People just LOVE to make predictions and sweeping statements about pregnancy. The amount of myths out there surrounding pregnancy are many and you could make a list much longer than this if you were to compile them, but these are a few of my favorites from the ladies of my house
1. Baby girl inside the tummy makes you look uglier.
My grandmother used to tell me “baby girls steal your beauty”. Such a terrible lie.
When I was pregnant with my daughter my skin was glowing and my hair was long and shiny and perfect. While with my son, I looked like a bimbo the entire nine months.
2. Looking at a lunar eclipse really causes a deformity
There are many horrifying things that allegedly happen to pregnant women who step out during an eclipse. Indian movies have shown enough to make our grandmas, aunts and others believe it though it’s really hard to find any logical explanation. Probably this superstition began when people didn’t know much about eclipses and just took extra precautions. These days, most people don’t bother with eclipses, although there are still those who don’t take a risk!
3. Give up the spice
I was denied spicy food during my entire pregnancy. Sweets and plain bland organic diets were always on my schedule. It’s said that spicy foods eaten during pregnancy burn the baby’s eyes and make it born blind. Spicy foods also have been blamed for miscarriages and early labor.
4. Ropes, wires and nuchal cords
While the first two – ropes and wires are common household articles, nuchal cord isn’t. It refers to a condition in which the umbilical cord is wrapped around the fetus’s neck. She believed there’s a connection between the ropes lying in my house and my umbilical cord inside, which is bizarre! I was not allowed to tie ropes, knots or even step over ropes and doing so could result in a nuchal cord!
It didn’t stop there, she extended to include electrical cords and extension wires as well. Raising my arms above the head, results in a nuchal cord. Therefore, hands down, always!
5. Haircuts and hair spa
I developed a lot of split ends and I got ready to visit a parlor. She sensed that I’m visiting a parlor and there she came with big steps towards me. “Do you want your baby to wear glasses like you do?” Stunned with her question, I rescheduled my appointment to another time of the day she sleeps 😛
6. No gifts, please
I was in my pregnancy leave and wanted to venture out to buy dresses for my baby. So I picked up few boy and few gir dresses, feeding bottle, cute cups, towels etc. I thanked my stars for not throwing away the bills as my husband had to go return all that’ve bought, the very same day. Thanks to my grandma who believed that buying, receiving, or opening baby gifts before the baby arrives attracts evil spirits or brings misfortune, such as a miscarriage. Now I have to keep my fingers crossed and trust the taste of the dad to do 100% of the baby shopping after delivery.
7. That was just for you, what’s for the baby?
I looked like a cruel mother when I didn’t double the portion of my usual serving. This didn’t have any effect on me except that it made me gain a lot of weight and increase the chances of having a heavy weight baby. I would instead suggest to focus on listening to your body and eating twice as healthy, rather than twice as much.
8. The P fruits or the Period fruits
When I used to have delayed periods, my mum used to feed my papaya. Little did she understand the fact the I was having PCOS. Now she associates the same logic when I’m pregnant as well. Studies say that “unripe papaya” and pineapple has an enzyme which may lead to uterine contractions. However, you would need to consume an unusually large amount of these fruits for the negative effects to show up. Therefore both the fruits, when consumed in moderation have a range of health benefits for pregnant women. So go on and munch!
9. Saffron for fairer baby
After the gender of the new baby, what is the next thing Indians are obsessed with? Yes, it’s skin color! My mother and MIL spent more on saffron than on vegetables! I forgot the colour of the milk was white for a few days as I can just see saffron milk. Biryani prepared at home had so much saffron topped on it like roasted cashews. All their hopes and money went in drain when my daughter was born with her dad’s complexion.
10. Butter, ghee and Oil
Sometimes my grandma treats me like a bike engine. She wants to lubricate my vagina. So I was made to drink anything and everything oily that was edible to have a smoother delivery. Ok now my question is, what if I have a C section?
Well, she didn’t answer that and asked to pray to god that I have a normal delivery.
11. Time to fulfill my cravings!
My husband, dad, bro and even my friends bought me whatever I craved for. I was never denied anything. Later I realised I had developed dislikes for some foods as well. Craving for a particular food is known as “Pica”. On the contrary, I gained a lot of unwanted weight, which came in the way of getting back into shape later on.
12. Night owl baby
My baby never slept at night. I went to sleep deprivation when I had to make her sleep. She used to be like an owl, wide awake at night. I assumed maybe she was born at night and that the day for her to be awake. Later did I realise that I heard the same quacking crying sounds from the next door baby who was born at 11am. Then I realised, birth time has no relation to the sleeping and waking times of the baby. They sleep and wake up according to their own whims and wishes.
13. Gender guess by guests!
Guests visiting me have a nice guess about the gender of the baby looking at my belly. According to them, if my belly hangs low, it’s a boy, and higher up means a girl. Seriously? There are a lot of things that come into play on your belly shape such as your skeletal structure, the strength of your muscles and the trimester you are in – the yeah the belly always hangs towards your due date no matter it’s a girl or a boy!
14. Heartburns and baby hair
I used to get frequent heartburns and vomiting. And it was always liked with the hair length of the baby. I quiet didn’t understand how the hair of the baby inside my uterus could reach my heart and throat! After researching I found that the heartburns occur due to the secretion of gastric juices more frequently by the pressure of growing uterus over my food pipe and hence the vomit as well.
15. Kamasutra has a role to play in my baby’s gender?
Let’s begin at the beginning! Considering India’s obsession with the male child, it’s no wonder that people have come up with many ways to determine the result of something they have absolutely no control over! You can try any position you want and if you can try all the positions – but besides the advantage of spicing things up, there really is no way to ensure that you get the exact XX-XY combination that you want! Thank god, my grandma was shy enough to talk about this to me. LOL
16. Announcing pregnancy
Not just in India, this is a very common one, worldwide. Some feel they get evil eyes on the baby or envy the couple’s happiness. The real reason behind this is that there is a higher chance for a woman to have a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion during the first few months, so people don’t want to share their good news too soon. Though I would say the women at the beginning of her pregnancy time need more social support. There’s also a catch to it, the more the people know that you are pregnant, the more advice you’ll have to hear!
17. Sunset and cloths
My grandma doesn’t allow me to dry my baby’s clothes in the garden. It was always in the balcony or inside the room itself. Newborns have very low immunity and their things need to be kept super clean. When you leave baby clothes outside in the dark, you never know what kind of insects or animals might get their hands on them. Same goes for the mother’s clothes since she is always in close proximity with the baby. But then, I would strongly recommend drying the clothes in direct sunlight for killing the germs.
18. Coconut baby ?
I had to share one of the funniest myths I heard. My mum was making coconut chutney(indian cuisine accompaniment with the main course) and she passed on the water inside it when she broke the coconut. I heard my servant saying if I eat coconut, my uterus will become hard like it and the baby will have a lot of hair on the body. My mum then gave off the chutney to her and then made tomato chutney for breakfast.
So now I doubt, yesterday I had watermelon, so would my baby have stripes?
19. Belly as an Ouija Board
Another myth is predicting the sex of the baby by holding a string with a ring in it over a pregnant belly. If it moves back and forth it is a boy, if it moves in a circle, it is a girl.
While there is no truth in this, you could probably do it for a laugh.
20. No pregnant sex?
My husband was made to sleep with my in-laws and I had to sleep with his sister who always had her mobile on the whole night. They didn’t allow me to sleep with him to avoid having sex. My doctor friend said there are seven layers of skin from the abdominal wall to the baby sac that are present to protect the baby. And the cervix (a tissue connecting my vagina and uterus) produces mucus to keep the area clean and infection free. So having sex cannot reach, touch or harm your baby. If your doctor has not asked you to abstain from sex, have no fear and enjoy.
P.S Because of my inlaws, I had a lot of kitchen *fun sessions* during the day.
It is common to be swarmed with these and many more Indian pregnancy myths and facts the minute you announce your pregnancy. While some of them have a hint of truth in them, others are just old wives and grandma tales which have no evidence to support them. Hence, it is also advised to seek professional help and advice before you give in to any of these myths.