Pregnancy Myths: Separating Fact from Fiction

Now that you're pregnant, you've probably heard lots of advice about things you should and shouldn't be doing. A lot of times in Latino culture, these beliefs are based on traditional superstitions. Abuelita
may take them quite seriously, and these old beliefs are a part of our cultural heritage—but, they can also give us a good laugh!

As an expectant mom, your main concern is your baby's well-being and pregnancy myths can sometimes cause unnecessary anxiety. Just be sure to keep in mind that they have no scientific basis and you shouldn't worry about them. So, have fun reading these myths. They'll give you an idea of how people thought in the past.

  1. If you have heartburn, your baby will be very hairy
    In reality, the amount of hair depends on the genes your baby inherits. If your husband or you have a lot of hair, it's quite likely that your baby will, too. Heartburn during pregnancy is related to factors such as the tissues being more relaxed due to hormones and the pressure of your uterus on the stomach.
  2. If you don't eat a lot of fruit during pregnancy, your baby will be "dirty"
    Eating fruit is always a healthy habit, and when you're pregnant it provides vitamins and minerals that are essential for your baby's growth. But there is no way of preventing your baby from being "dirty" when she's born. Newborns are covered with a white, cheesy substance called vernix caseosa, which protects their skin as they float in the amniotic fluid in your belly.
  3. If you eat a lot of cheese or dairy products, your baby will be born with cradle cap
    Dairy products are a healthy and necessary food group, and during pregnancy they provide the calcium required for your baby's growth. Cradle cap—the scaly or crusty patches that appear on some babies' heads—is not related to what the mother eats. It's caused by an excess of oil in the baby's scalp. It's harmless and very common, and will go away on its own.
  4. If you don't satisfy an expectant mom's cravings, you'll get a dark mark on your nose.
    Although many moms-to-be may wish they had that power, no link has been established between not satisfying those cravings and developing a blotch on the nose. Of course, you might want to keep this one a secret!
  5. If your belly is pointy, the baby will be a boy, and if it's rounder, she will be a girl.
    Before ultrasounds and amniocentesis existed, guessing the baby's gender was elevated to an art form, but the shape of the belly actually has to do with the mother's build. If the mom is small and thin, her belly will look different than if she is bigger and taller.
  6. If you tie a hair to the mother's wedding band and suspend it above her belly and it goes around in circles, the baby will be a girl. If it sways from side to side, the baby will be a boy
    No scientific theory proves that the movement of the ring is in any way related to the baby's gender, but it could be an entertaining game for a party or a baby shower.
  7. If you lift your hands above your head, your baby could be strangled by the umbilical cord
    The movements of your arms are in no way related to the movements of the umbilical cord. Exercising is very beneficial both for you and for your baby, and lifting your arms or sorting out the closet will not affect your baby's cord at all.
  8. If you see something ugly when you're pregnant, your baby will be ugly, too
    What you see during your pregnancy will not affect what your baby looks like. Genes are what affect your baby's looks (although, as we all know, there are no ugly babies!).
  9. If you watch a lunar eclipse during your pregnancy, your baby will have a cleft lip
    This very old myth can be traced back to the Aztecs. They believed that an eclipse was a bite on the face of the moon. If a mother watched it, the same thing would happen to her baby. The truth is that a cleft palate is caused by a blend of genetic and environmental factors.
  10. You can't take a bath during pregnancy because the dirty water will reach your baby
    As long as the water isn't too hot, you'll find a bath very relaxing, especially near the end of your pregnancy. Don't worry about the dirty water, either. Your uterus is sealed by a mucus plug to protect your baby, so the water can't come in.

By Lourdes Alcañiz, author of Esperando a mi bebé: una guía del embarazo para la mujer latina

© BabyCenter, 2008

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1) Follow your pregnancy and your baby's development week by week with our free weekly newsletters. Sign up today!
2) Read which herbs and traditional remedies you should avoid during pregnancy.
3) Find out your due date with our calculator.
4) Well-intentioned relatives may advise you to use certain medicines for pregnancy symptoms, but this is not always safe. Find out why.
5) Still looking for a name? Our Baby Name Finder offers you thousands of options to choose from!