If pregnancy and birth are new experiences for you, it can all seem a little daunting and you're likely to seek advice from just about wherever you can find it. Old wives' tales, superstitions, and general advice from well-meaning friends, family, coworkers, and relative strangers can help you feel like you have a better understanding about what's happening and what sorts of things you can expect moving forward. If you eat this, this will happen. If you do this, you'll go into labor. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. There are many creepy old wives' tales about pregnancy and birth that aren't true that you likely want to know about, particularly if you're getting a ton of unsolicited (but well-intentioned) advice.
Some old wives' tales or urban myths, whether about pregnancy and birth or not, can have some tiny bits of truth to them, while others just really don't have much basis in reality or scientific evidence to back them up. There's a lot about pregnancy and birth that's new or confusing for people, particularly if they're preparing for their first child. If you hear advice that you're really uncertain about and want to know if there might be any truth to it, talking about it with your doctor can be a good idea. You might feel embarrassed to ask about certain things, worried that it'll make you sound silly or uninformed, but you really shouldn't be. Dr. Katharine O’Connell White, MD, MPH, an OB-GYN and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston University School of Medicine, tells Romper that your doctor can help set the record straight, find the information that comes from a good and reputable source, and help you navigate which kinds of weird, strange, or creepy bits of information are true and which are simply old wives' tales.