Just Another Old Wives’ Tale

Pregnancy is an exciting, albeit stressful, time in a woman’s life. It seems that as soon as people know that you have a bun in the oven, you are bombarded with all kinds of advice. What to eat, what not to eat. What to wear. What to do, what not to do. Then there’s a very special type of advice; the kind that is steeped in history. Yup, we’re talking about the famous (or infamous) Old Wives’ Tales.

If there is ever a time in your life when you will have popular Old Wives’ Tales drummed into your head, it’s when you are pregnant, or when your child is an infant. Let’s look at some popular Old Wives’ Tales and discover just how much truth there is to them:

‘If you’re carrying high, it’s a girl’

This is a very popular one! If your bulging belly is higher up in your torso, it’s a girl, and if you are carrying low, it’s a boy. Many obstetricians joke that this one has at least a 50/50 chance of being right! The only scientifically proven reason why you may be ‘carrying high’ is if it is your first pregnancy. This is because the muscles that hold your uterus against your spine and keep your baby high above the pelvis become more elastic with each pregnancy.

In conclusion, if you want to know the gender of your baby, you’re going to have to wait until your ultrasound.

‘A lot of heartburn means that your baby will be born with a full head of hair’

This Old Wives’ Tale is also too broad to have any truth. Heartburn is a common complaint in pregnancy, and whether you suffer from it or not, your baby may be born with a full mane or no hair at all.

‘Your cravings mean that your baby is trying to tell you something.’

Women who have strong cravings are simply falling prey to their swinging hormones. Don’t pig out unnecessarily on unhealthy foods purely because you believe that your baby wants them. This can lead to extreme, unnecessary weight gain. Odd cravings, however, such as laundry detergent, paint or soil, are called pica and usually indicate an iron deficiency. If you crave unusual non-edibles such as these, speak to your obstetrician.

‘Darker nipples mean that you are having a boy’

Here’s another gender-based tale that couldn’t be further from the truth. Pregnancy hormones make your nipples darker anyway, regardless of the gender of your baby.

‘Never iron while pregnant, it could induce early labour’

Ironing is no-one’s favourite task. This one was probably made up by women who simply wanted to be exempt from this chore for nine months! Sorry ladies, you can keep on doing laundry using fabric softener, ironing and doing a myriad of other house chores if you feel up to it.

‘Never tickle your baby’s feet; it will give him / her a stutter’

This one is so ridiculous it doesn’t even need any debunking! Keep tickling your little one’s feet. What could be cuter than their delightful giggling?

‘If you whip egg whites to a foam and rub it on your baby’s ankles and knees it will make their bones stronger and they will walk sooner’

This Old Wives’ Tale (almost obviously) holds no scientific truth to it. Continue to feed your baby breastmilk or formula to give them the calcium that they need in order to develop strong bones.

‘If a toddler bends over and looks through their legs, their mom is pregnant’

Because they are looking for their forthcoming brother or sister, of course! This one is also not scientifically proven to be true. In fact, bending and doing these kinds of acrobatics are a normal part of development for our little walkers.

All these Old Wives’ Tales (and there are many, many more) are amusing at best and annoying at worst. In most instances, they originated many, many years ago, and we all know that science wasn’t as advanced back then as it is now. That being said, at the very least, these tales are sure to give you a good giggle.