Motherhood certainly brings on joy and excitement, but with that also comes uncertainty especially when you only want the best for the growing baby in your body. Unfortunately, it is not only you who has well-meaning thoughts. All of a sudden, you being pregnant becomes everybody’s business, and everyone is going to want to give your their two cents.
Myths, old-wives tales, pantangs, superstition, call it what you will, these beliefs have been around since the dawn of time. While some have valid explanations behind them, others can sound downright ridiculous. A fail-proof tip to remember is to take these ‘advice’ with a pinch of salt and smile through them all – after all, we don’t want a fight to start now do we? But also because everyone just wants the best for you and baby. Here are the top 10 common pregnancy myths that we hear over and over again, even though they are well and truly busted.
Myth #1: Boy or Girl?
Heads up! Everyone is going to want to play Guess The Baby’s Gender. So from the time you start showing until you finally know the sex of your baby, expect the guesses to keep pouring in. Tough luck if you’re keeping it a surprise until the day you pop cause you’ll be hearing it a lot: the pointy belly is usually a boy and a longish one a girl.
Others say to hang a ring on a string and to swing it gently over the bump. If the ring sways from side to side, you’re having a boy. If it moves in a circular motion, then you’re probably having a girl.
And because we don’t have quite enough gender guessing myths already, here’s another one on food cravings. You’re likely expecting a baby girl if you indulge in cakes, chocolates and icecreams, since girls are made of “sugar and spice, and everything nice. The poem doesn’t go on to say that same for the boys, but salty and spicy or foods, including food that is high in protein, is said to be a positive sign.
Remember that all this is just for fun because, quite frankly; there is no telling until your 20th-week scan, provided your little one isn’t shy about giving you a full frontal of his or her groin area. And even then, the answer might not always be 100% accurate.
Myth #2: Don’t bad mouth other people, later your kid look like them
Because of karma baby! Even if it’s not true, it will keep pregnant mums out of trouble.
Your body is going through so many changes at once. Growing a baby is tiring! So it is understandable that when you’re pregnant, you might just be a bit more sensitive than usual. Of course, not every pregnancy is a rollercoaster ride filled with sudden changes in hormones and emotions. Still, you really shouldn’t say nasty things anyway because it is not pleasant. Plus It is not worth wasting all that time regretting about it later.
Instead of reacting, just breathe, relax and channel that energy towards better things like enjoying every moment of your pregnancy.
Myth #3: Drink more for more amniotic fluid for baby
While it is good to stay hydrated, gulping copious amount of water doesn’t result in an Olympic sized swimming “pool” for your baby. There is no scientific proof to this claim, so don’t go “drowning” yourself with more water than required. Remember that a tiny bladder, water retention and reflux are all working against you.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should shrug it off if you’re unexplainably thirsty all the time. Wanting to drink all the time could be a sign of diabetes, and your doctor needs to be aware of this. The sooner we rule that out, the faster you can go back to an uneventful and safe pregnancy.
Myth #4: Don’t go to the zoo or look at animals; otherwise, your baby will come out looking like one too!
Goldfish lah, monkey lah and god forbid if you saw a hippo! What would your mother-in-law say if you gave birth to a baby with a hippo’s face! Of course, no amount of eye-rolling will ever be enough for this myth, but you’d be surprised how many Malaysian mums still abide by this. We’re sure you’ve reread time and again that a baby’s looks depend on genetics. There’s nothing we want to elaborate from this, plus this myth is ridiculous enough. ‘Nuff said.
Myth #5: Stay away from Renovations!
Surely you would have heard it all by now: don’t hammer nails around the house, don’t do any sewing while seated on the bed when there is a pregnant lady in the house, just don’t. Don’t carry heavy things, don’t bump your belly on the sharp edge of the table or you’ll harm then baby somehow.
The truth is, a lot of western mums and their nesting instincts would carry on renovating during their pregnancy in preparation for the new baby. Their babies came out fine and without complications. We think that having a myth like this is just a general precaution to all expecting mums.
Later in the pregnancy, as the body prepares for birth, changes in the hormone levels can cause muscles to relax and loosen ligaments as well as joints. Finally, something medical to back up all that clumsiness! Add on all that extra weight and body changes in pregnancy you might just end up injuring yourself.
Myth #6: Stay away from kicap, kopi and just generally dark coloured food
Instead, you’re encouraged to take more soybean milk and coconut water so that your baby will have a fair complexion and clear skin. Drink or eat dark coloured foods, and your baby will be dark-skinned. The ridiculousness of this myth is on par with the animal one at #4 because, again, the skin is genetics.
But if listening makes ah mah happy, all happy-happy then don’t eat also won’t die lah hor. Just eat in private lor, altho too much caffeine in coffees is not good and the high salt content in soy sauce can be the cause of your water retentions.
Myth #7: Don’t eat ‘cooling’ food
The older generation tends to think that grass jelly, cucumber, water chestnut, pineapple, watermelon and other ‘cooling’ foods early in the pregnancy may cause a miscarriage. Medically speaking, it is not the food that caused your miscarriage. Whenever a pregnancy terminates, it is usually due to complications or developmental problems from the very beginning. As much as we grieve the loss, it is just not meant to be.
Myth #8: Spicy food can trigger labour
Another popular myth is making sure you don’t overeat spicy food nearing the end of your pregnancy, or you could risk early labour. Unfortunately for overdue mums, this is not true, and there’s nothing you can do but to keep waiting unless your doctor says to induce.
So far, no known food can trigger early labour, although to be fair, there hasn’t been much research done on this. Until then, experts continue to believe that it is the foetus who sends a signal to the uterus to contract; which then sends the mother into labour.
Myth #9: Ghee can ease delivery
We’re not even sure how eating ghee can help, since the food tract and delivery channel are separate things. Unless it ends up as lube, we really can’t see how it can help. Still, ghee is well known in ancient Ayurvedic medicine and is believed to be able to induce labour and start pre-labour contractions.
Again, like everything else, there is no scientific research to back this claim up. One thing for sure is that you need to bear in mind that ghee is a type of saturated fat. Too much of it, pregnant or not, can be dangerous for health.
Myth #10: Look at cute baby pictures
They say that if you diligently do this, you’ll be blessed with a beautiful baby with fair complexion and beautiful skin. Some would go as far as practising this every single day. While we believe all babies are beautiful, they are also blessed with features from mum and dad, which makes them uniquely them, unlike anyone else.
Of course, we’re not saying you cannot cuci mata, or be appreciative of beauty and cuteness. But you need to remember to be realistic about it. Your baby is beautiful, and no amount of pictures would ever be able to imprint on your baby.