There is science and there are old wives tales. Sometimes, there are even old wives tales masking as science. In fact, a lot of medical practices from the past anchors there weight in folklore instead of science. For instance, most people don't know that leeches used to be used to draw out illnesses? This practice doesn't even date back more than 50 years.
Think of all this "days of yore" advice in terms of pregnancy. We can only imagine the crazy things women in the past were forced to believe and adhere to. Everyone knows that pregnancy is one of the most exciting but vulnerable times in a women's life. It's a scary and amazing experience all at once.
We women often lean on our medical practitioners for guidance and assurance. So, we're putting our trust in these professionals that they know what they're talking about. Also, we lean on other women who've been there done that. It's crazy to think that talking to a girlfriend about her labor and delivery could be considered a no-no. That's exactly what it was, though.
Apparently, we women didn't have the common sense to take any friendly, non-professional advice with a grain of salt. This was according to the gods back then - a.k.a. doctors. In addition to our lack of common sense, our female friends didn't have the character to tell us the accurate version of their experiences.
So, we ladies were forbidden to listen or talk about having babies outside the presence of a doctor. Talk about sexism at its worst!
Take a deep breath and get ready to shake your head through every one of these 15 points. Here is a list of unbelievable pregnancy advice from medical practitioners from the past. Enjoy!
15Mothers Who Look At Pretty Things Make Pretty Babies
Back in the day, it was a common belief that a mother who looks at pretty things will give birth to a pretty baby. She was directed to look at lovely flowers, beautiful paintings, and other pretty people.
This incoming information of beauty into the mother's brain was believed to somehow transpire to her unborn baby. With all the beautiful information being fed to little one, his or her brain would trigger the pretty button. Thus, making the baby a gorgeous specimen as which to behold after he or she was born.
No really, this was a serious piece of advice given by professionals to expecting mothers. Evidently the concept of DNA hadn't yet been conceived. I guess the good thing about this is that women who followed this wacky doc-law got to see a lot of pleasant things for 9 months.
14Don't Travel At All During Pregnancy
In today's world, if you are ill or injured you have a type of handicap. Whether the handicap is permanent or temporary, it undoubtedly slows you down a bit. Others may recognize this and offer help or be gracious enough to behave extra kind towards you.
This was the condition of a pregnant women - handicapped. Pregnancy was seemingly a disability or illness. Women weren't suggested to do much during a certain era simply because of this notion.
Traveling was forbidden under doc-law, as well. It was seen as far too strenuous on both mother and baby, so doctors advised against it. The distance and time meant to be traveled didn't really matter. It was all bad. So, women were meant to sit in helpless boredom with no social life and no trips to the grocery store while they were pregnant.
Oh, and there was no internet back then either. Snore!
13Lifting The Arms Causes Umbilical Cord To Strangle Baby
As well as sitting in extreme immobile boredom, pregnant women were advised by doctors to keep their arms down at their sides. The belief was that if an expecting mother lifted her arms above her head, this would cause a great shift in her womb.
This unsettling movement would in turn cause your baby's umbilical cord to go wild inner-uterine, wrap around his or her neck, and would strangle the baby to death. Who knew you were such a cowgirl and could lasso fetuses by a simple arm stretch.
The truth is that you're not a cowgirl (unless you really are) and no matter if you stand on your head, you couldn't cause the umbilical cord to wrap around anything. Who knows why this doc-law was set into motion. Maybe it was just to prevent women from reaching up really high?
12Sitting In The Sun Will Roast The Baby Inside
Maybe the person who thought up the saying, "Bun in the oven" was also to blame for this goofy folklore. It was widely believed that sitting in the sun while pregnant would literally cook your baby inside you.
Again, maybe this was considered doc-law because too much sun exposure can actually do damage. Folic acid degradation occurs when you hang out in the sun too long. Without enough folic acid abnormalities occur, such as spina bifida. So, you do want to be aware of the time you spend in the rays.
Also, UV rays can be harmful if your skin isn't properly protected. It's always advised to wear sunscreen and not to overheat so much that you experience heat exhaustion.
As far as roasting your unborn child, you're not at risk - bet you're relieved now!
11The Baby Will Slide Out If Mom Goes For A Swim
Let's get one thing very clear - no baby has ever just gracefully and effortlessly slid out of their mother's body. It might be a nice thought for those of you who've either dealt with tough labors or who are nervous about an upcoming delivery.
There is a reason they call it labor. It can be a lot of work giving birth to a baby. Although it can be one of the most amazing experiences in a women's life, it can also be the most challenging.
Back to the wacky doc-law, though. Your baby will not slide out of your body if you go swimming. For starters, the water in which you're swimming can't reach baby because of the protective mucus plug. Also, water is not a great lubricant for anything sliding down in the lady bit area. All in all, this doc-law is seriously busted.
10Going Out In Rainy Weather Will Give Baby A Cold
To this day, many people still blame the weather for their sniffly colds. While the weather does hold power to weaken your immune system, it's not the culprit. Viruses and bacteria are both guilty parties when it comes to making you sick.
Mother's who were subjected to this nonsense failed to understand one thing. The womb is one of the most protected places. It's warm, it's cushion, it's separated, and it's safe. The weather will not cause your unborn baby to catch a cold or any sickness, for that matter.
It is possible for a mother's immune system to be weakened by the weather on an especially blistery day. She may pick up germs that cause the common cold. Although mothers and babies share many things, a cold isn't one of them. Others sickness pose dangers, but the common cold is simply an annoyance.
9It's Okay To Drink Spirits
This is so ridiculous, plain and simple. Much like the thumbs-up for smoking cigarettes, this is another absurd doc-law that holds no truth. Even to this day, a glass of wine is on the approved list of pregnancy activities.
It's important to remember that the alcohol you drink will cross into your baby's bloodstream. Knowing exactly what each amount of alcohol does to the body of each little unborn baby is impossible. Even adults react to alcohol differently, so of course babies will too
Most likely this crazy idea was conjured up to relax pregnant women. While it's true that it does act as a sedative, the effects could literally be fatal to your baby. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a real thing, and alcohol should be a no-no while pregnant.
8Only Gain 20 Pounds
Don't laugh, they were so serious in writing this doc-law. Every women, no matter the size was only supposed to gain 20 pounds. You were a glutton if you went over and had an eating disorder if you were under. Talk about stringent guidelines!
Thankfully, medicine has evolved and learned to recognize the diversity among women and their babies. Just as each woman has her unique size and shape, so does that woman's baby. There are big women and small babies. There are little women and big babies. You can't forget about your multiples either.
Even now, a healthy weight gain for a pregnant women (BMI 18.5-25) is 25-35 pounds. This is nearly 15 pounds over old doc-law!
7Mom-To-Be Should Only Listen To Doctors
Women talk to each other a lot. We tell stories, pass on wisdom, and share experiences. There are recipes to discuss, news to gossip about, and encouragement to be given. There is a lot going on between us women.
Evidently, the gods of the past a.k.a. doctors didn't exactly approve of this back in the day. Women were forbidden to listen to anyone but the doctors when it came to receiving advice on their pregnancy.
It's pretty sad to think that even doctors didn't have the common sense to know experienced women has wisdom to pass along. The saying, "It takes a village" doesn't only ring true to child raring. It also rings true for child-bearing, as well.
6Avoid Reading Medical Advice Books
How cute. Have you noticed how incredibly inept doctors thought women were? Not only were we forbidden to listening to anyone else's advise, but we were also forbidden to read medical advice.
Yes, medical books have a lot of big words in them: uterine, cervix, placenta - whoa, too many syllables for us women and our naive and delicate minds.
Let's pause this post for a moment while we women roar, shall we?
Did they really think that women didn't know this stuff? I mean, we are the ones who go through the pregnancies. We are the ones who push the baby out. We are the one who live with the scars of pregnancy AND take care of baby. Really doc-law, really?
5Certain Vices Keep Constipation At Bay
For all you smokers out there, this is for you. Those precious stink sticks were once considered a handy-dandy laxative. Yes, pregnant women were not only expected to smoke while pregnant, but they were recommended to do so.
We all know that pregnancy can make it a little difficult for things to get moving OUT of our gut. It's an unfortunate side effect of pregnancy. Albeit nothing compared to the unfortunate side effects that smoking will produce.
Some people swear by this method of jump starting a bowel movement, while others think it's just bogus. Bottom line is that smoking, no matter the reason, is harmful to both a mother's body and her unborn child's body. Thanks goodness we know better now!
4 Don't Listen To Birth Stories
Here's more of the same wacky doc-law. So, we can't talk to anyone else about our pregnancy medical details. We are not allowed to read medical books because they'll confuse us. Now, we're forbidden to speak to our own friends about their experiences because our friends are big, fat liars. Seriously?
I would have liked to see one of the old time docs push out a baby, live to tell about it, and spare his guy friends the gory details.
Sorry dudes, but women talk. When I say talk, I mean we TALK. We do not spare the gory details. We tell the nitty-gritty ugly truth when it comes to birth. To be perfectly honest, the more a women knows, the less she is afraid. It's the unknown that brings fear. Even though ever birth is different and unique, our bodies all follow the same general pattern. Knowledge is power - in this case, girl power.
3Lie Flat For Six Days After Birth
Back to the idea of pregnancy being a handicap or illness. It was a custom to tell women to lie flat on their backs for up to six days after giving birth. This time frame was meant for recovery and healing. It was supposed to help stop the bleeding most of all.
It's almost guaranteed that women of the past had about as much time to lay down as we women do today. This is exactly or equal to NONE. Here, they're telling us to lay down for six days after giving birth. Dream on doc, there is laundry to do and dinner to cook. Oh, and who exactly is going to attend to the babies while we women are down for the count?
Nowadays, it's common knowledge that recovery is slowed by immobility. After giving birth, walking and moving are encouraged. Lying down for days and days is not.
2Sewing May Cause Miscarriage
For you seamstresses, pregnancy may have caused a huge disruption in your responsibilities back in the day. Of course, back then we didn't have dainty lightweight Singers on which to sew.
The sewing machines that this doc-law is referencing are the old-fashioned models. They are as heavy as two people and look much like a small desk. The iron sewing machine sits on top of the desk-like surface while the massive pedal is underneath.
To function, a person must rock the pedal back and forth. This action causes the needle to bob up and down to sew. It was the foot action on the heavy pedal that freaked doctors out. Women were advised against this type of sewing because it was claimed to cause miscarriages.
1Don't Attend Exciting Events
Wether it was a loud baseball game, a three-legged race at a church picnic, or a barn raising at the neighbors, it was off limits to expecting mothers. The stimulation from such events was too much for our pregnant bodies to handle.
These exciting events created problems in pregnancies. At least that's what was believed. Once again, pregnancy is seen as crippling rater than a normal function of a woman's life.
Expecting mothers were expected to sit quietly all day long, avoiding too, such activity or stimulation. Don't forget we were suggested to look at beautiful things so our baby's came out equally as beautiful.
Doc-law, we're not sorry you are gone, gone, gone!
Sources: What To Expect, Fit Pregnancy, Babycenter
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