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How to Understand Pregnancy Superstitions

You’ve heard the practical advice, now here’s how to understand pregnancy superstitions.


  • Step 1: Understand post-birth superstitions. In Peru, some women put salt on their tongue if the placenta doesn't come out on its own, while a Chinese tradition has mothers brush the lips of children who are 100-days old with cooked chicken tongue to promote good speech development.
  • Step 2: Understanding these pregnancy superstitions doesn’t hurt, just remember: there’s no substitute for doctor's visits to ensure the health of mother and baby.
  • FACT: In 2009, a British woman spent 20 days in labor.
  • TIP: To guard against umbilical cord problems during birth, never give a pregnant woman a closed Hawaiian lei.
  • Step 3: Consider childbirth superstitions. Some women in the French countryside wear their husband's hat to hasten delivery, while some Indian women believe that drinking the water that their mother-in-law has dipped her big toe in will speed up labor.
  • Step 4: Doctors know that vascular birthmarks are caused by blood vessels that collect under the skin. But superstitions instruct pregnant women to avoid looking at fire and overindulging in red berries to prevent them.
  • Step 5: Understand superstitions surrounding a baby's physical appearance. According to Mexican superstition, pregnant women should stay inside during full moons to keep babies from having cleft palates, while Ugandan women have been told not to drink water while standing to prevent their babies from being born with squinty eyes.
  • Step 6: Check out ways to ward off evil spirits during pregnancy. In Guatemala, some women wear a sack of garlic around their necks, while Jewish superstitions encourage parents not to buy anything for the baby or discuss names until after the child's born.

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