15 Crazy Strict Rules Pregnant Women In China Must Follow

There are so many rules to abide by during pregnant in order to maximize the chances of delivering a healthy baby. From avoiding sushi and deli meat, all the way to skipping soft cheeses, but in China, their rules are quite different from anywhere else. In a country that follows superstitions, there are many rules that pregnant women follow during their 9 months that are quite unique.

It is important to note that there are no rules for pregnant women in China to not do the same things that we are discouraged from doing in the US, Canada, UK or other parts of the world. It is really about them being educated about the consequences if they did do these things while they were pregnant. And, it also boils down to common sense after they are aware. The reason that pregnant women are discouraged from eating certain foods, and engaging in certain activities is that of scientific evidence indicating that doing these things can be dangerous to the fetus.

However, when it comes to following rules due to superstition, then it is up to the pregnant woman.  So let's now find out the 15 rules that pregnant women in China must follow.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 Prep The Nursery After The Baby Is Born

One of the important things to do when it comes to making preparations for the new baby is to have a nursery set up before the birth. In fact, it is a good idea to start preparing for the birth by purchasing furniture in the sixth month of pregnancy. That is because furniture stores can take 12 weeks to manufacture and ship the furniture over.

However, many parents-to-be are actually superstitious when it comes to making plans like that before the baby is born. They fear that it could be bad luck. But the fact of the matter is that if there is no furniture for the baby, then where will be the baby sleep and stay? Considering that life is chaotic after the birth of a newborn, the last thing you want to deal with is furniture delivery after the birth.

According to Science Direct,

pregnant women in China are forbidden from preparing their unborn babies' nurseries because having an empty bed in the house is considered to be bad luck.

So that said, you have to wonder where they will end up placing their newborns while they are waiting for furniture delivery. There are so many things as far as that goes that they do not consider!

14 No Intimacy In The 1st And 3rd Trimesters

Many women during any stage of pregnancy worry if intercourse could create a risk to the baby. It is a known fact that doing it during pregnancy is safe, and even though it is believed that it can cause labor to happen, it's completely safe.

The reason that doing it can cause labor to happen is that the mucus plug is thinning then and as a result, the onset of labor can happen. During the earlier stages of the pregnancy, which includes the most of the third trimester, the mucus plug is firm and protects the womb from everything.

In China, the attitude is quite different. According to Having A Baby In China, pregnant women are believed to be fragile.

Therefore pregnant women must not have intercourse during the first and third trimesters. That is because it is believed that the baby can be damaged. They did not say how the baby could be damaged, and maybe there is no specific issue that they fear. Being intimate during those times in the pregnancy must be avoided since harm, of any nature, could happen to the baby.

Additionally, for women that fall into the high-risk category must avoid intercourse during the entire pregnancy. Hopefully, these women are having healthy pregnancies so they can experience some fun during the second trimester at least.

13 Ice Cream Is Off Limits

When I was pregnant, I was told to not eat too much ice cream because of the high sugar content. However, it was completely fine to enjoy a sundae in moderation and believe me, I did! I remember squaring out weekends to enjoy that double-fudge sundae, with lots of sprinkles, whipped cream and a cherry on top. That was my definition of heaven.

And, you probably ate ice cream in moderation during your pregnancies as well because of the fact that it is high in sugar. Never once did you consider the risk of causing a miscarriage to happen if you enjoyed a sundae or a cone once in a while. According to Science Direct,

Pregnant Chinese women are forbidden to eat ice cream due to the fact that it can cause a miscarriage.

Or, at the very least, if ice cream is eaten during early pregnancy and a miscarriage does not happen- the risk of the baby ending up with convulsions is very high. The same applies to bananas and pineapple. These foods can also increase the chances of a miscarriage if eaten by pregnant women. I can say that this also is not true considering I ate a banana at 3 am every night when I was pregnant with my daughter and nothing happened!

12 Crying During Labor Is Forbidden


I don't know about you but I think if there is an excuse for any woman to cry, it is certainly when she is in labor. I actually don't remember crying because it is extremely rare for me to cry when I am in pain. And the only time I remember crying from pain was when I was 15 and had a terrible ear infection that I ended up developing while I was on a trip to Jamaica. And, I had no choice but to fly home and I thought my eardrum was going to explode. And come to think about it, I still think labor pain is worse than that, but why didn't I cry?

I have no idea but I know it had nothing to do with having to obey a rule about women in labor not being allowed to cry. Because, according to Having A Baby In China, a rule for pregnant moms in labor is for them not to cry! Why?

Because crying means that they are not prudent, and a lack of prudence can be quite harmful to the baby! And, there aren't many options when it comes to pain medication in China.

The Caixin Global reported of a recent case where a woman in labor could not handle the pains and ended up jumping out of the fifth-floor window from the First Hospital of Yulin in Shaanxi province. That is quite tragic, and it is time for China to offer pain medications if these poor women in labor are not allowed to cry!

11 Can't Raise Hands Above Their Shoulders

Even in other countries, many pregnant women fear raising their hands above their shoulders due to the risk of the cord being wrapped around the baby's neck. And, many pregnant women have had this fear for the longest time until studies had revealed that it simply cannot happen.

According to Science Direct, pregnant women in China are not allowed to put their heads above their shoulders because if they did, they would end up having a terrible result.

This can destabilize the vital energy of the fetus which they refer to as dong tai qi. And if this happens, then the woman would end up miscarrying.

So that basically means if a pregnant woman needs to grab her hat from the hook that may be above her head, she will have to have someone do it for her. She cannot risk putting her hands above her head at all costs! And, that also goes back to how pregnant women are viewed in China. They are weak and fragile. Therefore, they really should not be doing anything themselves, and will have to rely on others! So if a plate from a high cabinet or a hat from a high hat hook needs to be retrieved, someone will have to be around to do those tasks for her!

10 Horror Movies Are Forbidden

I have seen many horror films throughout my life and I am quite sure that I watched a few when I was pregnant. What did I do whenever I had to endure sitting through a frightening flick? I looked away, that is all I did.

I recall seeing one in particular when I was pregnant with my daughter and I did look away when I knew some scenes were going to be bad. It was a bad movie anyway, and I don't even remember what the movie was even called since it was so long ago. It was not really worth remembering. But I can tell you right now that nothing ended up happening.

According to Science Direct, in China, pregnant women are forbidden to watch horror films because of the fact that they cause fear and fright.

They would be risking their babies to develop systemic diseases due to the excessive excitement!

So that means if you are living in China and you are expecting, then you are forbidden to watch any flicks that are starring Freddie Kruger, Jason Voorhees, and if you want to watch any of the Insidious flicks- then you will have to wait until after you deliver!

9 Don’t Let Others Rub Your Belly

If a pregnant woman does not want to have others rub her belly, that is only because she doesn't want them invading her personal space which is understandable! The only time it is allowed is if she gives them permission.

And I clearly remember one night I was eating out with some friends when I was pregnant with my daughter. I announced to the friend sitting next to me that I felt her moving around. And what does this friend do? She put her hand on my belly without even asking me for my permission. Now that's nervy.

However, according to Having A Baby In China, there is a rule that no one must rub a pregnant woman's belly too often.

That is because if her belly is rubbed a lot, then there is a risk that the child will become spoiled! It sounds like it is fine to rub the belly occasionally. but not often.

Now, you have to wonder the other thing. What is considered to be spoiled in the Chinese culture? And how do they determine if a child is spoiled? Their definition of being spoiled would likely be quite different from how the western culture views an overly indulged child.

8 All Food Must Be Cut Properly

To go with "China-society-health-childbirth-lifestyle,FEATURE" by Tom Hancock This picture taken on November 28, 2012 shows a mother looking at her baby as she lies on a bed in a maternity ward at Antai Hospital in Beijing. The proportion of Chinese mothers choosing caesareans more than doubled in less than a decade, from around 20 percent in 2001 to above 46 percent in 2008 -- and approaching two-thirds in cities, according to the latest World Health Organization figures for the country. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

Whenever you are pregnant, you want to make sure you are eating the right types of foods that will help maximize your baby's proper development. And, you are going to want to avoid anything that could potentially be harmful. That is why consuming alcohol is a no-no, although it was believed to be beneficial nearly a century ago and prior to that. It is also why expecting moms are told to not consume fish that has been known to have a high mercury content- as that can easily cause problems for the developing fetus.

The list of foods to avoid during pregnancy is endless. However, the one thing that you would not be concerned about is how you cut your food while you are pregnant. According to Having A Baby In China,

pregnant women are told not to eat food that isn't cut properly. That is because if they eat food that wasn't cut right- then that increases the chance of having a misbehaving child.

You have to wonder what that even means though because I did not know whether there was a right or wrong way to cut my food. So does that mean that the terrible-twos and the teenager stages are due to the fact that pregnant women are constantly cutting their food wrong?

7 Attending A Funeral Is A Big No-No

Many pregnant women regardless of where they live don't relish the idea of attending a funeral. They fear it is bad luck to do so, but I have heard that pregnant women don't need to avoid attending funerals. It is visiting the cemetery as it's supposed to be bad luck.

I just know that when my husband's great-aunt passed away when I was pregnant with my daughter, I had no issues with going to the funeral itself. I went to the chapel and had no worries. However, I did not go to the cemetery. Therefore, we left right after the service was over.

According to Science Daily, that rule most certainly applies to pregnant women in China. But the reason that this is off-limits to pregnant women may surprise you. That is because whenever you attend a funeral, you will be grief-stricken.

Grief is bad for the liver and heart. Additionally, any kind of negative emotion, especially grief can be very bad for the nervous system. As a result, the developing fetus can be harmed.

The same rule applies to pregnant women being in graveyards, as well as being around sick people in hospitals. That said, if a pregnant woman experiences grief, then that could be very bad news for the unborn baby!

6 Shrimp Is Off Limits

I do know that eating a variety of types of shellfish is not recommended during pregnancy because of the mercury content. However, shrimp is safe as it is considered to be a low-mercury food according to The Bump.

I have to admit that I was afraid to eat shrimp early on in my pregnancy with my daughter. Luckily, my dietician gave me the all clear by saying it was completely safe, and I was able to enjoy a few shrimp pasta dishes towards the end of that pregnancy.

According to Science Daily, the consumption of shrimp must be avoided by pregnant women in China. And, the reason for that has nothing to do with the concern over mercury levels.

If a pregnant woman eats shrimp, then she is causing her unborn baby to not only become susceptible to allergies but also to eczema and other skin problems!

And, that must be difficult for pregnant women in China- who don't have an aversion to shrimp and other fish of course.

However, if a pregnant woman in China is craving some seafood pho with lots of shrimp in it, how will she be able to handle that? Especially if she is watching her friends enjoy that dish! That is tough.

5 Not Allowed To Use A Hammer

Via: VideoBlocks

I personally leave the hammer duty for my husband. That is because due to the fact that I am so clumsy, I will probably catch my finger if I attempt to hammer a nail into the wall. I would not use a hammer now, and I certainly would not use one during pregnancy.

However, according to Science Direct, pregnant Chinese women are forbidden to hammer nails into a wall.

If they are hammered incorrectly and end up ruining the wall by creating holes, there is a high risk that this could cause fetal malformation.

Well, all I can say about that is I am glad to be living where I do and not in China. Like I said before, I am clumsy with using the hammer. I am pretty much guaranteed to create holes in a wall while I attempt to hammer the nails into it. I'll ruin the walls, and I will ruin my fingers as well.

If I knew about this rule during either of my pregnancies, I probably would have developed a phobia of hammers- and would have even told my husband not to use it until my babies were born! In other words, I would have believed that this rule had truth to it during those times.

4 No Snake Eating

Via: With Husband In Tow

There is one food I have never tried, and that is snake meat. I am not put off by the idea of eating snake meat, I just never really thought about eating it. Though I have heard it tastes like chicken, but it sounds to me that most type of meat that is not normally consumed tastes like chicken.

Now that I think about it, maybe I should give it a try out of curiosity. And if you are curious about tasting snake meat if you have never tried it before, why not give it a shot?

That is, unless you are a pregnant woman in China! In that case, snake meat is off limits. According to Science Daily, pregnant women are forbidden to eat snake meat in China because it is very bad for the baby's skin. Therefore, if a pregnant woman eats snake, then she is going to cause her baby to have a scaly appearance!

I can't say one way or another whether that is true considering I have never eaten snake at all during my lifetime. It's also unclear whether the consumption of snake meat while pregnant could create that kind of risk or not. However, this rule is troublesome for pregnant women in China craving snake meat!

3 Stay Away From Adhesives And Sharp Objects

Everyone knows to be careful when it comes to handling sharp objects. Like, whenever you are taking knives out of the dishwasher, you will be very cautious with how you take them out. If you are not careful, you know you can easily injure yourself. The same goes for handling box cutters safely. And, you also want to be extra careful if you are overdue for your tetanus booster! That could be risky otherwise.

However, according to Having A Baby In China, pregnant women have more of a reason to be concerned about being around sharp objects and adhesives than you do! That is because if they were to touch any, they are increasing the risk of the baby being born with a cleft palate and birthmarks!

Now, this brings me to the next question, and it probably makes you wonder what I am thinking too! How are they supposed to cut their food if they are not allowed to be near sharp objects? And, it also makes me think that since in China, pregnant women are considered to be fragile, other family members must be the ones to prepare their dinners, and hopefully, they are cutting their dinners the right way as well!

2 Never Use Scissors In Bed

Via: nastia_nail_86 Instagram

Sorry for the TMI but whenever I notice that my toenails are needing a cut, I will do that and I will do that in my bed because it is comfortable. And, I don't remember what I did while I was pregnant as far as that went. I likely just ended up with extremely long and sharp toenails because cutting them was not possible at all.

However, some people may be hesitant to cut their nails whenever they are in bed. Because of that possibility that the scissors could be forgotten and left in bed, which could be quite dangerous, potentially anyway. And, if you are a pregnant woman in China, you are forbidden to have scissors in bed!

According to Science Direct, if a pregnant woman in China uses scissors in or on a bed, then that means there is a good chance that her unborn baby will have a cleft palate as well as marks on the face.

It is also believed that using scissors in or on the bed could be responsible for fetal malformation!

For all of the reasons to not use scissors while you are in or sitting on your bed while you are pregnant, that is the last one you would even think of, that is for sure!

1 No Celebrating

We already know that it is forbidden for pregnant women in China to attend funerals, visit cemeteries and visit sick people. That is because of the fact that being in these situations will cause negative emotions and grief which is very bad for the unborn baby. But wouldn't you think that attending a wedding, a birthday party or any kind of celebration would be encouraged since those are events that are very positive (or are supposed to be anyway!)

Well, according to Science Direct, pregnant women in China are also not allowed to attend birthday parties, weddings or any kind of celebration! That is because these events are very happy, and too much joy can damage the heart! Additionally, excitement from these events can cause early labor, and can also have a negative effect on the psychological development of the fetus.

This is shocking to know because you would think that since pregnant women need to be around positivity, this rule is the last one that you would even think exists! So that said, anything that causes emotional extremes whether they are positive or negative are clearly bad for the expecting mom and unborn baby. It really sounds like being pregnant in China is not a fun experience based on all of these rules that must be followed.

References: ScienceDirect.com, The Bump.com, Caixinglobal.com, HavingABabyInChina.com

More in Did You Know...