People have a lot of opinions, and this is especially true when it comes to pregnancy. “Smile and nod,” is perhaps the best advice an expectant mother can hear on just how to deal with all of the, mostly unwelcome, advice they are sure to receive. Whether it’s a friend, family or even a nurse at the routine check-up appointments, everyone has something to say on pregnancy! And as with many things in life, these opinions often change. As research leads to new insights and recommendations, new guidelines are structured and implemented, and thank goodness for that!
Gender-Focus.com shares some official medical pregnancy advice from the 1940s, “Cheerfulness is very beneficial to your health, and there is no better tonic. There is nothing so [bad] at any time as to worry, but particularly during these months…keep in mind the overflowing happiness that a delightful, lively, rosy-cheeked baby will bring to you in a few months…keep your mind busy with pleasant occupations, such as fancy work, preparation of the layette, or light gardening.” This is perhaps some of the best vintage pregnancy advice one might still take into consideration today, because most vintage pregnancy advice is very outdated. There is definitely a lot of pregnancy advice from the past that just does not hold up today.
Throughout the years there has been some straight up whacky pregnancy advice floating around out there. Below are 20 vintage pregnancy recommendations that have been outdated for a long time now!
20 Stay Off Your Feet
Though it is advisable to take it easy during any pregnancy, you certainly don’t have to completely stay off of your feet. “Unless your doctor recommends bed rest or limited activity, there's no harm in moving while you're waiting for your baby to arrive. According to Baby Center, safe exercise during pregnancy can help improve your mood and even help make labor easier,” writes Romper.com. Going for daily walks is a great way to stay active throughout pregnancy. Other ideas include hiking, water aerobics, prenatal yoga and even dance classes. No access to the gym? No worries, YouTube has plenty of at-home prenatal workout videos!
19 You Can Ensure The Gender Of Your Baby With Timing
What to influence the gender of your baby? Back in the day, they thought this was something you could actually have control over! “Whenever intercourse has taken place in from two to six days after the cessation of the menses, girls have been produced; and whenever intercourse has taken place in from nine to twelve days after the cessation of the menses, boys have been produced,” writes HuffPost.com. Though there’s no way to actually influence the gender of your baby, if you want to know the gender, you can find out as early as 16 weeks with an ultrasound.
18 Surrounding Yourself With Beauty Will Promise A Pretty Baby
“In ancient Chinese tradition, the pregnant woman has to immerse herself in picturesque settings, gaze at portraits of adorable children and read good poetry. She is also supposed to avoid eating dark-coloured foods such as soy sauce in order to produce a fair and beautiful child,” writes SmartParents.sg. Though we know today this obviously holds no ground, there’s no reason you still can’t surround yourself with beautiful things! Take lots of care and time in selecting nursery decor. The process is meant to be fun! So stroll through Target and HomeGoods all you like, staring at all that fun stuff is certainly going to do no harm.
17 No Traveling!
“One book from the 1930s advised expectant mothers not to ride in a car unless they absolutely had to, and only on smooth roads. Good luck with that!” states Offbeat.Topix.com. This is obviously very outdated advice! Traveling by car while pregnant has no further risks than traveling in a car in general. Flying gets a little more tricky, with most doctors advising mother’s not to travel by plane near the end of their pregnancy. Of course, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before traveling anywhere, especially if you have any concerns. In fact, many couples choose to go on a baby-moon to celebrate!
16 Having A Puff Is Okay- And It May Even Keep You Regular
Isn’t it crazy to think about the fact that smoking during pregnancy was thought to be safe? In fact, some suggested it even helped with that pesky pregnancy constipation. Of course, we now know that smoking is in fact very dangerous while pregnant. WebMD.com shares that smoking while pregnant can increase the chance of miscarriage, increases risk of low birth weight, increases risk of lung problems, birth defects and SIDS. Even second-hand smoke can be potentially harmful, so it is best practice to avoid contact at all. And if you’re dealing with constipation, try a little Colace to help with that!
15 Avoid The Rain
It used to be said that pregnant women should stay out of the rain and cold to avoid the baby getting sick. We know today that this is not the case, and that baby is nice and cozied up in mom’s belly. However, you might want to avoid the rain and cold just for the sake of being comfortable. If you’re pregnant during a cold season, treat yourself to a some cozy new pyjamas and a cozy blanket. Remember those YouTube exercise videos I mentioned? Moving around is a great way to stay warm without leaving your home! If you do need to venture out in inclement weather, you can rest assured baby is nice and cozy in your belly!
14 You Should Only put on 20
Ha, this makes me laugh! “That old-fashioned tome of pregnancy knowledge "Pregnancy and Childbirth" also suggests women not gain more than 20 pounds during pregnancy and to work hard to control their weight, if for no other reason than personal vanity,” writes Mom.me. While growing another life inside you, your weight and appearance should be the least of your concerns. Your doctor will keep you updated on your weight gain and recommendations throughout your prenatal appointments. But if there’s a time to be easy on yourself, it’s while you’re pregnant. So don’t put too much stress on yourself over your weight!
13 You Should Provide Your Midwife With Snacks
Okay, this is not totally that uncommon even now but I still think it’s a funny notion. “In the Middle Ages, a woman in labor would be surrounded by female friends and family at her own home - which meant she was the hostess, and was expected to serve them "groaning cakes" (referring of course to all the groaning she did while in labor).” Offbeat.Topix.com. Many moms choose to send goodies to their nurses, midwives and post-delivery as a way to say thank you. Though this is certainly a nice gesture, it’s definitely not required that you do so.
12 No Dads In The Delivery Room
Can you imagine giving birth without your partner in the room? My heart breaks for anyone whose partner has to miss that life event for any circumstance. But it’s totally bizarre to think that partners never even used to be allowed in the room. “Today, we have many people in our delivery room, many family members to share the moment and greet this new life the second it’s brought into our world. In the past, however, it was unheard of! Even the father wasn’t allowed to be present in the room, only the mother and medical staff would be there for up to several hours after birth,” shares Moms.com.
11 Don’t Want To Overheat Your Baby? Stay Out Of The Sun!
Yes, you read that right, stay out of the sun! Similar to the stay out of the rain notion, this has long since been proven to be very false. Though your unborn baby is not in danger of overheating, you should still be safe while you spend time in the sun while pregnant. Be sure and wear sunscreen (reapply as needed!), take a break in the shade every now and then and hydrate, hydrate and hydrate!
“Take time out from sunbathing to sit in the shade, head into some air conditioning or cool of in the pool. This will reduce the chances of overheating, overexposure and dehydration, all of which can be associated with pre-term contractions.No shade in sight? Cover that belly bump with some sun protective clothing,” suggests Blog.VitaminDDrops.com.
10 Never lift your arms up
“Even now, some women are advised by their grandmothers and other well-meaning older folk not to raise their arms over their heads, especially in the later months of pregnancy, or risk getting the baby’s umbilical cord wrapped around its neck. This is absolutely untrue, but if it does get you out of having to do things like hang clothes on a line, then by all means,” writes MentalFloss.com. Do those arm circles all you want, Mama. Raise your hands above your head and rejoice! This an outdated myth and should only be referenced to when you want to make a joke about it.
9 Your Looks Can Tell If You Are Having A Boy Or Girl
“If the pregnant women found to be much prettier than she looks before getting pregnant, she may carry a boy. In opposite, if she doesn’t look as beautiful as before, she may get a girl,” writes YourChineseAstrology.com on old wives tales of gender prediction. This is absurd and obviously just an old wives tale. Again, as stated previously, if you want to know the gender of your baby, you can find out at your ultrasound appointment as soon as sixteen weeks. Some people like the element of surprise though, and choose to wait until the birth of the baby to find out what they’re having.
8 A Little Drink Won't Hurt Baby
Another concept that is astonishing to think about, having a cocktail every now and then while pregnant used to be the norm. “"Pregnancy and Birth" also states, “There is no logical reason to prohibit the moderate use of alcohol during pregnancy to the patient who enjoys and tolerates it."The Surgeon General would probably disagree,” writes Mom.me. This is far from the case and should be completely avoided as soon as the pregnancy stick shows you those two pink lines. You can celebrate by making yourself a mocktail or a good old fashioned kiddy cocktail, with extra cherries, of course.
7 Pregnant? Best To Avoid Funerals
Moms.com, “Another superstition, women were expected to stay away from funerals. Many professionals, most from a religious place, would recommend women who are pregnant not to go to funerals. There was a fear that you would draw bad luck to yourself, risk another spirit trying to enter your baby, or even the risk of passing. Of course, it’s all just superstitious ideologies, there is no evidence or proof of this ever happening or being able to happen. In the past, we looked for any reason for the loss of a pregnancy, any excuse for why it happened. Nowadays, we know for sure it has no link to ever possibly harming the baby.” Talk about superstitious!
6 Sports Are Too Exciting For Expectant Mothers
Sports are simply TOO EXCITING for a pregnant person to watch, said one manual from the 1940s. Sorry, you'll have to wait until after the baby's born to cheer on the home team,” writes Offbeat.Topix.com. Not only do we now know that this is simply not the case, but you can even enjoy competing in sports while you are pregnant. Many pregnant mothers choose to participate in sporting events such as races, tennis and swimming competitions. It’s always best to discuss your options with your doctor, but there are lots of options available to pregnant mothers to get a little competition fix in!
5 Don’t Rub Your Belly Too Much
Who doesn’t love rubbing their big pregnant belly!? It’s hard not to place your hand on your belly and dream of the child growing away in there. But did you know that they used to think you should actually avoid rubbing your belly? “Another practice of pregnancy past was to avoid rubbing your belly too much. It was believed that if you rubbed your belly bump, and the unborn baby, then you risked spoiling your baby.
Some people also believed that rubbing your belly, or letting anyone else rub your belly, would open up the unborn baby to evil spirits, calling them to come claim the baby with their own soul instead of the intended one. This is, of course, another superstition! In fact, after the first dozen weeks, it's good to rub your belly! Your new baby can sense touch, it knows you're there, already loving them and wanting to hold them. It helps increase that already forming bond between the two of you, too,” writes Moms.com.
4 No Haircuts Until Baby Is Born
“There is a marvellous old superstition that persists to this day—ask any Russian baboushka or Southern grandma—that cutting your hair during pregnancy is a no-no. Exactly why isn’t entirely clear; some say that it’s because cutting your hair can make it drier or visiting the salon can harm your child somehow. Others, however, who are closer to the original purpose of the myth claim that you’re cutting your life-force. That’s right, Samson and Delilah style,” writes MentalFloss.com. No matter your believes, I can assure you there is no harm in getting your haircut while you are pregnant. So go for the Mom haircut! You will be thankful for shorter hair once your baby comes.
3 Maternity Corsets Were A Thing
“Manufacturers even marketed “maternity corsets,” a bit like the maternity girdles of today (Spanx even makes one). However, according to the University of Virginia’s Claude Moore Health Sciences Library page on body modification, maternal corsets were not designed to support the growing bump: “Instead, the corsets were designed to mask, even minimize, the size of the pregnant body,” writes MentalFloss.com. Rest assured though, Mental-Floss notes that most women stopped wearing them towards the end of their pregnancy and chose to stay out of the public eye instead. Therefore, the corsets never really did damage, but it’s an awful and outdated ideology, for sure.
2 And Maternity Clothes Were Made To Hide The Belly
“Maternity clothes in the past were meant to hide the pregnancy. Being pregnant was supposed to be hushed, regardless if you were married. Very little clothes were made for pregnant women during this time, but what was made was just to help hid your growing baby bump. It's sad, but that was the custom of the time. Thankfully, nowadays, we've grown to love our bumps, embracing them and showing them off. We're creating life! We need to share that joy, show it off, spread that joy!” Moms.com Embrace the belly, indeed! I think this is so sad and am so happy idealizations have evolved the way they have.
1 Don’t Leave Bed For Nine Days Post-Childbirth
“In the United States, where just-delivered mothers and babies are unceremoniously booted from hospital beds just a day or two after giving birth, this seems like a [...] luxury. But it's what the upper-class Victorians believed (and we're kind of into it, honestly),” writes Offbeat.Topix.com. This is definitely an outdated notion, but by all means, if you want to rest in bed for nine days after you give birth, I would say you have earned that right. Most doctors will encourage you to rest and take it easy for several weeks, but you can certainly get out of bed and move around a bit.
Sources: www.gender-focus.com, www.mentalfloss.com, www.moms.com, www.huffpost.com, www.offbeat.topix.com, www.romper.com, www.babycenter.com, www.smartparents.sg, www.webmd.com, www.mom.me, www.blog.vitaminddrops.com, www.yourchineseastrology.com,