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.
1. Babies Born In The Spring Won't Get Sick
The idea that babies born during the springtime won't get colds or flus in their first year because of when they were born just actually isn't true. O'Connell White tells Romper that the time of year that you're born has no bearing on whether or not you get sick because these kinds of illnesses are due to viruses.
Your baby might still get sick, even if someone told you that they definitely wouldn't because of when they were born.
2. If You See A Mouse, Your Baby Will End Up With A Hairy Birthmark
Darby Morris, a birth doula and the owner of Sweetbay Doula, tells Romper by email that she hasn't found any evidence that there's any relation to seeing a mouse while pregnant and your baby being born with a hairy birthmark.
Though neither seeing a mouse nor having a birthmark with hair are the absolute end of the world, the fact that these things likely aren't related is still something that many parents-to-be are probably happy to hear.
3. More Babies Are Born When There's A Full Moon
You may have heard that more babies are born when there's a full moon, just like you've heard other things about what happens when a moon is full, but this supposed fact about birth just really isn't true. Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald, MD, an OB-GYN, tells Romper in an email exchange that this is just "a myth."
4. Raising Your Arms Above Your Head Will Tangle The Umbilical Cord
"Reaching above your neck will tie the cord around the baby's neck — not true," Goodall McDonald says. Whether you thought that that was probably an untrue old wives' tale or you were concerned that it might actually be true, it's good to know that you can still raise your arms above your head while pregnant without having to worry about tangling the umbilical cord and endangering your baby.
5. Your Labor Will Be Just Like Your Mom's
Each birth is often different, which many people who've had more than one baby likely already know, so it might not be all that surprising to hear that the idea that your labor will definitely be just like your mom's is more of an old wives' tale than anything else.
Morris says that sometimes things like "fast labor can run in the family," so she advises that you still know what your mom's labor experience (or experiences) were like.
Still, O'Connell White says that labor experiences can vary wildly and just because your mom experienced something doesn't mean that that's how your labor experience will go.
6. Get A Child, Lose A Tooth
"Get a child, lose a tooth is disturbing and does not appear to be true," O'Connell White says. "I don't want to dwell on that one." She does say, however, that this idea could be tied to the risk to pregnant women of gum disease and oral health issues, so she recommends that you brush, floss, and otherwise take care of your teeth, gums, and mouth as always. It's definitely important.
7. Craving Certain Foods Result In Birthmarks Shaped Like The Food
It'd certainly be a little bit strange to see your baby born with a birthmark in the shape of the food you craved most while pregnant. The Atlantic reported that women from a number of cultures had heard that if you didn't eat the food you craved while pregnant, your baby would be born with a birthmark in the shape of that food, but that this is just an old wives' tale — not something that you actually really need to be worried about.
Some of the old wives' tales surrounding pregnancy and birth can be a bit unsettling, but knowing which might be true and which might be truly old wives' tales can help put your mind at ease.