You are here

Debunking Old Wives’ Tales About Pregnancy

Don't look at a mouse when you're pregnant -- if you do, your baby will be born with a hairy birthmark.

Not to alarm anybody, but pregnancy is fraught with peril. If you get really angry, your baby will be born angry. If you have any desire to stuff your swollen feet in high heels, you'd better put the shoes down -- now.

Slowly...slowly...good. You just avoided giving birth to a cross-eyed baby. And never eat strawberries. Or do you want a big red splotch on your newborn's skin?

If you're newly pregnant, you are starting to discover, and if you're knee-deep in diapers, then you already know: At no other point in your life will you be offered so many old wives' tales, that well-meaning advice that is usually utter nonsense.

Some of them are harmless fun. Who wouldn't enjoy tying a wedding ring to the end of a string, letting it hang over your pregnant belly, and waiting to see if it dangles in a circle or a straight line to predict whether the baby is a boy or girl? But other old wives' tales are scarier and better off divorced, like the one that says if you stretch your hands above your head, the umbilical cord will strangle your baby (completely false). There's enough to fret about when you're expecting and during an infant's first year without worrying about the impossible, which is why we're taking a modern look at some of the most common old wives' tales involving pregnancy and babies.