Superstition is considered an irrational or unfounded belief in something. For generations superstitions, or “old wives tales,” have been thrown at newly expectant women, and there’s a certain expectation to adhere to them.
I suppose there is something mystical and magical about the whole process of making a human being, but some of these superstitions are way out there, yet, no one wants to tempt fate, so we go along with some of these silly superstitions just so we don’t have to hear anyone say..."Thought so!"
Pregnancy is a vulnerable time, filled with much uncertainty. We tend to feel a lot of anxiety until baby finally arrives. Since we don’t have ultrasounds daily, a lot of our pregnancy leaves us, very literally, in the dark. This fear and uncertainty will cause us to believe all sorts of things might harm our baby, and we really can’t blame a woman for just wanting to be extra super sure a pregnancy goes well.
A lot of these superstitions are so ingrained in our culture that we don’t even question them anymore, it’s just something expectant women do to assure the health of their baby.
Sure, many of these are silly, we know they’re not true, and they’re fun to go along with…but what if I said some of these superstitions turned out to be true? Well, guess what, some researchers decided to check on some of the various superstitions flying around out there and have found that some may actually have some merit! Crazy, right?
Read on below to discover ten superstitions about pregnancy and five that are unbelievably true!
15 Not True: Little Girls Steal Their Mom's Beauty
Having a girl? Watch out, she might steal away your beautiful complexion! Having a boy? Lucky you, you get to remain gorgeous and may even be described as glowing! This particular superstition is near laughable! Any mom will look exhausted at one point or another, especially near the end of their pregnancy, who wouldn’t?
By this point, you are so uncomfortable that you are ready to just get the show on the road! If you look less than stellar during your pregnancy, it has absolutely nothing to do with which gender you’re having and everything to do with how exhausting being pregnant can be!
It’s silly to think that because you’re expecting a girl, it will magically suck up all momma’s beauty so that the baby girl can acquire it. Many expectant women suffer with skin issues throughout their pregnancy and hormones are to blame, not the baby. As for that pregnancy glow, I think that might just be something they say when you’re having a good day!
14 Not True: Mom-To-Be Shouldn't Receive Any Gifts
Some cultures believe that gifts should be put on hold until after baby arrives. There's a fear that gifts before delivery can attract evil spirits, bad luck, or even bring on a miscarriage. This superstition is based very deeply in fear, it’s closely linked to the superstition that you shouldn’t even announce your pregnancy until after the third month.
It’s almost this notion of, “don’t speak too soon” or you’ll jinx something good in your life. I always thought jinx was a game you played as a kid when someone said the exact same thing you did at the exact same time, but apparently jinxing something is something far more routed in superstition than some silly kids game.
There's obviously no scientific evidence proving that having a baby shower or buying gifts before the baby is born can cause a miscarriage, but when you just want everything to go well with your pregnancy, I can fully see why some people wouldn’t want to jinx anything while the going’s good!
13 Not True: Moms-To-Be Should Avoid Rope
I had never even heard of this particular myth before reading about it online, but apparently it is quite common in a few cultures. Rope is seen as something very unlucky and it should be kept very far away from pregnant women at all times. The superstition says to also avoid stepping over ropes while pregnant.
Rope, electrical cords, and string all fall into the category of items to stay away from, but they aren’t what is truly feared in this myth, it’s really more about what the rope symbolizes. The reason for avoiding rope is that being near it could result in a “nuchal cord” which occurs when the umbilical cord becomes tangled around the neck of the baby. There is also a myth about raising your arms over your head while pregnant, this can also lead to a nuchal cord, but there is obviously no evidence to prove this can occur by simply being in contact with rope or raising your arms.
12 Not True: Morning Sickness Means It's A Girl
Have you been nauseous every morning since finding out you’re with child? Wondering if your barfing might mean something more? Well as this superstition suggests, if you’re constantly nauseous and ill from your pregnancy, then you can predict the gender of your baby based on that side-effect alone! Interesting, but impossible!
It is believed that terrible morning sickness is associated with carrying a girl, which can’t possibly be true when so many women suffer from morning sickness during pregnancy.
Strangely enough there was research conducted and women who sought treatment for nausea and vomiting during their pregnancies had a slightly higher percentage of delivering girls whereas those who never reported having morning sickness ended up having boys.
This is believed to only be a coincidence, not to be mistaken for solid scientific proof, but you can see how people might actually start to believe this age old superstition could be true.
11 Not True: Certain Foods Can Induce Labor
When you are in the long stretch of your pregnancy and just want to get labor going already, you’re bound to run into this particular superstition, which is among so many others that promise to kick start labor.
People will tell you all about the many things you can ingest to procure labor, but the truth is that there is no evidence that the food and labor are related, it would most likely be coincidence rather than fact.
Most women are quick to try spicy foods, as they have been said to start labor immediately. Although it can’t hurt to try, it also may result in no signs of labor, and perhaps more heartburn than you bargained for.
Sadly, momma has no control over when baby will arrive, baby does what baby wants, and no matter how many different foods and food combinations you try, baby is going to hang out in there until they feel ready to greet the world.
10 Not True: Certain Foods Cause Birthmarks
Much of pregnancy advice centers around food and this superstition is no exception. This very old superstition stems from encouraging expectant women to eat everything in moderation. With cravings taking hold of many moms-to-be, I can agree it might seem a bit like we’re possessed at times, but saying too much of a food can leave a mark? Now that’s silly!
It was believed that what the mother eats could affect the baby’s appearance. The legends say that eating too many of certain foods can cause a birthmark that resembles that food. The most popular food that was warned against over indulgence was the strawberry. Strawberry marks are common, and not necessarily related to how many your mom ate during pregnancy.
Eating these things will not make a mark pop up on your newborn. Other superstitions surrounding this phenomenon state that if a mother craves a food and then touches a part of her body, then the child will have a mark the shape of that food on that body part. This is silly because many expectant women have cravings and their babies aren’t covered in marks.
9 Not True: Moms-To-Be Should Avoid Ugly Animals
This is perhaps the most hilarious superstition on the list, or perhaps of all time. This is also one I had never even heard of before! This old wives tale states that if an expectant woman views an ugly animal, that their unborn child will obtain the features of that animal at birth. Also, if she sees anything ugly at all during her pregnancy, her baby will turn out to be ugly too!
This superstition must have started as a joke, because it doesn’t even try to seem based on any truth at all.
How silly indeed that any mom-to-be would have to listen to such nonsense, and how horrible for anyone who tells her that her baby could potentially be ugly if she happens to cross the path of a strange looking animal. This is where this superstition differs from the others, it just seems more cruel than helpful now doesn’t it?
8 Not True: The Shape Of The Bump Determines The Gender
The bump tells all, or so many superstitions say. From the moment you start showing until the moment you’re ready to pop, people will be analyzing your bump, trying to figure out what you’re having.
This superstition says that if you’re carrying high or have a high bump it means you will be having a baby boy. If you are carrying low or have a low bump it means that you will be having a girl. There is no scientific evidence to back this up, and in most cases that I’ve seen, the opposite has proven to be accurate.
The truth is that your bump will be shaped however your body happens to carry the weight and how your baby decides to hangout in there. Each pregnancy will carry differently and it has absolutely nothing to do with gender. The only thing that determines the shape of your bump is your body.
7 Not True: Moms-To-Be Should Avoid The Moonlight
No, expectant women won’t turn into werewolves during a full moon, although some momma’s might disagree with their hormones being all over the place on a regular basis (raises own hand). This superstition is as peculiar as it is false. In some cultures the moon is believed to be something very dangerous, especially the moon’s light.
Expectant women are to be shielded or hidden from moonlight because it is believed that the light can actually harm the baby. Moonlight has been blamed for cleft lips and birthmarks.
An eclipse is believed to be the most dangerous moon occurrence of all! Apparently you shouldn’t eat, drink or cook during an eclipse, so I guess those pregnancy cravings will have to wait! Women are warned not to venture out, for it could harm the fetus or cause complications during pregnancy, and although there is no evidence proving this to be true, women aren’t going to take that chance now are they?
6 Not True: Expectant Mom At A Funeral Is A Grave Mistake
Some of you may have been warned to stay away from cemeteries and funerals during pregnancy, perhaps even deterred from going while pregnant, why? Well turns out it’s very bad luck or even dangerous for you to attend. Various cultures intersect in this belief, so it’s not just one, this is a widespread superstition that even I encountered during my pregnancy.
I had never even thought about not going to funerals or viewings to show my support and I was a little surprised to find out that it was not only frowned upon, it made others uncomfortable.
If you’re thinking cemeteries and ghosts go together, you’re right when it comes to this superstition. It is believed that the recently departed like to hang out after death, and that’s some negative energy that expectant women creating life just shouldn’t be around. There is a fear that this negative energy will be passed onto the fetus.
5 True: Long Difficult Labor = A Boy
This superstition actually holds some truth. It has been believed for a long time that the longer and more difficult the labor, the higher the chance is that you’re having a boy. This doesn’t mean that having a girl entails an easier pregnancy or even a blissfully quick birth, it just simply means it will be a little less complicated and a slight bit quicker than delivering a boy.
Researchers took on the task of finding out if this old wives tale actually held any truth and after taking a sample of pregnancies, comparing their labor and results, they were able to find a strange correlation, proving this myth to be true! As they looked at their data, it did in fact show that boys were born after longer labor.
This could be true based on the fact that boys are usually larger than girls at their birth weight because they seem to consume more calories during pregnancy.
4 True: Bananas Produce Boys
Perhaps you have heard some old wives tales stating that eating more bananas before conception will produce a boy. Sounds crazy right? Can a food really dictate the gender of your baby? Well turns out this one might hold some truth as well!
A study tested this very myth, surveying women who ate more bananas leading up to their pregnancy. Now it actually turns out that those women ended up having boys, but it might not be precisely to do with the bananas in question, it may in fact relate to the calories alone.
Mothers who consumed more calories before expecting were more likely to produce boys, whereas women who restricted their daily calorie intake were more likely to produce girls. Although the researchers can’t be sure if it’s the bananas or calories alone, it couldn’t hurt to give it a try if you’re curious, so stock up on those bananas and start a research assignment of your own!
3 True: Moms-To-Be Shouldn't Have Hot Baths
I’m sure you’ve all read the warnings before getting into a hot tub or sauna, no expectant ladies allowed! This superstition has been around for ages and even extended to your own bathtub at home. A hot bath meant danger for momma and baby, but how can something so relaxing as a hot bath be bad for you? It might seem silly to ditch the warm enticing waters, but now there’s science to back it up this myth!
The problem with hopping into a Jacuzzi during pregnancy has to do with the heat. Since hot tubs are kept at consistently hot temperatures, it’s far too hot for expectant women to use safely. But why? The heat of the water can increase body temperature and also lower blood pressure that might affect the blood flow to baby. Turns out, there is a very good reason for mom-to-be to stay away from warm water.
2 True: Eat Vegetables For Two
Don’t be shocked if you have people throwing vegetables your way as soon as they find out you're expecting, perhaps even double the veggies because you’re supposed to be eating for two. Eating well during pregnancy is not a superstition, it’s a must! It is healthy to have a variety of foods during pregnancy and baby will of course be reaping the benefits of those foods.
The superstition here comes from believing that if you eat your vegetables during pregnancy, then the baby will eat their veggies even after their born. But how can this be guaranteed?
It appears that whatever you eat during pregnancy will be introduced in the amniotic fluid, so baby is actually acquiring a taste for those veggies before they’re even born! The body is such a fascinating thing! These flavours are also transmitted through the breast milk, so keep eating those veggies even after baby arrives.
1 True: Heartburn Means A Hairy Baby
This very popular superstition about pregnancy is a rather funny one, not so funny for the mom suffering from chronic heartburn, but interesting enough that heartburn can be so telling about what baby might look like before it’s even born! It is said that heartburn during pregnancy means that you will have a baby with lots and lots of hair atop their head.
A study was done showing that women who had moderate to severe heartburn had babies with a reasonable amount of hair, or excessive amounts. And as for the women without heartburn complaints, their babies were less hairy, but not necessarily hairless.
Further study showed that hormones could also be to blame. The same hormones that help hair grow in the womb, can also relax the muscles that keep stomach acid at bay. So it might not be the actual hair that is to blame, but the growth of it.