Since I fell pregnant about seven months ago, I have heard and pretty much collected lots of pregnancy myths and old wives’ tales, wrapped in the form of advices, from my family, relatives and friends. They meant well by telling me all those advices but somehow I don't exactly follow or believe most of them as I understand that their claims are not medically or scientifically proven. If they were true, to some degree, my Gynae herself would have informed me those advices too, yes?
Here’s the quick compilation of more than a dozen pregnancy myths and old wives’ tales that I have received by far.
- Expecting mothers with sharp-looking tummy usually carry boys. Those with round-looking tummy usually carry girls. My take: My mother once noticed that my pregnant tummy is not that round and guessed that maybe the first ultrasound scan that predicted my baby's gender was not 100% correct. After the second ultrasound scan that confirmed my baby's gender one more time, I am indeed still carrying a girl.
- Expecting mothers who crave and tend to eat more fish are likely to carry baby girls. Those women who crave and eat more meat during their pregnancy usually carry baby boys. My take: I refused eating fish during my first tri-semester. My Mother-in-Law was in good faith that I was indeed expecting a boy. The ultrasound scan, again, gave us the opposite news. It’s a pink.
- A pregnant woman is not supposed to lift their arms for too long (as when we hang clothes on a clothes line) or she’d make her baby’s neck wrapped by his/her umbilical cord. My take: During the antenatal class that I attended last month, my Gynae shared that unborn baby moves all the time inside the uterus and we can’t really control how he/she moves around and plays with the umbilical cord in the womb.
- A bumpy car ride may cause a pregnant woman to go into labour or experience early contractions. My take: To my knowledge, unborn baby is protected by amniotic fluid in the uterus so he/she won’t feel any bumpy rides/sensations - albeit bumpy rides may be uncomfortable for the mother. We, however, shall avoid riding roller-coasters at all cost when pregnant.
- Pregnant women should drink Korean Ginseng Tea during their first tri-semester so they'd give birth to active babies. My take: I was recommended to drink this ginseng tea during my early pregnancy but I blatantly said no. I was and am not keen in consuming certain herb remedies or concoctions during my pregnancy due to potential adverse effects on my baby and me, as they are generally not prescribed by doctors.
- Don’t over-consume ice creams, cold drinks/desserts and Chinese cooling herbal tea/liang cha while pregnant as they’d make the mother’s uterus cold. My take:I try not to consume too much cold drinks mostly because I don’t want to have sore throat or runny nose, which is miserable, during pregnancy.
- Drink more coconut water while pregnant to promote smooth delivery and baby’s fair complexion. My take: Fair complexion is genetic, I think. I enjoy drinking coconut water simply because it tastes nice and refreshing.
- Pregnant women should drink a lot of soya milk and eat bird nest soup so they can have babies with good complexion. My take: I was once advised by doctor in Singapore not to drink too much soya milk or eat other fermented soy products because they possess high estrogen level and may cause hormones imbalance, like what I experienced before. I do drink soya milk once in a while though. As for bird nest, they are way too expensive for me to consume on a regular basis.
- Don’t eat too much watermelon or oranges when expecting a baby, or else when the baby is born his/her throat will be very phlegmy. My take: From what I read, watermelon dehydrates and contains lots of vitamins and antioxidant. Orange is also one of natural sources for vitamin C. Why not eating them?
- Don’t eat too much eggplant when pregnant, otherwise your baby will grow up having black teeth. My take: I don’t like eating eggplant so I don’t sweat so much about this.
- Pregnant women should eat more beans or peanuts so the baby would emerge from the womb sporting thick locks. My take: I think, at this stage, anything related to baby’s hair is genetic. Nevertheless, I guess it is no harm to consume beans or peanuts when pregnant as they possess nutritional benefits too.
- Don't eat too much kangkong as this vegetable will make pregnant mothers’ legs numb. My take: Don't know. Is it?
- Expectant mothers should reduce their intake on chilli or sambal or they'd make the baby's skin very sensitive and eventually, his/her skin will be prone to scarring. My take: I limit my consumption of hot and spicy food to avoid indigestion and heartburn.
In conclusion, when in comes to predicting the baby's gender, take my word - there is nothing more convincing than Gynae's ultrasound scan result. Also, I don’t really adopt advices on don’t drink this or don’t eat that/drink more of this and eat more of thatduring pregnancy. I believe pregnant women can eat anything (except food with high caffeine content, raw meat/fish or high-MSG content food, for example) but the key here is always eat and drink in moderation. To top it off, my Gynae never told me to refrain from eating specific food or dishes as long as I know that I would not be eating food that may give me food poisoning, diarrhoea, indigestion, heartburn, sore throat or runny nose.
Last but not least, any of the above pregnancy myths and old wives’ tales you’ve heard before? Or do you have anything else to add to the list?