There are countless pregnancy beliefs and superstitions that vary from culture to culture. Here are some of the most interesting we’ve come across.
Before I became pregnant, I knew it would be a transformative experience. I wasn’t surprised by the physical changes in my body, or even the new way I started looking at my priorities and how I engaged with my environment and my choices as a consumer.
What I was surprised about, however, was the niggling voice in my head that said ‘but, what if…?’ every time I was quick to dismiss a pregnancy superstition. I’ve never been one to avoid walking under ladders or throw salt over my shoulder but there was something about being pregnant that had my usually logical mind reasoning there was no harm in going along with whatever belief I’d just heard of.
Since then, in my experiences working with pregnant women as a midwifery graduate and a prenatal educator, I’ve heard countless beliefs and superstitions that vary from culture to culture. Many women accept them not necessarily as valid beliefs but more as a cultural tradition than any real belief of their validity not necessarily as fact, per se, but as something that is adhered to regardless.
Here are just a few of the pregnancy superstitions and beliefs I’ve come across.
Inuit (these vary by community)
- Avoid jewelry or braids to prevent the umbilical cord wrapping around a baby’s neck.
- Avoid blowing bubbles or blowing up balloons to prevent premature rupture of the membranes, or your membranes won’t rupture.
- Avoid walking through doors backwards or the baby will be breech.
- Don’t take naps or the labor will be long.
- Do not leave tasks incomplete or your labor will be long.
- Using glue will cause a difficult labor or complications.
- Swearing or using bad language will bring a curse upon your baby.
- Rubbing your belly will create a spoiled and demanding child
- Do not have an empty stroller in the house when you are pregnant.
- Avoid all renovation work in the house while you are pregnant,
- Do not hammer any nails as it could lead to deformities or miscarriage.
- Your mood can affect your baby so avoid too much stress or your baby will have a bad disposition.
- Never stop or sit on a set of stairs or you will have a stalled labor or obstructed birth.
- Avoid funerals to avoid negative feelings but if you must go, tie a red string around your belly for protection.
- Do not cut anything while sitting on a bed.
- Female relatives of the pregnant woman adorn her wrists with bangles and bracelets to ward off evil spirits.
- Exposure to a lunar eclipse will lead to a baby having a cleft lip or palate. (also in parts of India)
- Unsatisfied cravings will lead to birth marks
- During a full moon, place a safety pin as close to your belly/bully button as possible to protect your baby from a miscarriage, disease, or deformations.
- Do not cut or dye your hair because it is like cutting the umbilical cord or causing harm to your unborn child.
- Do not speak the baby’s name or prepare for the baby in advance, such as setting up a nursery, having a baby shower, bringing baby clothes into the home, for fear of tempting the angel of death
Do not enter a graveyard.
- Avoid looking at bears, monkeys, camels
- Do not eat rabbit, trotters’ (horses) or sheep’s heads
- Do not chew gum.
- Don’t attend funerals or look at the deceased.
- Don’t secretly take and eat anything.
- Do look at the moon, Look at beautiful people, smell roses, and eat quinces, apples, green plums and grapes.
What is a pregnancy superstition that you have heard or followed?