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20 Old Wives Tales Our Mothers Were Told About Birth

Things have changed dramatically over the years when it comes to getting pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth, and after birth. Has any new parent ever wondered what life was like before a sonogram? How would new parents ever find out what gender child they were having before the baby came — how would they prepare? Well, the fact of the matter is there have been numerous tips and tricks passed down throughout the years regarding the gender of the child and what was deemed acceptable or not. There are some old wives tales so outlandish that they truly believed if a pregnant woman stared at an ugly animal long enough, their baby would also be born ugly. (However, I disagree tremendously — there are no ugly animals!)

It's not clear who exactly began these rumors or old wives tales, but they were so widely believed at the time that they are still well-known in 2018! I know I've seen plenty of pregnant women who didn't know the gender of their baby yet, and they were told the wider they grew, they'd be having a girl. Likewise, the further out their belly grew, they'd be having a boy. Unfortunately, there's not much truth to these tales, but they're still fun to read.

20 Ugly Animals = Ugly Babies

Ummm, huh? Apparently, there's an old wives tale saying that looking at ugly animals (or beings) while pregnant will then cause your child to look ugly too... How anyone could ever believe something like this is unbelievable. I'm guessing those who believed in curses and spells fell for this false tale. However, I personally don't think there are any ugly animals on our planet. Sometimes the "uglier" the animal, the cuter they are. Just look at French bulldogs! They may grunt, but they're adorable.

19 For Every Baby You Have, You'll Lose A Tooth

OB-GYN and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Boston University School of Medicine, Dr. Katharine O'Connell White, MD, MPH, told Romper that this wives tale came from "the idea that pregnant women are more susceptible to gum disease and oral health issues." While it's been said that those who had horrific morning sickness during pregnancy, may have teeth issues later on (due to all the acid), there's no truth that a woman will lose one tooth per child.

18 Does The Moon Help With Labor?

There are a lot of rumors and theories about how a full moon affects a person's personality or behavior. So, don't you think it could be the same case with a pregnant woman? Considering a full moon can affect the ocean's tide, why not a woman in labor, right? But Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald, MD, an OB-GYN, told Romper, "the idea that more babies are born under a full moon just isn't true." However, I do find it fascinating how people tend to seem a little off their rocker when the full moon arises.

17 Do Baby Girls Really Affect A Mother's Beauty?

There are a ton of people who remark that when a woman's pregnant with a girl, she'll steal their mother's beauty. Perhaps the soon-to-be mom is super tired, making her look haggard — is that the child or the sleepless nights? Many doctors say there is no truth to this rumor because a woman goes through a ton of hormonal changes during birth, making her skin lose moisture, her hair thinner, maybe some adult acne, and other unfortunate outcomes. But this has nothing to do with the baby's gender.

16 Your Water Will Break Dramatically

There are plenty of movies and shows depicting women's water breaking in the most dramatic ways possible. As a lover of Sex and the City, I can already see Charlotte York's water breaking after running into Mr. Big on the street. But Sheri Puffer, MD, an OB-GYN at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, explains how that's a myth. The Bump writes, "Truth is, most of the time, a mom-to-be’s water won’t even break on its own, and it’s actually a doctor who breaks the water with a specialized instrument once you’re already in the hospital."

15 Your Baby Will Love Whatever You Eat When You're Pregnant

There's an old wives tale out there that says your baby will come out loving foods that their mom ate when she was pregnant. The main reason people want to believe this is if the mother ate vegetables when pregnant, they hope their children love veggies too. However, Dr. Katharine O'Connell White told Romper, "...It is true for a lot of different foods and there is a suggestion that familiarity with the foods that mom ate while pregnant means the baby will like them more when you start introducing solids. But it is not a strong association and there’s no association with your child actually eating those as they get older."

14 Does Heartburn Mean Your Baby Will Have A Lot OF Hair?

There is an old wives tale out there that claims if a mother has had heartburn for the duration of her nine-month pregnancy, then her baby will be born with a full head of hair. While many parents want their kids to have a nice, thick, luscious mane, there is no truth to birthing a child with a full head of hair after having heartburn during their pregnancy — at least according to Baby Center. I think the hair has more to do with genetics.

13 Does A Ring On The String Actually Determine A Baby's Gender?

As the myth goes, a person can put their wedding band on a string and hang it above the woman's belly. Baby Gaga says if the ring swings in a circle, the mom is having a baby girl. If the ring swings back and forth, they're having a boy. Is there any truth to this little test? No. Unfortunately, it's all just what we want to hear. We believe what we want to believe. There are many soon-t0-be moms who feel like they're having a boy or a girl, and that feeling can take part in this little myth.

12 Can Baths Really Drown Your Baby?

I don't think I really need to break this one down, do I? Taking a bath while pregnant is completely safe as long as the water temperature doesn't go over 98 degrees Fahrenheit. It can even be calming for those aches and pains moms get over time. Dr. Konopasek told Parenting, "The lungs of fetuses are already full of water, so they can't drown." She continued saying "Babies get their oxygen through the mother's placenta, so it's impossible to 'drown' a baby in utero."

11 You Can't Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding

Don't you want to know who created these myths? Who decided years ago that a woman couldn't get pregnant when she was breastfeeding? While it does seem slim to none that a breastfeeding mom could get pregnant (because that most likely means she won't ovulate or menstruate), anything can happen. Not one body fits all. Parenting notes, "Ovulation can begin again at any time, leaving moms at risk, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists." So even though a woman is breastfeeding, she still very well could get pregnant.

10 Eating Spicy Food Will Make Your Baby Blind

Now, this is one wives tale I've never heard before. I often hear women should eat spicy food if they're looking to trigger their body to go into labor, but I've never heard spicy food could cause an unborn baby to go blind! In real life, however, spicy food is totally safe for moms to eat — it can, however, cause some heartburn, depending on the woman. So depending on your craving, you can eat as many tacos as you'd like. Your child won't go blind due to too many trips to Chipotle.

9 Carrying High Or Low

A pediatrician at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center, Lyuba Konopasek, M.D., told Parenting that people are always going to be half correct when they guess the gender of a person's baby. However, there isn't any real truth to 'carrying high means having a girl or carrying low means having a boy.'

"The only thing carrying high means is that it is probably your first pregnancy. The girdle-like muscles that hold the uterus against the spine and keep the baby high above the pelvis become more elastic with each pregnancy, so the belly may hang lower each time (you may start showing earlier, too)."

8 Does Drinking Milk Bring More Milk To Your Breasts?

Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

Pediatrician Gary Edelstein, M.D ensured to Parenting that no, drinking milk will not stimulate even more milk in a woman's breasts. However, staying hydrated can help to keep the woman's milk flowing. "Certainly, a lot of what the mother ingests goes into her breast milk, but milk, over any other type of liquid, doesn't make a difference in the amount she produces." So if you are low on milk supply, drinking cow's milk will not automatically go to your breasts, making your supply more full.

7 Lifting Your Arms Around Your Head Will Choke The Baby

This has to be one of the most horrifying old wives tales out there. Apparently, if a woman raises her hands above her head and does some deep stretching, this can wrap the umbilical cord around the baby's neck and choke them. This, however, is untrue. According to What to Expect, "The truth of this pregnancy wives tale is that the umbilical cord can wrap around the baby if the baby moves a lot while in the uterus, but it does not happen if you move a lot or stretch above your head."

6 Too Much Coffee, Leads To Brown Birthmarks

If drinking too much coffee creates brown spots or birthmarks on a child's skin, then my baby will be covered. I adore my morning coffee and can't imagine cooling down my habit because of pregnancy. This, however, is a myth. While drinking tons of coffee isn't really suggested for anyone—pregnant or not—a baby won't have more birthmarks than not because of it. Medical News Today notes there are different forms of birthmarks and can appear due to nerves or blood vessels.

5 The Shape Of The Woman's Face Can Say A Lot

A woman's body changes with and after baby — it's a part of motherhood. And since a woman's shape changes, there are many myths surrounding the mother's shape of her face. If her face is fuller (looking more round), then she may be having a girl. If her face is slimmed out, then she may be having a boy. These are myths, of course, but it would be interesting to note how true this is for some mommas out there. I feel like the face is one of the last things to really change, compared to the rest of the body.

4 The Shape Of Their Birthmarks Will Be Whatever Food They Ate Most While In The Womb

There's an old wives tale that claims whatever a woman craved the most during their pregnancy, a birthmark in that shape will be on that child. My mom ate a lot of Twinkies, my friend's mom ate a lot of hot dogs — does that mean we're supposed to have a hot dog and Twinky shaped birthmarks on us? Well, according to this myth we are. Unfortunately, I don't have any birthmarks that resemble a Twinkie... I don't have any birthmarks at all! Likewise, my friend loves hot dogs but is missing the shape on her body.

3 Similar Pregnancies

There are many women who are led to believe that their pregnancy and labor will be similar to their mother's. How Stuff Works explains "In other words, there is genetic influence over whether or not a woman delivers early, late or on time, how large the baby's weight will be and how long labor can be expected to last.  continues further saying, " While some women do have similar pregnancies to their mothers, not all are created equal. It truly depends on a variety of factors.

2 Vomiting Means You're Having A Girl

As a woman with no children yet, there are plenty of people who believe morning sickness is apart of pregnancy. However, I have met plenty of women who never felt sick during their pregnancies. Sure, they didn't feel amazing 100% of the time, but they didn't need to puke violently throughout the day. How Stuff Works, however, explains the old wives tale saying if a woman is super sick during her pregnancy, she's having a girl. There's no truth to this, however, my best friend AND her sister were both very sick during their pregnancies and they both had girls! Weird.

1 Attending Funerals While Pregnant Is Bad Luck

There are a variety of cultures out there who believe in curses or hexes. Those fears of the unknown can intensify when pregnant. In the Jewish faith, they're told for mothers to stay away from funerals for fear of bad luck being cast upon the mother and child. Funerals aren't the only thing though — anything revolving around death needs to be nowhere in sight. While many women laugh at this hoax nowadays, there are plenty of women who still stay away from graveyards and such just in case...

References: Romper, The Bump, Baby Center, Baby Gaga, Parenting, What to Expect, How Stuff Works.

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