Updated 28 May 2014

Tall tales about pregnancy

Every woman who has ever been pregnant knows that she immediately becomes public property. And every person has some old wives' tale or theory to tell. Some of them quite grim.


Every woman who has ever been pregnant knows that she immediately becomes public property.

Strangers who under normal circumstances would not even have considered asking her the time, will now feel free to ask when she is due, talk about their own birth experiences (usually grim – and becoming grimmer with every retelling), ask whether it was a boy or a girl – or even touch her stomach.

Together with becoming public property, a pregnant woman becomes a receptacle for endless unsolicited advice, and a myriad of old wives’ tales, most of which are not only untrue, but also downright foreboding. Considering the fact that many pregnant women spend a lot of time feeling nauseous, people take quite a chance retelling some of the following tales, most of which are, of course, completely untrue.

The Good (or at least amusing)

  • If you crave sweets, you will have a girl
  • If you crave meat or cheese, you will have a boy
  • If your mother had an easy pregnancy, you will too
  • Suspend a needle from some thread and have someone hold it one inch above your hand. If the needle swings back and forth, you will have a girl and if it moves in a circle, you will have a boy
  • A boy is carried high, a girl is carried low
  • Think happy thoughts to have a happy baby
  • Massage yourself with olive oil during the pregnancy – it will help the baby to slide out easily
  • Babies born in April are unpredictable individuals

The Bad (especially if you have morning sickness)

  • If a pregnant woman looks at a mouse, the baby will have a hairy birthmark
  • Harelip is caused by the foetus sucking its thumb in utero
  • Wearing high-heels causes the baby to be cross-eyed
  • Wearing tights or pantyhose causes pregnant women to develop a discharge
  • Eating strawberries during pregnancy will mark the baby with a bright red birthmark
  • Nausea of morning sickness stops as soon as skin grows on the baby

The Ugly (not for the fainthearted)

  • Don’t borrow a maternity dress from a woman who has had a miscarriage because this will cause you to miscarry
  • You lose one tooth for every pregnancy
  • Reaching above the head or stretching wraps the umbilical cord around the baby’s neck
  • Very severe heartburn indicates unruly hair on the baby
  • If a child is born with teeth, that’s a sign of syphilis

If you believe any of the above, you will also believe in the tooth fairy, you will stay in bed on Friday the 13th and have full faith in the stork being the actual reason for the continued existence of the human race.

Read more:
Visit Health24’s Pregnancy Zone

(Susan Erasmus, Health24)


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