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Various superstitions about pregnancy and babies have been circulating across the world. But while they’re just some old wives’ tale, we can understand that inducing fear through superstitions could be a way for mothers to be more careful while pregnant. After all, precious life is growing and dependent on the mother.
Pregnancy superstitions vary depending on the culture and country, so let’s try to find out more about interesting beliefs from different countries and backgrounds.
Pregnancy Superstitions About Conceiving, Labor, and Baby’s Gender and Features
Superstitions about pregnancy range from conception up to the actual birth. The ideas differ in different countries but share some similarities. Here are a few of the superstitions on pregnancy.
According to a myth, girls steal their mother’s beauty. On the other hand, if an expectant mother has a baby boy, she will be more attractive.
Positions in Conceiving
Centuries-old folklore suggests that a missionary position gives a higher chance of having a boy. However, this superstition is yet to be proven by scientific research.
The Ring Test
According to an old wives’ tale, one way to determine the gender of the baby is to perform a test with a wedding ring or pin tied to a string or strand of hair. The expectant mother lies on her back, and someone dangles the thread over her tummy. If it swings in circles, she’s having a baby girl, and if it moves side to side, it will be a baby boy.
Shape and Location of the Baby Bump
Some determine the gender of the baby is by examining the bump. If the mother’s belly is pointed, it will be a boy, and if the bump is round, it will be a girl. Some people also believe that if a pregnant woman is carrying low, she’ll have a baby boy, but if she’s carrying high, it would be a baby girl.
Severe Heartburn Will Result in a Baby with Lots of Hair
It is believed that having severe heartburn during pregnancy means that a baby will be born with lots of hair. A small university study supports this belief, wherein 23 out of 28 who experienced moderate to severe heartburn had hairy babies, and 10 out of 12 who didn’t experience heartburn had babies with little hair.
Foods and Birthmarks
An old wives’ tale says that when the expectant mother eats a certain food too much, it will leave a similarly shaped birthmark on the baby. It is also believed that when the mother craves food and then touches a certain part of her body, the baby will be born with a birthmark on that body part.
Wrapped Umbilical Cord on the Baby’s Neck
While it is normal for the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby’s leg or neck during the first and second trimesters, there’s this superstitious belief that this will happen if the expectant mother raises both of her arms in the air. Another superstition suggests mothers not to step on any cord or rope during pregnancy or even put on a necklace for the same reason.
Umbilical Cord After Birth
It is thought that if the umbilical cord is kept inside a cupboard or chest, the child will end up staying or living close to home. Another superstition says that a child will have a certain characteristic depending on where the cord is buried. If it is buried in a school garden, the child will grow up to be educated. If it’s buried in a mosque’s garden, the child will be religious and devoted to their religion.
Bad Luck Pregnancy Superstitions
Some superstitions also revolve around bad omens and evil spirits. These beliefs likely originated from the culture and religious beliefs in some countries. Here are some of them:
Avoid Going to Funerals or Cemeteries
In some cultures, pregnant women are highly discouraged from attending funerals or anything about death because of the fear that doing so will harm the mother and the baby. It is also believed that spirits will come after them. If they must attend, the mother has to tie a red scarf or ribbon around her tummy.
There is a belief by some Eastern European and Mediterranean Jews which says that it would be dangerous for the pregnant woman to be at a close distance from death, and lingering souls might still be around the cemeteries. Some Chinese expectant mothers also avoid attending funerals because of negative feelings.
Keeping the Pregnancy a Secret for the First Months
In Bulgaria, pregnant women keep their pregnancy a secret from everyone else except their partners to keep bad spirits away. Some women also believe that announcing their pregnancy on an earlier date could lead to a miscarriage.
Similarly, in some cultures, buying, receiving, and opening gifts before birth is believed to attract bad spirits and misfortune. Some Jewish women don’t celebrate baby showers, as it is considered a bad omen.
Touching the Pregnant Woman’s Belly is Prohibited
In Liberia, women believe that evil spirits might come to steal their baby away if someone touches the baby bump. That’s why they make sure that only family members and close friends touch the belly during pregnancy.
There is also a superstitious belief in China similar to this. An old wives’ tale says that excessive rubbing of the mother to her baby bump will result in the baby being spoiled in the future.
Pregnancy Superstitions That are Related to Eclipses
Pregnant women in India believe that the most dangerous time for unborn babies is during an eclipse. Listed below are some of the rules they have to follow to be safe from bad omens.
Don’t Go Outside During an Eclipse
It is thought that being exposed to an eclipse will cause facial deformities or birthmarks to the baby once it is born. Although there’s no proven reason why expectant mothers shouldn’t be outside during this event, there’s a phenomenon called “eclipse blindness” that can cause permanent damage to the retina.
Avoid Using Knife or Any Sharp Object
According to Indian astrology, using a knife or similar tools for chopping and cutting fruits and vegetables could cause the baby to have a cleft palate once born.
Wearing Metals and Red Underwear
Some discourage wearing pins, jewelry, and other similar accessories to avoid facial birth defects. However, a Mexican superstition says that putting safety pins, together with wearing red underwear, will protect the baby from having a cleft palate.
Some pregnancy superstitions can be weird, while some are interesting. But we’d like to think that those are made with good intentions. Thanks to these beliefs, expectant mothers are being extra careful during pregnancy. Whatever superstitions there are to believe in, what matters the most is that both the mother and the baby will be safe and healthy.