20 Things Pregnant Women Did In 1918 (That Would Never Be Allowed In 2018)

There are so many rules that pregnant moms must follow. There are also rules they should ideally be following, such as taking prenatal vitamins that have folic acid staying away from fish that has high mercury levels, and not eating anything uncooked or unpasteurized.

That being said, pregnancy comes with so many rules that moms must abide by in order to maximize their chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby. However, were the pregnancy-related rules always so tight like they are today? Well, the fact of the matter is, these types of rules do change quite frequently. That all depends on the scientific findings that researchers have found over time. For instance, it was believed not all that long ago that coffee was completely off-limits during pregnancy. In fact, when I was pregnant, I was told to stay away from coffee.

Yet, new research has found that pregnant women can have up to two cups of regular coffee a day. That by itself has changed the pregnancy-related rules just in the last 10 years. So if that piece of information had a drastic effect on the rules that pregnant women must abide by nowadays, can you imagine how different the rules were for any mom-to-be back a century ago?  Let's find out what pregnant women did back in 1918 that would not be acceptable today!

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20 Maternity Corsets Were Worn

maternity corset
Via: foxhistoriccostume.wordpress.com

Could you imagine being forced to wear something contracting during your pregnancy? That is a thought you would rather get rid of, right? In today's world, once you are beginning to expand, you are going to have to look for maternity wear or stretchy clothing.

However, back a century ago, maternity wear was quite different. According to What To Expect, pregnant women were expected to wear corsets like their non-pregnant counterparts! If you did not wear a corset even during pregnancy, then that was going against society's standards from back then.

Nowadays, pregnant women are fortunate not to have to abide by such an extreme rule. By the 1920's, the corsets were beginning to become phased out.

19 Drinking Two Pints Of Milk Was The Way To Go

milk bottles
Via: antiqueadvertisingexpert.com

This rule that pregnant women had to follow a century ago really bothers me, and that is because I really do not like milk. I never did, and I found other ways to get my calcium during my pregnancies with the occasional chocolate milk.

However, according to BBC News, pregnant women a century ago were expected to drink two pints of milk each day in order to stay healthy. That said, I am so glad I did not exist back then because I don't know how I would have been able to handle it. But that is one rule that pregnant women had to follow!

18 Giving Birth At Home Was The Only Choice

home birth
Via: redbookmag.com

Plenty of pregnant women nowadays prefer to hire a midwife and give birth at home versus having their bundles delivered at the hospital. The only thing is that most midwives want to make sure that a hospital is close by just in case a complication were to happen during birth.

However, according to the BBC News, a century ago, giving birth at the hospital was not heard of. Women had to give birth at home instead. Back then, hospitals were known for spreading infections and viruses, and this is why it was believed to have been vad for women to have their babies there. Several decades later, however, things started to change and that is when women started giving birth at hospitals.

17 Looking At The Moon Was Not Acceptable

Girl watching the stars. Stars are digital illustration.

Pregnancy superstitions still exist in many parts of the world. Not to mention, many people have their own superstitions, but it may not necessarily involve looking at the moon. And, many people don't think there is an issue with looking at the moon during pregnancy. And that is fine because nothing will happen to the baby if the mom-to-be looked at the moon.

However, according to Road to Avonlea, a century ago, pregnant women were told to not look at the moon because if they did, then their baby would end up becoming a lunatic. That is what it was believed. That said, if there was a full moon, pregnant women did what they could not to look out the window at night!

16 Only Two Hours Of Fresh Air Was Allowed Per Day

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Via: nontoxicliving.tips

Sometimes we all need to get some fresh air, especially after a day that we have been confined. Or, if the day has been stressful, that is when the opportunity to go out and get fresh air is perfect. And, during pregnancy, it is recommended to get some fresh air because it does help keep the circulation going.

However, according to America's Health Ranking, this was a strict rule a century ago. Pregnant women were told to get at least two hours of fresh air a century ago. If they didn't, then they would be affecting their babies. Even though it is advisable to go outside for that reason, the unborn baby will not be affected if the mom-to-be does not go outside very much on a given day. Sometimes the weather will get into the way of that. But back 100 years ago, no one cared! The rule was the rule that pregnant women had to abide by.

15 Morning Sickness Was Treated With A Glass Of Bubbly

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Via: centsablemoms.weebly.com

I was lucky during my pregnancies to not get much morning sickness, and all I had was nausea that was settled by eating saltines and sipping on ginger ale. The traditional way to provide relief for nausea- and that does not work for those unfortunate pregnant women who need to be hospitalized since they can't get relief from anything.

However, according to the S Files, a century ago, pregnant women were advised to take advantage of a morning sickness remedy that you will be surprised to learn about. And, this was long before Thalidomide was even a thought! Pregnant women were told to drink champagne in order to provide morning sickness relief! And, keep in mind that this was long before the time that it was a known fact that alcohol and pregnancy don't mix!

14 Thinking About People That Did Not Look Perfect Was Off Limits

Vintage image of mother with baby

You can't help what kinds of thoughts enter your mind, whether you are pregnant or not. And, even more so during pregnancy because those volatile hormones will cause you to think of some strange stuff! However, a century ago, pregnant women were told to watch their thoughts and be careful with that entered their minds!

According to Essential Baby, pregnant women 100 years ago were told to not think of ugly people. Why? Because the chance of their babies turned out ugly was high. The same applied to pregnant women thinking about sick people. If they did that, then it was believed that they were going to curse their babies! That was a lot of pressure to put on hormonal pregnant women that had a hard time controlling their thoughts!

13 No Exercise Was Allowed


It is a known fact that exercise during pregnancy is not only recommended but it is essential. There are certain types of exercises that pregnant women should not do, and this is why prenatal exercise classes exist. 

However, a century ago, the belief about exercise was quite different. According to BBC News, pregnant women were told not to do any kind of exercising because they were believed to have been fragile. That meant they were banned from riding bikes and they had to rest as much as possible.

There are still areas in some parts of the world where this belief still exists, but not anywhere around the Western world. Exercise is important during pregnancy to help the circulation and so that mom stays fit!

12 Iron Counts Had To Improve With A Drink

Via: peterzwaal.nl

Low iron is a common problem during pregnancy, and I had it too. That is why there are digestible iron supplements that every mom-to-be should be taking if her iron count is on the low side. Anemia is a serious condition, especially during pregnancy, and this has been known for a very long time- meaning even over a century ago!

However, according to Today's Parent, pregnant women were told to drink dark ale 100 years ago in order to keep their iron count high. Remember that this was long before finding out that alcohol and pregnancy should not mix, and this was a rule that was in place at the same time pregnant women were told to drink champagne to stave off morning sickness.

11 Sour Foods Were Forbidden

Via: splendidtable.org

Some of us love sour foods, and there are some people like myself that actually enjoys sucking on a lemon. I think it is delicious, and yes, it is very sour. In fact, lemons are incredibly high in Vitamin C which is a vitamin that anyone needs- pregnant or not to keep their immune system up to par. Not to mention, Vitamin C helps repair damaged tissue.

However, a century ago, people had a much different view on sour foods. According to BBC News, pregnant women were told to stay away from sour foods like under-ripe fruit or pickles. Why? Because if they consumed anything sour- then they would be causing their unborn babies to have a sour disposition. Needless to say, that was found not to be the case. Pregnant women need to get a good dose of Vitamin C and other vitamins, from foods that may actually be sour.

10 And The Same Went For Salty Foods

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Too much salt is not good for anyone because it can definitely drive up that blood pressure. And, pregnant women need to be careful with how much salt they consume for that reason alone. Pregnancy-related hypertension can cause many complications. However, you need to some salt in order to keep your electrolytes in balance. Especially if you are losing fluids due to morning sickness, or you are having a hard time drinking a lot of water.

However, according to BBC News, pregnant women a century ago were told to stay away from salty foods because their babies would end up having a grumpy disposition. What did these women do back then when they were faced with dehydration and needed the salt then?

9 Loud Noises Had To Be Avoided

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If you are pregnant and you wanted to take a nice stroll down the street, and there were construction workers making a racket, would you even think twice about that? You may be annoyed but that is the extent of it.

And, there is no reason to worry because the baby will not be able to hear much of it. Think about when you are swimming, and you go under the water. Will you hear loud noises from above? Not really because it would be all muffled, and the same would apply to your unborn baby.

However, according to Road To Avonlea, if pregnant women a century ago were startled by loud noises, that was very worrisome back then. The reason for that is because it was believed that any loud noise that mom would hear would cause the unborn baby to develop certain issues. As time has elapsed, there was no evidence of that found. Therefore, the loud noise may be annoying to you but it won't do a thing to your baby.

8 No Men Were Allowed When Mom Was In Labor

woman in labor
Via: redbookmag.com

Could you imagine your partner not being in the room with you while you are in labor? Even though at times you may want him to scram during the tough parts of it, you still need his presence because it is overall comforting!

However, back a century ago, according to the History News Network, men were not allowed to be in the same room as women that were in labor a century ago. And, this practice stuck around until the 1960s when men were making it known how upset they were to not be allowed in delivery rooms with their wives giving birth. Fortunately, that changed decades ago and it would be a bad thing for dad not to be in the delivery room with mom during a very important time.

7 Eating For Two Was Not Heard Of

Eating for two can easily be taken quite literally by pregnant women who have an insatiable appetite. And, they are advised not to take that saying so literally. That is because all that is needed during the second and third trimesters is an additional 300 to 400 calories a day- and that is definitely not eating for two. Pregnant women have to be careful not to eat too much and gain too much. That is because they will increase their chances of ending up with pregnancy-related complications like diabetes and preeclampsia.

However, according to Women’s Healthcare Topics, pregnant women were also told not to eat for two a century ago but for a very different reason. Pregnant women had to be like their non-pregnant counterparts. It was all about image back then, not health! All they were allowed to do was drink a glass of milk or cocoa, and to eat a biscuit between meals or at bedtime.

6 Puffing Was Encouraged

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One of the things that pregnant women are told to not do today is puff because it can have harmful effects on the unborn baby, and cause preterm labor. And, the no puffing during pregnancy rule has been in place for decades.

However, according to Today's Parent, the rule regarding that was the opposite a century ago- and even for decades later. Pregnant women were told to puff because if they didn't, they would be under stress, which could increase their blood pressure. Therefore, pregnant women were advised to puff and they were affecting their babies if they didn't! It's amazing how much does change in a decade- let alone in a century!

5 A Stiff Drink Stimulated Appetite

You are probably stunned to have learned that alcohol was given to pregnant women a century ago to help manage morning sickness, and to increase iron counts. And, there was another reason that pregnant women were given brandy as well.

According to Wine Journalist, Rebecca Gibb, 100 years ago, pregnant women were given soda mixed with brandy to help stimulate their appetites. She did not specify the type of soda given, whether it was cola or just soda water. But, brandy was part of the appetite-stimulating remedies for pregnant moms that could not eat.

4 Enduring Unpleasant Labor Was The Only Way To Go

Via: thedailybeast.com

How did you get through labor? Chances are you were fine after you were given the epidural. However, your great-grandmothers were not so fortunate.

According to BBC News, there was absolutely no pain relief for women in labor a century ago. In fact, pain relief for labor was not heard of until the 1930's- and even then whatever relief there was, certainly was not helpful. According to the same source, the only remedies available for labor pain was gas and air that midwives took to the home where mom was going into labor.

When you think about that, you really wonder how women did it back then!

3 C-Sections Weren't Often Successful

vintage baby
Via: who.com.au

Sometimes women have to go through c-sections when it comes to extraordinary birth situations, and that is the way that many lives have been saved. However, back a century ago, that was not the case.

According to the BBC News, c-sections that were performed back 100 years ago were almost never successful. There were no antibiotics to fight infections and the risks were a lot higher back then than they are now. Advanced medical technology is the only reason that survival rates among moms and newborns are a lot lower in the Western part of the world anyway.

2 Mom Was Likely Younger Than She'd Be Today

In today's world, many new moms are becoming older all of the time. The reason for that is because many women want to establish their lives and their careers before creating a family of their own. And even for the women today who don't care to do that, they still end up having their babies older than women did 100 years ago.

According to Public Health Legacy, moms were having their babies when they were, at the very oldest, in their early 20s. Now there is no rule today for how old a first-time mom should be. However, women are encouraged to wait longer to start their families due to finishing up their education, starting their careers, and just living their lives without having to be tied down. It is safe to say that the expectations back then were like night and day from how it is today.

1 Mom Was Allowed To See Her Friends If She Wanted To For A Short Time

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Via: mentalfloss.com

Could you imagine being pregnant and being told that you only can see your friends for a short period of time because you need to rest? Well, a century ago, according to Public Health Legacy, that was the rule for pregnant women. They were seen as fragile as it has been discussed already since they were told not to exercise. That also meant they had to limit the amount of time that they spent with their friends.

When you think about all of the rules that pregnant moms had to follow 100 years ago, the only conclusion you can come up with is that pregnant women must have been quite lonely back then.

Sources: RoadToAvonlea.com, BBCNews.com, EssentialBaby.com, The S File, TodaysParent.com, WhatToExpect.com, PublicHealthLegacy, WebMD.com, HistoryNewsNetwork, Rebecca Gibb, WomensHealthCareTopics, AmericasHealthRankings

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