Pregnancy is a very special time. Everyone around a mother tries to protect her from all dangers. This is why people are ready to use and believe anything, even the craziest superstitions. Many of them are completely fake, but some can be based on logical grounds.
We have learned about the most popular superstitions and are ready to tell you where they came from and if you should believe them.
1. Mothers shouldn’t eat fish because the baby might not speak for a long time.
Almost all kinds of fish, especially river fish, can contain parasites that are dangerous for people. The consequences may be a lot more serious than slow speech development in a child. However, if the fish was cooked at a high temperature or it was frozen, then you can eat it without worrying about this. The only exceptions are the kinds of fish that contain a lot of mercury like tuna, shark, marlin, swordfish, king mackerel, pike, and some others. Eating such fish when you are pregnant can be dangerous for both you and your child.
2. You can’t walk under a ladder — the baby will be weak.
This superstition has spread throughout Western Europe. A ladder that is leaned on a wall makes a triangle which is the symbol of The Holy Trinity. It was believed that a woman going through the triangle would break the trinity and would have baby troubles. A more logical reason to stay away from ladders is to keep a woman safe in case it falls down. In the Middle Ages, this was probably a more common superstition.
3. If you open all the windows in the house, the labor won’t be difficult.
And not only the windows — in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, people open everything they can: doors, wardrobes, cabinets, boxes, drawers, etc. It is believed that these actions will help the cervix open which of course, has nothing to do with anything. However, opening all windows and cabinets is necessary for other reasons: while the mother and the child are in the maternity home, the relatives should clean the house and ventilate all the rooms.
4. If you eat white foods, the baby will be born with a lighter complexion.
In China, India, and some other countries where white skin is believed to be the benchmark of beauty, they think that if you eat light-colored foods, the child’s skin will be lighter. By the way, this superstition also works in reverse: if you eat dark food, drink a lot of coffee and tea, the child will be darker. This is totally not true. The skin color depends only on the combination of genes. The superstition is most likely based on the fact that colorful fruit and vegetables often cause allergic reactions.
5. You can’t walk in the cemetery — this will lead to unhappiness.
Many Arab countries as well as Israel, Eastern Europe, and the Philippines follow this superstition. It is believed that the child can be summoned by the spirits of their ancestors, or that the child will have a bad temper and will cry a lot. The basis for this illogical superstition can be from some religious limitations or to guard a pregnant woman from stress. But if there is no stress and no physical labor, why not walk around Pére Lachaise Cemetary for a bit?
6. Eggshells on the neck
In some Russian villages, pregnant women used to wear an empty egg on their necks. They believed that as long as the egg was safe, their child would be safe too. This way, future mothers were kept safe since the egg was a symbol of their pregnancy.
7. You should eat spicy foods so the baby will have no hair.
People in Thailand and some other countries in Southeast Asia believe this. Some people believe that eating spicy food is bad for a future child’s vision. It’s really true that spicy foods are not the best choice for a pregnant woman to eat, but for other reasons.
First of all, spicy foods stimulate hunger and thus contribute to weight gain. Secondly, some spices have medicinal properties. For example, garlic is very beneficial during pregnancy but if eaten in big amounts, it can cause uterine contractions and urinary tract irritation. Finally, spicy foods make you thirsty which leads to swelling.
8. You won’t give birth until you let your hair down.
Many people — even some doctors and obstetricians — believe this superstition and let future mothers’ hair down. They believe it helps the cervix to open. Yogis have a different explanation: the cervix is energetically connected to the mouth and lips. If the hair is in a ponytail, the face is tense and you should be completely relaxed for the cervix to open.
There is another explanation for this superstition. If a woman needs to go to an intensive care unit during labor, the hair shouldn’t get in the way of laying face-up. However, recently, future mothers have started to wear special hats and doctors don’t care what’s under them.
9. You should eat anything you want!
In the past, people believed that pregnant women should eat anything they want — whatever her body wants is exactly what it needs. This superstition is still believed by many people from different countries. In Ghana, they think that if a mother doesn’t eat what she wants, her baby will have a crooked neck. In Italy, Turkey, Greece, and Egypt people are scared the baby will have a birthmark on their body, and in Armenia, they think the baby will grow up to be greedy.
Modern medicine recommends a more adequate approach to nutrition: nobody needs extra pounds! But when a person wants to eat something inedible, it is a sign of a psychological disorder, and it can be really dangerous. So future mothers should rely on their doctors’ opinions.
10. You can predict the sex of the baby by the way it kicks.
This is a really popular superstition you may have heard of. In many countries, people believe that it’s possible to predict the sex of the baby by the way it kicks inside the womb. If the kick is on the left side, the baby will be a boy, and if the kick is on the right side, you’re going to have a girl.
Unfortunately, this is only a superstition that has nothing to do with reality. The only reliable way to determine the sex of your future baby is to visit your doctor.