20 Things Our Grandmothers Did During Pregnancy That Current Moms Would Never Do

Whenever a mom-to-be discovers that she is pregnant, she knows she has a lot of things to think about and rules to follow. A lot of them are common sense nowadays. since these rules have been around for a long time.

That being said, there are also some rules that pregnant moms may not be aware of nowadays but need to know about in order to maximize her chances of not having any pregnancy-related complications. For instance, unpasteurized foods are off limits because they can contain bacteria that could affect Mom and her baby. Not every new mom-to-be is aware of this rule.

However, if you think back to the time when your mom was pregnant with you, you would have to assume that some of these rules that are set today may have been applicable back then. But, when your grandmothers were pregnant with your mom and dad- you can bet that the rules back then were quite different from the rules that are in place today. Let's take a moment to find out the pregnancy rules that your grandmother had to go by that would not be applicable today right now.

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20 Hit The Bottle To Increase Iron Levels

via usweekly.com

Whenever you are low on iron during pregnancy, that is a concern because you might develop anemia. And, with anemia, many complications can arise. Today, pregnant women are advised to take iron supplements and eat foods that are rich in iron, like lean meats and green leafy vegetables.

However, during the time that your grandmother was pregnant, other recommendations were given to her in order to increase her iron levels. According to Outlander Medicine, pregnant women were given ale to help increase their iron. At that time, the issues with drinking during pregnancy were not known. The effects were not known until 1973.

19 Drank Bubbly To Relieve Morning Sickness

via pinterest.com

Morning sickness is awful and I am thankful that I had nothing more than nausea, considering that I am emetophobic. And, I feel for those who have a rough time with it. Personally, because my nausea did get bad at times during my pregnancy with my daughter, I was constantly sipping ginger ale and munching on saltines. And, for many unfortunate women, that does not help as they have to go on anti-nausea meds.

However, back many decades ago, according to the S Files, one of the remedies that was recommended back then to pregnant women dealing with  morning sickness was to drink champagne! You read that right. Back in those days, the effects that drinking has were not known. And, if that was the common remedy back then, it likely worked.

18 Were Told To Puff To Relieve Stress

Via: Todaysparent.com

Being under too much stress during pregnancy is never a good thing for the mom and the baby. That is why it is important to unwind after a stressful day by watching a movie you like, reading an enjoyable book or listening to calming music. This applies to anyone whether a pregnancy is in the picture or not.

And, back decades ago when your grandmother was pregnant, it was also a known fact that stress was bad. However, the recommendations given by OBGYNs back then was very different. According to TodaysParent, pregnant moms decades ago were told to smoke to help relieve stress. OBGYNs even had ashtrays in their exam rooms, and the same went for delivery rooms in maternity wards.

However, the damaging effects of taking a puff during pregnancy were not known until the late 70's to the early 80's. Therefore, it is not a recommendation that you will hear from OBGYNs anymore.

17 Forbidden To Exercise

via vintagehill.com

Exercise is important, whether you are pregnant or not. And, if you are pregnant, you can take prenatal exercise classes so you know what moves you are doing is safe. Exercise keeps you in shape and is excellent for your circulation. However, that was not always believed to be the case.

According to The BBC News, pregnant women back decades ago were told to not exercise at all because it was damaging to the baby. However, as time went on, it was found that not only is exercising safe to do during pregnancy, but it is highly recommended for your own health and for the health of the baby.

16 Pregnant Women Were Forbidden To Watch Sports

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If you are pregnant and you are a basketball, hockey, football or a baseball fan, you probably would have no concerns about watching your sport and rooting for your home team. And, you shouldn't have to worry at all! However, your grandmother had to follow a rule that you would not be able to fathom.

According to Mental Floss, pregnant women from decades ago were forbidden to watch sports. Why? Because too much excitement while watching the game could affect the baby. However, after many years of research, it has been found to not be true. Therefore, if you are pregnant and reading this, go and watch your favorite sport because there is nothing to worry about!

15  Reading Books Was Forbidden

via weheartit.com

Just like pregnant women back decades ago were told not to watch sports, they were also told not to read, according to Mental Floss. The reason for that was due to the same reason as to why pregnant women were told not to watch sports – it could create excitement. And, that is what reading an emotional or intense story would do. And, too much excitement during pregnancy was too risky for the baby's health- which was believed at the time.

However, after years of research, that was proven to be wrong. It was found that pregnant women could read any type of novel or magazine of their choice without it having any effect on the baby.

14 Not Allowed To Raise Arms Above The Head

keep hands down
Via: CNN.com

If you are pregnant and have to reach up for something, like a hat on a rack before you head outside, you absolutely can do that! However, according to Mental Floss, pregnant women decades ago were told not to raise their arms above their heads. That was because it was believed by doing that, the umbilical cord would wrap itself around the baby's neck.

That meant that pregnant women back then had to rely on others to grab them something that was too high for them to reach for it. And, after plenty of time has elapsed, it has been found that raising your arms above your head during pregnancy is perfectly safe to do.

13 Getting A Haircut Was Forbidden

hair salon in 1950's
Via: Smithsonianmag.com

If you are pregnant and you are ready to go to the hair salon to have your hair tidied up, your grandmother would be horrified. That is because, according to Mental Floss, pregnant women decades ago were advised not to get a haircut. That was more of an Old Wives tale that they believed. If a pregnant woman had her hair cut, then she would be cutting her life force, which would be her baby.

That meant it was believed that getting a haircut back decades ago could have affected the baby. However, even today pregnant women are advised to not jump into getting their hair done at a salon for very different reasons. Those pregnancy hormones could cause you to make bad decisions like getting a haircut that you will hate, and will have to live with for a while.

12 Took Thalidomide For Morning Sickness

Via: Uemo.eu

You have already learned that pregnant women back decades ago were told to sip bubbly to help relieve morning sickness. And, in the late 1950's, they were also prescribed Thalidomide for the same purpose. According to WebMD, the medication was pulled off of shelves in the early 1960's because it has been found to be unsafe.

However, according to the same source, Thalidomide still exists and is prescribed – but not for morning sickness. The medication is there to treat skin lesions caused by leprosy, and also for multiple myelom and that treatment has been around for a long time.

11 Eating Was Forbidden

pregnant women in the 50's
Via: Dissolve.com

Can you believe that there was a time when pregnant women were not allowed to 'eat for two'? Well, even nowadays, it is not recommended to eat that much during pregnancy. In the second trimester, only 300 extra calories need to be consumed, and in the third trimester, an extra 400 calories had to be taken. That is not eating for two.

However, back in the day that your grandmother was pregnant, she was likely told to not eat much! According to TodaysParent, pregnant women decades ago had to watch their figures.

10 Were Given Screwdrivers To Halt Labor

labor in 1950s
Via: Timesofisrael.com

Going into labor prematurely is one thing that every mom-to-be wants to avoid. And, the good news is that many times, premature labor can be stopped with certain medications. However, back decades ago, another method was used to halt labor.

According to The NYTimes, pregnant women who went into early labor were given alcohol and orange juice to stop it. And, according to the same source, occasionally women would get it through an IV if it appeared that labor was not stopping. This was all practiced long before they found the effects of drinking during pregnancy. Not to mention, there was no evidence indicating that the method was useful anyway.

9 Arguing Was Off Limits

via youtube.com

Getting into arguments with your partner, a family member, or a friend is not something that you can avoid. If you are upset, you need to let it out and tell the individual who you are angry with, why.

However, according to Mental Floss, pregnant women were told not to get into arguments with anyone, or to get into family quarrels. That was because of the intense anger and emotions flaring up would affect the baby. However, this was debunked over time. An argument, no matter how intense as long as you are not physically touched, will not have an effect on your baby.

8 Breastfeeding Was Not Recommended

Today, breastfeeding is recommended because the fact of the matter is breast milk is natural and it is best. However, there are many women out there that cannot or don't want to breastfeed, and that is perfectly okay. I was one of those women. However, would you believe that there was a time back in the day when breastfeeding was not recommended?

According to Laleche UK, back in the 1950's and even a bit later and definitely earlier, new moms were told to formula feed. That was because it was believed that breast milk was too thin and that would not have provided enough nutrients for the baby. Things have sure come a long way since then.

7 If Mom Wanted To Breastfeed She Needed A Drink

via blogspot.ca

Nowadays, when you are breastfeeding, you have to continue to eat the same way you did when you were pregnant to the baby is getting only the best from you. However, back in the 1950's, for moms who insisted on breastfeeding even though it was not recommended; other rules had to come into play.

According to Bounty, new moms who insisted on breastfeeding back decades ago were told to have a drink a day. This way, a beer would help bring in as much natural milk as possible. However, once again, as time had elapsed, research done during the past few decades had indicated that drinking while breastfeeding is very risky. 

6 Had To Watch Their Words

via classicalhomemaking.com

Whenever pregnancy and giving birth are spoken about today, there is nothing taboo about it. That is because these are simply natural. Not to mention, you have plenty of material online including this publication which is all about pregnancy.

However, during the time that your grandmother was pregnant, there is a good chance that she was not permitted to tell anyone that she was pregnant. That is because back then, saying the words pregnancy and being pregnant was not proper. According to LaLeche UK, if anyone talked about being pregnant and used the word pregnancy back then,  it was taboo. That is why those words were hardly spoken. And you can see how much things have evolved since then.

5 Stayed In Hospital For One Week

via redbook.com

If you had given birth recently, meaning within the last 20 years or so, if there were no complications present, then you would be sent home from the hospital within 48 hours with the baby. However, that was not always the case.

According to Today’s Parent, when your grandmothers had given birth to your mom and dad, they stayed in the hospital for a week. Back then, babies were not discharged so quickly, and it was also believed that mothers who had given birth were extremely fragile and needed to heal. Therefore, that explains why hospital stays in the maternity ward were for a week, or longer if there were complications.

4 Were Advised To Think Good Thoughts During Labor

via amc.com

Have you ever read or watched The Secret? Well, there is no evidence that backs up the claims that they make: that if you only think positive thoughts, positive things will happen, and vice versa. And the bad thing is that many people believed what was said and were afraid every time they had a negative thought, which is what being human is about.

And, back decades ago when your grandmother was pregnant – she had to have positive thoughts during labor or else, if she didn't, then she would have a difficult one. According to Bounty, women that had difficult labors were told that they were responsible for it since they were not thinking good and happy thoughts. And, really, who thinks positive thoughts when they feel such intense discomfort?

3 Dads Stayed Away From Delivery Rooms

dad to be
Via: Bbc.com

Could you imagine that your husband or boyfriend was not allowed to be by your side when you were in labor and ready to give birth in the delivery room? Additionally, could you imagine that your partner could not even visit you after you had his son or daughter?

Back many decades ago, according to the NPR, men were forbidden in delivery rooms because giving birth was a 'feminine event'. And, while male doctors would just come and go,  they were only allowed to be in these rooms momentarily because of their profession. Dads were stuck in places in the hospital that were called stork clubs with the other new dads. However, dads did support the moms in prenatal classes. 

However, by the 1970's had rolled around, the laws had changed and that is when dad was able to support mom during the labor and delivery in the same room.

2 Pregnant Moms Had To Stay In Bed

via blogspot.com

It was already stated that pregnant moms were not allowed to exercise back decades ago. However, pregnant moms were not only forbidden to exercise, but according to WebMD, moms-to-be were expected to stay in bed as much as possible. Back then pregnant women were seen as frail and fragile.

And yet, today, it is a known fact that is not at all the case unless the mom-to-be is having pregnancy-related complications. In those cases, they would be told to go on bed rest by their OBGYNs. Otherwise, pregnant moms and non-pregnant women can do the same things when it comes to running errands and driving around. As long as there are no complications present, pregnant moms are not at all fragile.

1 Babies Were Brought Home In Wicker Baskets

via pinterest.com

Before you are able to take your baby home from the hospital, the car seat must be safe and secure and installed properly. The hospital staff will assess whether that is the case before you are permitted to take the baby home. However, do you believe it was always mandatory for newborns to be secured in car seats while being transported anywhere?

According to Today's Parent, newborns were taken home in wicker Moses baskets in the back seat of the car back many decades ago. Not to mention, the seat belts were not long enough to strap the basket in. And, sometimes mom would hold the baby in the front seat on the passenger's side while going home from the hospital. Nowadays, that would not be permitted.

Sources: OutlanderMedicine.com, TheSFile.com, TodaysParent.com, BBC.co.uk, MentalFloss.com, Bounty.com, WebMD.com. NYTimes.com, Laleche.org.uk, NPR.org

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