Truth Or Superstition? Here Are Some Common Old Wives’ Tales About Pregnancy

Old wives’ tales have been around for around for ages. In the past, they often served as sources of various medical cures before science came along with more reliable information. Along with old medicinal recipes, old wives’ tales commonly hold a healthy dose of superstition passed on from generation to generation. Of course, these stories commonly applied to one of the most magical times of women’s lives: pregnancy. From predicting gender to the amount of hair a baby would have, these are some of the most common old wives’ tales regarding pregnancy.

You’ll never guess what one old wives’ tale suggests doing with the clog-clearing product Drano!

Do Girls Steal Mom’s Beauty?

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One common and often-repeated old wives’ tale is that if you are pregnant with a daughter, she will “steal” your beauty. Women often talk about beauty issues ranging from skin breakouts to dry hair throughout their pregnancies and say that it can be a tell-tale sign that the baby will be a girl. Conversely, if you have that pregnancy “glow,” complete with vibrant skin and shiny hair, you might be having a boy.

Of course, all of this can be chalked up to how your individual body reacts to the ridiculous amount of pregnancy hormones surging through your body.

The Birthmark Conundrum

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Another old wives’ tale that is rather superstitious is the idea that if you eat a particular food that you’re craving, the baby will end up with a birthmark in the shape of the food. Some are more specific about the belief, saying that it involves eating the food and then touching your face. This tale more than likely stems from the existence of strawberry birthmarks.

Almost all pregnant women have some kind of craving at some point or another during gestation so it would be pretty ridiculous if babies got birthmarks in the shape of the foods their mothers consumed. If that were the case, we might all have birthmarks in the shape of pizza!

Heartburn = Hair

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Another common old wives’ tale that is often heard is that if you suffer from heartburn throughout during your pregnancy it means that your baby is going to have a lot of hair. Some women swear this is absolutely true and have a baby with a full head of hair as proof. However, others have experienced heartburn and ended up having a baby as bald as a cue ball.

It turns out that heartburn is one of the most common of all pregnancy symptoms. It’s a side effect of surging pregnancy hormones, not to mention having your organs literally squished up in your body.

The Dangerous Bath

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Some old wives’ tales say that women should refrain from taking baths because it can cause harm to the baby. Apparently, it was thought the hot water could hurt the baby while still in your womb. It turns out that a woman’s body is actually pretty miraculous and your baby is well-protected and insulated inside your womb.

A regular home bath is totally fine, however, a sauna or hot tub (which are known to get extra hot) can be dangerous. Not to mention, saunas and hot tubs are breeding grounds for bacteria which every pregnant woman should try to stay away from at all costs.

Speaking of dangers, we’re about to learn more about that Drano test…

The Shape Of Your Stomach

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Here’s yet another old wives’ tale you have probably heard. The one about how you carry your baby. If you’ve ever been pregnant you have probably even experienced your share of strangers coming up to comment on the way the baby looks to be positioned in your stomach. Allegedly, if you are carrying your baby high you are having a girl if you carry low you’re having a boy.

Another version of the tale says that if you carry most of your weight in the front like a basketball, you’re having a boy and if your weight is more spread out across your midsection, it’s a girl. However, in reality, your body size and stature are more responsible for how you will hold your baby.

Drano Test

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A strange old wives’ tale that has been around for a while is the “Drano Test.” For this test, pregnant women take a cup of their own urine and add a tablespoon of Drano (the drain unclogger) into it. If the urine turns green, she is said to be having a girl. If the mixture turns brown, she is having a boy.

However, adding Drano to your urine is also said to create toxic fumes, so this test is not recommended to try. Some people do so anyway, but they take their experiment outside so as to avert any harmful fumes.

Sugar And Spice

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In addition to some people believing that food cravings can leave birthmarks on your unborn child, some also believe that they can tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl by what you feel like eating. Another old wives’ tale says that if you crave sweet foods it will be a girl and if you crave salty food it will be a boy. Perhaps this is where the old nursery rhyme about girls being made of “sugar and spice” comes from.

There are also a few variations of the same old wives’ tale, including one that predicts that if you crave fruits the baby will be a girl and if it’s vegetables your baby will be a boy.

Does an urge to clean house mean that your baby is arriving soon? Read on to find out.

The Ring Test

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Another old pregnancy superstition is the “ring test.” In order to perform this test, you place your wedding ring on a string and then hold it over your belly. If the ring moves in a back-and-forth motion it is said to be a girl, and if it moves in a circle it’s a boy.

It is also said to be able to tell how many children you will have in the future. If it does a circling motion and then a back-and-forth motion, it is supposed to mean you are going to have a boy and then a girl. Another variation of this one is using a sewing needle on a string. Many women still swear that this old-timey tale is absolutely true.

Nesting Maniac

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“Nesting” is the term used to refer to when women begin cleaning, organizing and generally getting ready for the impending birth of their child. Of course, the term comes from the practice that birds take part in while literally getting their nest ready for their little hatchlings. One old wives’ tale claims that nesting is a sign that the baby is about to arrive very soon.

While it’s definitely true that some moms feel the need to vigorously clean right before the birth of their child, others start nesting super early in their pregnancy and not just right before the baby is born. This tale is probably be more about personal preference than anything else.

Castor Oil To Jumpstart Labor?

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Lots of women who have gone through the joys of pregnancy also know the pain of the last long weeks stretching out before the baby is finally delivered. By then you are both large and uncomfortable and pretty much ready for baby to evacuate the premises. Many women even go past their due date, which is especially common with those who are having their first child.

One old wives’ tale that addresses long pregnancies suggests taking castor oil as a way to start labor. However, castor oil can also act as a laxative… which can make for a not-so-ideal birthing scenario. Now, many say that it is definitely not the safest route to take when getting ready for your baby.

More beliefs about inducing birth are coming up.

Other Labor Inducers

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There are also many other old wives’ tales that deal with inducing labor. Some say that indulging in spicy food will help bring your baby into the world. Others swear by eating greasy foods like pizza to get labor going. One of the most popular tales regarding labor says to continue engaging in physical relations with your partner, which may or may not help loosen the cervix.

Another common old wives’ tale involves the herb evening primrose. Some women claim that you should pierce an evening primrose capsule full of the herbal oil and insert it into yourself. Believers say that this will help bring you into labor. It is thought that the herb may be able to trigger a prostaglandin response. However, you should consult your doctor before using any herbs throughout your pregnancy.

Is Breastfeeding A Contraceptive?

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This old wives’ tale takes aim at post-pregnancy life. If you are a mom who has chosen to breastfeed your baby, there is an old wives’ tale that says this will prevent you from becoming pregnant again.

Science actually sides with this one. If you’re not ovulating, you’re not likely to conceive another child. And breastfeeding is a natural way to stop ovulation. The key here is that you must breastfeed your child extensively — for at least six hours each night and four during the day. Hey, some of these “old wives’ tales” actually have some credibility behind them.

Garlic And Gender

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“The garlic test” is yet another old wives’ tale, that is probably one of the strangest of the entire list. According to this one, the pregnant woman is supposed to eat an entire clove of garlic… which could be quite a strenuous task, pregnant or not. Then, she is supposed to rely on her sense of smell.

If the pregnant woman reeks of garlic she is said to be having a boy. If she doesn’t smell like garlic at all, then she’s having a girl. These days you can find out what gender you’re having as early as 15 weeks, so we think we might pass on the ol’ garlic test thank you very much!

The Shape Of Mom’s Face

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Another gender-guessing old wives’ tale regards the shape of the pregnant woman’s face. Women’s faces often change while pregnant, mostly due to the fact that they are gaining a good amount of weight. However, some believe that the way your face is shaped can actually clue you in whether you are having a boy or a girl. This old wives’ tale says that if your face is round you are having a girl, and if your face is long and narrow it means you are having a boy.

Women’s bodies go through immense changes in pregnancy and hold much more water than they normally do, which can certainly change the shape of their face. One offshoot tale of this says that if your nose grows during pregnancy it means you are expecting a baby girl!

The Heart Rate Test

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One of the most common of old wives’ tales regarding pregnancy centers around your baby’s heart rate. Many people swear that if your baby has a fast heart rate — over 170 beats per minute — you will be having a girl. The same tale says if your baby’s heart rate is around 150 beats per minute it’s likely you are having a boy.

However, it’s likely this is not real. All babies have a pretty fast heart rate during the first trimester. The heart rate can also fluctuate during various times depending on factors like whether the baby is sleeping or active, meaning it could change from one day to the next depending on conditions.

The Morning Sickness Moody Blues

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Many women struggle through the early weeks and months of their pregnancy due to the sometimes-debilitating effects of morning sickness. Of course, there is an old wives’ tale dealing directly with this topic. Some say that if you have more severe morning sickness you might be having a girl. However, this is likely not true because morning sickness can happen to everyone regardless of if you are expecting a boy or a girl.

Another tale that goes along with this relates to your mood. If you feel moody you are having a girl, and if you’re calm you’re having a boy. However, we’re pretty sure every pregnant woman feels moody at some point throughout their pregnancy!

Can blood pressure affect a baby’s gender? We’ll find out soon.

Dad’s Eating For Two

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The “Dad’s Eating for Two” old wives’ tale is especially fun because instead of dealing with the pregnant woman it deals with the father-to-be. This superstition says that if the man gains weight alongside the woman, which is commonly referred to as “sympathy weight,” it means that she is having a girl.

This one has yet to be proven. It probably has more to do with how much the couple indulges in food throughout the pregnancy, if the woman chooses to eat a lot or eat in a more unhealthy manner, it’s likely that her partner will be right there alongside her.

Marvelous Mayan Predictions

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The Mayan people are an indigenous people located in Mexico and Central America. Mayans really gained a lot of notoriety years ago, after people thought that their calendar predicted the end of the world. Obviously, that did not hold true. However, they have another superstition which may predict the sex of your baby.

Mayans say to take the mothers age at conception and the year of conception and add them together. If the resulting number is even you might be expecting a girl, and if the number is odd then it’s a boy!

Mayans are not the only culture to have invented a mathematical approach to gender prediction, as we’ll see next.

Chinese Gender Chart Predictions

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Another culture that believes in the ability to predict gender through mathematical means is the Chinese. The Chinese created a chart that is said to be able to predict the gender of your unborn child. First, you locate the age at which you conceived on the horizontal axis of the chart. Then, place another finger on the month you conceived on the vertical axis of the chart.

Where your two fingers meet, it will show you a date that predicts what gender your baby will be. Many women swear that this chart is totally reliable for predicting the gender of an unborn baby.

The Conception Tale

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Here is an old superstition that involves the time slightly before conception. The “blood pressure old wives’ tale” is sometimes used by women in an attempt to influence gender. Although attempting to mess with your blood pressure may not be the best idea, some women do it anyway.

An academic study found that if a woman’s blood pressure is higher in the previous twenty-six weeks before conception, she is likely to have a boy. If it’s the opposite, it might be a girl. There’s a way to test this one: if you find out that you are expecting and had recently gone to the doctor you can go back to check what your blood pressure was previous to conception.