girl, it’s high, closer to her breasts. This is a myth: the way a woman carries her baby actually depends on her muscles and body type; the looser the abdominal muscles, the lower the bump, especially in a second pregnancy.
Look out if you’re craving a strangely shaped snack. Some believe that if the baby doesn’t get the food you crave, it will be born with a birthmark shaped like the food it was denied.
Apparently, with a first pregnancy, a woman can have morning sickness with either a girl or a boy because the body sees the foetus as a ‘foreign object’. With any other pregnancies, it’s said that this common pregnancy symptom only happens with girls because a girl’s DNA matches your own, as a female, so they clash.
Light-coloured food and drinks (eg milk) will make your baby fair-skinned. If soy sauce is consumed in large quantities, your baby will have darker skin. If a pregnant woman drinks a lot of tea/coffee, the baby will be born with dark skin.
If the baby’s heart rate in the womb is more than 140 beats per minute, it’s a girl. If it’s lower, it’s a boy.
The Chinese say steer clear of cold foods and drinks. This is because they see the womb as being like an incubator, keeping the baby warm and allowing it to grow. Eat and drink only hot foods, or food at room temperature.
Women who eat chilli peppers during pregnancy will give birth to a baby with a large head of hair. It’s also believed that suffering heartburn in pregnancy means the same thing! Then again, it could be the chillies that are giving you heartburn!
There are some bizarre myths out there! Watermelons will make your baby’s head big, resulting in a difficult delivery; squid may mean the baby has the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck; bananas and some types of fish ‘poison’ the foetus!
Keeping a pram in the house before you’ve had the baby is a no-no as it’s supposed to bring bad luck. Of course, if you don’t have anywhere else to store it in advance, you’ll have to throw caution to the wind!
The Chinese believe that to have a boy you should eat carrots, lettuce, mushroom and tofu. If you want a girl, tuck into fish, meat and pickles.
Anything above 98 degrees could harm the baby or raise your blood pressure. But warm baths are good: they reduce swelling in arms and legs; prevent premature contractions and increase amniotic fluid.