Old Wives Tales On Pregnancy


Being pregnant does attract a lot of free advice from family, friends and even strangers. You need to do this or you must not do that or free tips are offered. It can be very confusing and difficult to determine what to believe or not. You do not want to spend 9 months worrying about all sorts of things. You should be enjoying your pregnancy.

Hopefully this will help you. Also remember each pregnancy is different and you should discuss any concerns you may have with your health care provider.

Gender Myths

One of the common myths is that if you carry high it is a boy and if you carry low it is a girl. That is just guessing as the gender is determined by the x and y chromosomes. Ultrasound is the best way to determine the sex.

Another gender myth is that the worse the morning sickness, the more likely it is to be a girl. The cause of morning sickness is unknown but thought to be related to hormonal changes. This makes it impossible to use as a predictor of your baby’s gender. It does not always only occur in the morning but can occur all day.

Predicting whether it is a boy or girl based on your cravings (salty foods = a boy, sweet foods = a girl) is just weird. I never had any cravings during either of my pregnancies! What if you crave a mixture of salty and sweet foods?

Can you use the baby’s heart rate to predict if it is a boy or girl? No studies have been able to confirm any relationship between an unborn baby’s heart rate and gender. Your baby’s heart rate is  also going to be different at each prenatal visit depending on how far into your pregnancy you are and baby’s activity at the time.

These 2 actually contradict each other: if you have a full or round rosy face or acne it will be a girl. I did not have a round face or acne and still had a girl.

How about the string or ring test? Suspending a string with a ring in it (apparently a pure gold ring is best) over your pregnant belly will tell you if it is going to be a girl or boy depending on how it swings (left to right indicates a boy, in a circle indicates a girl). This will be influenced by the person holding the string as the string cannot swing without momentum.

According to “Chinese calender” if you have intercourse on a particular day, you can choose the gender of your baby. The only thing that determines the gender of your baby is the presence of the x and y chromosomes at fertilization. If the sperm only has an x chromosome, then the fertilized egg will be xx (female) or if the sperm has a y chromosome, the fertilized egg will be xy (male). It is the male sperm that determines what the baby’s gender will be.

I just love these 2 myths about gender: ovulation from the right ovary produces a boy and from the left a girl or if the woman really enjoyed sexual intercourse, it will be a boy!  I sincerely hope you enjoyed it and how the heck do you find out which ovary you ovulated from?

Anyway, guessing does give you a 50/50 chance of getting it right!

Do’s And Don’ts Myths

Baby boy or girlEat for 2 – you will look like a roly poly at 9 months if you do! Yes, you have a baby developing inside your womb, but you do not need to eat 2 adult sized portions. Just follow a healthy nutritious diet.

Don’t eat fish during pregnancy. This is not true. Smoked or fresh salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids which is good for you, but 2 servings per week is adequate. Freshwater fish is safer as the danger of mercury poisoning is low. Probably best to avoid sea fish.

You should not bath during pregnancy! I loved relaxing in a bath during my pregnancies. You should however avoid HOT baths and saunas as that can raise your body temperature above 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 degrees Celsius) which is potentially dangerous in early pregnancy as it has been linked to neural tube defects.

Do not dye your hair during pregnancy. The chemicals in permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes are not highly toxic and research shows that it is safe to dye your hair during pregnancy . However, it would be best to avoid dyes containing ammonia, peroxide or oxides during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Plant based dyes are safe to use. Highlighting your hair is safe as the dye is only absorbed by your hair, not your scalp.

Don’t drink coffee if you are pregnant. You can have coffee in moderation during pregnancy. I needed my cup of coffee each day!

Don’t sleep on your back, only on your left side. Your left side will be very achy if you do and it would be most uncomfortable. You can sleep on your back but you will most likely find this too uncomfortable later in pregnancy.  Just find the most comfortable position that will allow you to get some sleep.

Do not have intercourse during your pregnancy.  There is no reason why you cannot have intercourse during a healthy pregnancy. It would only be if there is a complication and your health care provider would then tell you if you need to abstain from sex.

Do not lift your arms above your head (fear that this could cause the cord to wrap around the baby’s neck). Then you might as well put yourself to bed for 9 months! There is no invisible connection between your arms and the umbilical cord. It is only attached to the placenta. Sometimes the cord does get wrapped around the baby’s neck but this is due to the baby’s activity and the length of the cord. It is impossible to predict when this might happen without scans.

Do not go outside during a lunar eclipse as this will result in your baby having a cleft lip! I would love to know how this myth originated. The exact cause is still unknown but genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role in the risk of your baby developing a cleft lip but it has certainly has nothing to do with the moon.

True Or False: Labor can be brought on by

        • Stormy weather or a full moon,
        • Bumpy car rides,
        • Being bumped in the tummy,
        • Or spicy foods.

False. No, none of these will cause you to go into labor. Your baby is well protected within the womb.

Other Interesting Myths

You will drop a lot of weight immediately after the birth. I would have been in 7th heaven if that was true! Your weight may drop a little immediately after delivery but usually it takes some time, a healthy diet and exercise to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy.

Heartburn during pregnancy is an indicator that your baby will have a lot of hair. Just about everyone has heartburn sometime during their pregnancy, some more than others, but it is not an indicator of how much hair your baby will have.

Drinking dark beer helps the milk come in. No, but depending on the quantity consumed, may have a very relaxing effect. I think it was used as a good excuse to have a beer!  Remember that alcohol passes into the breast milk, so consuming alcohol whilst breastfeeding should be limited to one drink per day at most.

Cocoa butter prevents stretch marks. Unfortunately this is not true and you may have an allergic reaction to the cocoa butter. Stretch marks are determined by hormones and genetics and will fade with time.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

Enjoy your pregnancy and forget about all the old wives tales on pregnancy – they are just that – “old wives tales”!


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