Recently, a friend and I talked about all the weird things pregnant women are NOT supposed to do. To be honest, we could find some truth behind some of them. Others, however, were completely ridiculous.
If you want to have a laugh with some unbelievable pregnancy superstitions this post is for you. However, if you are pregnant and tend to be superstitious, I advise you to read with caution and keep an open mind. Pregnancy could be stressful enough as it is.
Where do pregnancy superstitions come from?
To most non-superstitious people pregnancy beliefs sound pretty ridiculous, to say the least. But if you really think about it, they all aim to protect the pregnant woman, her well-being and her baby’s health, while adding a bit of make-belief.
Here are some curious old wives tales I was able to find.
14 Unbelievable superstitions and the truths behind them
1. Don’t tell anyone but the father for the first 3 months
The tale: In some Eastern European countries, women believe that they should wait until the end of the first trimester before telling anyone but their partner about the baby. Saying something might jinx the baby and lead to a miscarriage.
The truth: It is true that the first months represent a higher risk of miscarriage even in healthy women. After week 13, however, the chance for miscarriage drops to less than 1%. So many women avoid spreading the news before they feel more secure.
2. Don’t buy anything for the baby before it’s born
The tale: Buying anything for the baby before it’s ready to be born could attract misfortune even miscarriage. It also goes for opening any baby gifts you have received.
The truth: Seriously, does anyone expect that a woman will wait to be 9-months pregnant to start preparing for the baby? Or maybe that your hubby will run from store to store while you’re in the hospital delivering the baby.
While I do support postponing shopping until you have the baby’s sex confirmed, there are many benefits to preparing for a baby in the earlier stages of the pregnancy.
3. Walking under a ladder will be bad luck for the baby
The tale: In West Europe, many religious people associate triangles with the Holy Trinity. Supposedly, a woman walking under a ladder (that forms a triangle) will break the Trinity and so would bring bad luck for the baby.
The truth: A more probable explanation is that ladders could be dangerous. Thus in origin, this pregnancy superstition probably aims to keep women away from ladders, i.e. safe.
4. If you eat a lot of fish the baby will have trouble speaking
The tale: Some say that if you eat a lot of fish during pregnancy your baby will have a hard time learning to speak.
The truth: In reality, fish could actually contain parasites that could harm the fetus. That’s why pregnant women are advised not to eat sushi and other forms of raw fish, and raw meat in general. Still, well-cooked fish is completely safe. Just avoid kinds that contain a lot of mercury like tuna, marlin, shark, swordfish and such.
5. Spirits at the cemetery could summon the baby
The tale: This one is a popular belief in Eastern Europe, the Arab countries, the Philippines, and Israel. Supposedly, if a pregnant woman attends a funeral or even walks through a cemetery, the baby could be summoned by the ghost of his ancestors. Eventually, this is said to lead to bad temper in the child.
The truth: Attending a funeral could mean too much stress for a pregnant woman and should therefore be avoided. Some studies suggest that babies whose mothers endured high amounts of stress while pregnant tend to cry more. I don’t know if it’s true but I did try to avoid any stress with both my pregnancy.
6. Don’t cut your hair if you’re expecting a boy
The tale: This has always made me laugh. Especially, since I know women who actually don’t cut their hair because of it. So here it is. If you’re expecting a boy and you go and cut your hair, you’ll cut your baby’s manliness short as well.
Another variation I’ve heard was that you’ll cut your baby’s luck short. Both sound equally unbelievable to me.
The truth: To be honest, I couldn’t find any logical explanation behind this superstition. And I mean any at all!
7. Keep all doors and windows open for an easy labour
The tale: Some believe that keeping windows and doors open will help keep the cervix open.
In some Slavic countries, women go even further and open all drawers, cabinet doors, wardrobes, boxes, etc.
I actually do have all my windows open right now but it’s more because of the nice and sunny weather outside rather than believing in pregnancy superstitions.
The truth: A well-ventilated space does aids for a healthier environment. And you don’t need to be a doctor to know that in most cases, a healthy woman will have an easier labour.
8. Eggshells on a necklace
The tale: If you keep an empty eggshell around your neck, your baby will be safe as long as the eggshell is intact. At least that’s what they believe in some Russian villages.
The truth: I don’t know know if it will keep your baby safe but it surely warns other people to be more gentle with you and help you out when you could need it.
9. The direction of the baby kicks can predict its sex
The tale: This popular pregnancy superstition suggests that if your baby kicks more to the right, you’re going to have a girl. Similarly, if the kicks are on the left side of your womb, you’re expecting a boy.
The truth: That’s the second old wives tale that has nothing to do with reality. Your doctor is the only one who could tell you about your baby’s sex.
10. Girls steal their mother’s beauty
The tale: It is said, that if you’re expecting a girl it will steal your beauty during the pregnancy. Meaning you can expect to endure acne, eye shadows, dull hair, etc. Alternatively, if you’re expecting a boy, your beauty will thrive during your pregnancy.
The truth: The change in hormones affects everyone in different ways. For some, it could mean obtaining the famous pregnancy glow, while others could feel less attractive than usual. There are, however, no studies that suggest that either case has anything to do with the baby’s sex.
11. If you get scared, don’t touch any part of your body
The tale: If you suddenly get scared and touch any part of your body, this will add a birthmark to the baby. Some even say that the birthmark will resemble the thing that scared you.
The truth: I am not superstitious but I did try to avoid this with both my pregnancies.
My grandmother swears that when she was pregnant with my father a mouse scared her and she touched her waist. My father does have a birthmark there and they both believe it’s because of the mouse. I don’t think I believe this but I still remember it every time something suddenly scares me.
12. Letting your hair down will let your cervix open
The tale: According to this superstition, having your hair down will lead to an easier labour.
The truth: It’s actually the first time I’ve heard of this one.
A supposed explanation is that keeping your hair up in a ponytail keeps your face muscles tense while the cervix is energetically linked to the lips, i.e. your cervix stays tense as well.
13. Pregnant women should eat anything they want
The tale: Cravings are a notorious part of most pregnancies. But did you know that in some countries people believe they are actually consequences if you deny your body the food it desires? For example, in Italy, Greece, and Egypt they believe that the baby will be born with a birthmark. In Ghana, that it will have a crooked neck. In Armenia, that the baby will be greedy.
The truth: I do believe that our body has a way of telling us what it needs. However, don’t forget that too much extra weight won’t benefit either you or the baby.
Furthermore, if you crave something inedible you need to see your doctor as it may be a sign for a psychological problem.
14. Don’t step on ropes and wires
The tale: If you step on a rope, cord, or electrical wire while pregnant, the umbilical cord could tangle around the baby’s neck.
The truth: There is absolutely no scientific proof to support this superstition. So if you live or work around a bunch of wires as I do, don’t worry. Your baby is perfectly safe.
You know any other pregnancy superstitions? Then leave me a comment below!
Wow, I have never heard any of these! How interesting!
Some of these are crazy! Thanks for writing.