Are Those Old Wives' Tales about Pregnancy and Motherhood True?

Are Those Old Wives' Tales about Pregnancy and Motherhood True?

Whether it's generational, cultural, or just part of becoming a mom, chances are you've heard a couple of old wives' tales from your grandmother, mother, or friend. There are a lot of myths and stories out there about how to figure out your baby's gender or what certain cravings mean or what things you need to worry about after having a baby--like your cat smothering your baby (yes, you read that right). Some sound too crazy to be true, but others make you wonder whether there's some truth behind the tale. Some will give you peace of mind, some will be fun to try out, and some will just make you laugh. Here we go!

Pregnancy Myths

Heartburn means baby will have a head full of hair: MOSTLY TRUE
  • Though it's not guaranteed, there's an actual link that connects heartburn during pregnancy with baby's hair. Heartburn increases in the third trimester, which is due to the release of the hormone estrogen. Estrogen is attributed as the cause of hair growth in babies. 

heartburn baby

What you crave will determine baby's genderMOSTLY TRUE
  • This one isn't 100% guaranteed or proven, but it is said that women who have carried both genders feel that when they were pregnant with a boy, they were more inclined to eat salty food, and when they were carrying a girl, they craved sweet food. 
The full moon increases frequency of birthFALSE
  • The belief is that the gravitational pull of the moon can influence when the mom will go into labor. Just like the moon's effects on earth's tide, it can affect the amniotic fluid in the womb. This tale dates back hundreds of years and does sound very cool, so it's tempting to believe it, but unfortunately, studies have been done and there's actually no scientific proof validating it. 
If you're breaking out, you're having a girl: MOSTLY FALSE
  • The wives' tale is that baby girl steals mom's beauty, creating acne. Our hormone levels are a circus during pregnancy, and this is actually just something that is very common in pregnancy whether you're having a boy or girl.
Morning sickness predicts gender: FALSE 
  • I am evidence that this is not true! I have had horrible morning sickness with both genders. It didn't change at all whether the baby was a boy or a girl. But even though there is no way to predict this, some women have said they had worse sickness with girls than with boys, but also vice versa. 

morning sickness

Wearing high heels will cause your baby to be cross eyedFALSE

    • I'm happy to say that this is far from being true. It's just highly recommended that you don't wear them because of the change of your center of gravity during pregnancy. It can make you much more prone to falling. You also become more at risk of injury because your feet naturally swell during pregnancy, so heels can feel unstable, not to mention uncomfortable.
    Carrying low/high predicts genderFALSE
    • According to this one, if you're carrying the baby high, you're having a girl, and if you're carrying low, it's a boy. Even though there's no truth behind this myth, you do tend to carry higher with your first pregnancy because the muscles in the uterus are less elastic than they become after having more pregnancies; the more kids you have the, more elastic those muscles become, so you can start showing sooner.
    It's not okay to take a bath while pregnant: FALSE
    • No worries here on this one, your baby is not in any danger at all if you take a bath. Your baby is totally protected in the womb. Just don't make the water too hot--and avoid saunas and hot tubs.
    While pregnant you should eat for two: FALSE
    • This one seems very logical, right? You and your baby need all the food you can get--it's double the people. Actually, just because you're carrying a baby doesn't mean you need to eat twice the meal. Have your cravings, girl, but don't overdo it. Baby will get plenty of nourishment and keep growing strong in your womb with your normal portioned meal!

    Post-Pregnancy Myths 

    Giving cold drinks to babies and children will make them get sick: FALSE
    • First, you should consult to your pediatrician about giving your baby any liquid besides formula or breast milk after 6 months, but, no, cold drinks will not get them sick. Babies will naturally want the warmer option to help soothe them, but cold milk can help with teething pain, according to some moms. 
    Wearing shoes will help a baby learn how to walk sooner: FALSE
    • Unfortunately, no, this will not help. Shoes are used to protect one's feet, so putting shoes with hard, inflexible soles on your child before they learn to walk can actually restrict their natural foot movement. Yes, they are cute, but you can always just put on some socks (even some with non slip soles) or have them go barefoot.
    To produce more breast milk, you should drink milk: FALSE
    • You're probably thinking that the more I drink milk, the more I will produce my own milk. Yes, drinking liquids can help, but milk over any other liquid doesn't make a difference. Stick to water. 
    Don’t exercise while pregnant or breastfeeding: FALSE
    • The real issue with exercising during pregnancy/postpartum has to do with the intensity. Exercise is good and important throughout pregnancy and afterward, but it can be dangerous if you overexert yourself. Don't overwork yourself or lift more weight than is recommended. (Talk to your OB for more specifics about what's right for your body.) 

    exercise pregnant

    Thumb sucking causes deformed teeth: TRUE/FALSE
    • This is a tricky one because it depends on the length of time the child sucks his thumb and who you ask about it. Thumb sucking can definitely cause problems if they've been doing it for a long time (years) and there's a lot of motion when they do it. It can affect the shape of the jaw, the sensitivity of the roof of the mouths, create an overbite, and expose your child to more bacteria and viruses. However, an occasional or brief bout of thumb sucking probably won't leave any long-term problems.
    Cats will steal your baby's breath out of their mouth: FALSE
    • There's an urban legend that a cat will take the air out of your baby's mouth. This is obviously untrue. However, you should always keep an eye on the cuddling your cat may do with your baby. If the cat settles to close to your baby's face, it may pose a suffocation risk. It's best to keep kitty away from the baby's sleeping space. Actually, cats pose a risk to pregnant women in the form of toxoplasmosis, a sickness carried by parasites in cat feces. Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid changing the cat's litter box, or do so only once a day and with gloves on.

    cat and baby

    • You can still get pregnant while breastfeeding or before your period returns-TRUE : Breastfeeding may sound like a bullet proof birth control while your nursing time but unfortunately this is false. It can delay ovulation. Some women get their first period as early as 4 weeks and some very well after 6 months. Now as for breastfeeding
    • Little babies should drink water -FALSE: I've been told this one because they think that formula/breast milk doesn't give the right type of hydration to a baby. There are several reasons why you shouldn't  , but your child's pediatrician will agree with this that a baby only needs formula/mom's milk for this first 6 month, even past then. The milk is the exact type of hydration they need plus it also gives them all the nutrition they need for their growing bodies. Ask your doctor after 6 month/1 year when they think it is a good time to start introducing water to them.

    So you see a lot of these wives tales are mostly false because they were made up or told a long time ago because of different reasons, especially one of them not being studied enough/correctly, but ones about gender can be fun to try out (in a safe way of course) . You may also find that some of these are true for you and some that are just true to people you know. Pregnancy and after birth is a beautiful experience that hits all us moms differently.


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