Old Wives' Tales and Pregnancy
by maya

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There are some ridiculous old wives' tales about pregnancy. Some of them sound very untrue, while other actually do make sense if you think about it. When it comes to old wives' tales, there are some that can be helpful, and others that are totally fictitious. Here are some common beliefs about pregnancy which have been passed down through the generations:

1. Don't put your hands above your head

During earlier times, women were probably engaged in more manual forms of labor. Although some people might think that this literally means that pregnant women should not put their hands over their heads, it is not totally the case. There are some versions which include the baby's umbilical cord wrapping around its neck if the mother-to-be places her hands above her head. This is not entirely true and the belief is that women should not carry heavy objects as it might harm the baby and push the mothers into premature labor.

2. Cravings determine the baby's gender

This is a very popular belief, and many people still swear by it. If a mother is craving sweet things, she is having a girl. If the mother is craving for sour things, she is having a boy. This is not true at all as cravings can differ depending on the person. The cravings can also change from time to time. A woman might even crave for vanilla ice cream with a few pickles! Craving for certain food will not determine the baby's gender.

3. Stay away from cats

While many people think that you can't pet a cat or own one while pregnant, the myth is not entirely true. There is a medical explanation for this belief, however it might have been exaggerated throughout the years. There is no harm in touching a cat or even having one around while pregnant. The danger is in the cat's feces where harmful parasites which cause toxoplasmosis, a disease that will affect the unborn child. If you do have a cat at home, it is best that you do not clean the litter yourself. Or, while you are pregnant, especially during the third trimester, it might be best to have someone else watch your cat.

4. The linea-nigra

Some women develop a dark brown line that goes down their abdomen during pregnancy, this is called the linea nigra, which is Latin for "black line". There are quite a few people who believe that the direction of the line can help you determine if your baby is a boy or a girl. If the line stops at the belly button, the baby is a girl. If it goes all the way up to the rib-cage it is a boy. There is no evidence of this old wives' tale being true at all.

5. The shape of your stomach can determine your baby's gender

A long time ago, before the invention of ultrasounds, people obsessed about knowing the baby's gender. They would study the shape of the stomach in order to know whether the baby is a boy or a girl. A lot of people want to know the gender of their baby by looking for "signs". They believed that if the mother was carrying low, it was a boy, if it was high, the baby was a girl. This is false since the shape of the mother and the stomach muscles determine whether or not the baby is carried high or low.

6. Morning sickness is inevitable

It's not true. Not all women get morning sickness. There are some women who get it, some women who don't. Others might even experience it in the afternoon. This is caused by hCG, a hormone produced during pregnancy. This hormone acts up when the stomach is empty which can cause queasiness.

7. Pregnant women cannot eat antipasto

Some Italians believe that women cannot eat antipasto. This is surprisingly true, as some antipasto contains raw meat, seafood or fish. This raw food is not good for pregnant women as they might contain bacteria (like salmonella) which can harm the baby. Soft cheeses such as blue cheese or chevres are also to be avoided as they contain mold which can lead to listeriosis.

Latest Activity: Feb 26, 2014 at 5:33 AM

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