7 Asian Old Wives Tales About Pregnancy, Baby’s Gender, Health, And Appearance

Ally Villar
·5-min read

If there’s anything constant through generations of pregnancy, it is the urban legends, superstitions, and old wives’ tales. Pregnant mummies-to-be especially enjoy listening to these, especially if they pertain to more revelations about their babies before they’re even born.

Things like whether you’re having a boy or a girl, how they’re going to look when they grow up, or how pregnancy may affect your looks, can leave anyone curious. But this doesn’t mean we should instantly believe in all the old wives’ tales.

While it wouldn’t hurt to make wild guesses on your child’s gender and health, it’s important that you don’t hang on to some of them so much. To give a few examples, here are seven old wives tales about pregnancy that should make you question its reliability.

7 Old Wives Tales About Pregnancy

1. How round or heavy your pregnant belly is can reveal your baby’s gender

old wives tales about pregnancy
old wives tales about pregnancy

Image source: iStock

It is said that if a woman’s belly is round and carried upfront during pregnancy, it is due to the gestation of a baby boy. Then when the weight is distributed across your belly’s midsection, you can expect a baby girl on the way.

Of course, these claims are not exactly supported by any scientific explanation. How big or heavy your pregnant belly will be is based on the position of the foetus. So we wouldn’t recommend predicting your baby’s gender by the size of your belly during pregnancy. But its one that is still believed by many till date and in most cases has even come out to be true!

2. Pregnant women “lose their beauty” when expecting baby girls

Image source: iStock

Being told you’re “losing your beauty” is not exactly the ideal thing to say to somebody pregnant. In fact, it may one of the most horrible things you can comment on to someone, pregnant or not.

But it is somewhat of a common Asian old wives tale that a portion of a mother’s beauty gets sucked by her daughter. Meanwhile, a beautiful pregnant lady can expect a boy on the way. It may only be a shallow take on how girls are supposedly meant to replace their mothers as they grow up which is completely untrue.

Just as every woman is different, we also experience differing changes to our body while pregnant. And let us tell you now that it isn’t all going to be pretty. Which is, of course, absolutely normal when you have a whole baby growing inside of you.

3. Salty cravings during pregnancy means a boy is on the way

old wives tales about pregnancy
old wives tales about pregnancy

Image source: iStock

We all have our pregnancy food cravings which are normal when you’re expecting. But salty cravings are somehow specifically believed to be linked to having a boy. This is said to come from the notion that boys are the “salt of the earth” which would result in a mum-to-be craving for salty or spicy food.

But as such there is no scientific reason behind food cravings, there is also no proof that wanting salty food means you’ll have a boy. It is explained that women crave particular foods while pregnant due to an imbalance between serotonin and leptin. These are hormones responsible for feelings or reward and happiness, according to Medical News Today.

4. Cutting your hair may cause issues with your baby’s vision

old wives tales about pregnancy
old wives tales about pregnancy

Image source: iStock

There are many haircut superstitions to count, one of which is the Asian belief that cutting your hair while pregnant can affect your baby’s vision. Although, there is very little about haircuts that can harm your baby so you shouldn’t be worried.

If you’re talking about hairstyles during pregnancy, you should instead be careful about colouring your hair with the proper hair dye. If you want to have a completely new look aside from trimming your hair, it’s better to use hair dye void of any chemicals and ammonia-free to keep you and your baby healthy.

5. Raising your arms can cause a nuchal cord when you’re pregnant

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To those who don’t know, a nuchal cord is when the umbilical cord wraps around the infant’s neck completely or for 360 degrees, according to Medical News Today. With such a terrifying complication, it’s only natural for expecting mummies to want to avoid it as much as possible.

Which brought along the old wives tale that raising your arms while pregnant can result in a nuchal cord.

But what you should know is that nuchal cords are instead often caused by random movements of the foetus inside your belly. It is also said that excessive amniotic fluid or too long umbilical cords can cause such a condition.

6. Being exposed to “ugly things” could result in having “ugly babies”

Image source: iStock

It was originally believed in old Asian folklore that babies born with disabilities were because of ugly thoughts during pregnancy.

While it is preferred that you have a happy and healthy mind while you are pregnant. It’s also only normal to have bad days that lead you to dread the not-so-happy things in life. Especially since there are many mummies-to-be who experience prenatal depression.

7. Frequent heartburns during pregnancy means having a hairy baby

old wives tales about pregnancy
old wives tales about pregnancy

Image source: Stock

In a rare occurrence, this pregnancy superstition actually does have a recent study related to it. In 2020, research published in the Southeastern European Medical Journal found that an increased number of heartburn during pregnancy resulted in hairy babies.

Results showed that those who gave birth to babies with a lot of hair reportedly had severe heartburn in 45.9% of cases. So while not a huge case of concerns, do be careful of your health while pregnant, mummy-to-be.

Remember that every pregnancy experience is different for each expecting mummy. So focus instead on giving birth to a happy and healthy baby, no matter how they turn out to be.


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