Traditional Chinese Superstitions on Pregnancy: Myth or Truth?
Discovering you’re expecting can be wonderful. If you think pregnancy is just a matter for you, your hubby and baby, you may be wrong. You are going to receive a lot of advice from people around you, focusing on and dos and don’ts during this critical period. Since those superstitions may cause you some unpleasant feelings, it’s a great chance to learn from these old pregnancy myths which you disagree with and talk with the elders.
#1 No Renovation or Moving to a New Home
Chinese believe that hammering nails or repainting your house will cause a baby with a birthmark or born disfigured. Also, staying in the current house may bring good luck to both mom and baby.
FACT: If you’re pregnant, you should avoid lifting heavy things and have too much exercise especially at first trimester. Moreover, you are advised to minimize the exposure to latex paints that contain ethylene glycol ethers and biocides to protect you and your growing fetus.
#2 No Pregnancy Announcement in the First 3 Months
People believe that a baby is unstable in the first 3 months and disclosing pregnancy too earlier may threaten it.
FACT: There’s a 20% chance of a miscarriage in the first trimester. Whether you talk about your pregnancy or not, it won’t affect your chance of a miscarriage. You are advised to have a regular prenatal checkup and talk with your OB-GYN doctor about the best way to protect your baby.
#3 No Eating Crabs or Seafood
Chinese, especially Hokkien pregnant mums are told to deliver a naughty and mischievous baby if they eat crabs during pregnancy. (In literal translation, the baby has many hands and legs, like a crab.)
FACT: Seafood is rich in protein, iron and zinc which is good for baby’s development. Pay attention to predatory fish like sharks and swordfish which contain high levels of mercury. Moreover, raw seafood should be avoided during pregnancy to prevent bacterial infections. As long as the crabs or seafood are well cooked, mums-to-be can eat them especially during the third trimester to promote baby’s brain development.
#4 No Attending Weddings & Funerals
In Chinese cultural belief, 2 happy events may have an opposite effect. The luck of the bride and groom may harm the health and luck of a mom-to-be. Also, funerals are known as an unlucky event in Chinese culture. That’s why an expecting mom should avoid it too.
FACT: In fact, pregnant women still have smooth pregnancies and deliveries when they go to a wedding. Don’t touch a pregnant mom’s shoulder or she may get frightened and result in contraction.
#5 No Eating Mutton, Rabbit or Snake
In Cantonese, mutton sounds similar to epilepsy.
FACT: There’s no evidence back for the belief of eating mutton, rabbit or snake during pregnancy may have a higher chance to get epilepsy, a cleft lip or a scaly baby. You are advised to take red meat in moderation since it contains high fat which can cause pregnancy complications.
#6 Don’t Block Ants or Mice Nests
You may have heard that blocking the nest of ants or mice will lead to difficult or complicated delivery.
FACT: Doctors may advise you to stay away from any pests and pesticides as they contain chemicals which are used to attack the nervous system of the pests.
#7 No Scissors or Needles on the Bed
Similarly, Chinese believe that using scissors or needles may lead to a baby with a cleft lip.
FACT: There’s no evidence that sewing or cutting on the bed can increase the risk of delivering a cleft lip baby. Bear it in mind, be happy, take more rest and avoid being too tired during pregnancy are the key to delivering a healthy baby.