Unless you have experienced them before, both pregnancy and birth can feel like completely new experiences from anything you've ever been through. And while there's a lot of excitement and anticipation surrounding meeting your little one and growing your family, it can also be an intimidating and overwhelming time. You might find yourself reading books, magazines, or websites or asking friends and family members who have kids about every little thing. Though some of the information you'll find is solid, some things are more old wives' tales than anything else. The creepiest old wives' tales about pregnancy and birth can be weird, surprising, or down-right scary, so knowing what's fact from what might not be exactly true can help put you at ease during a time when everything feels new and different.
You may have heard some of the prevalent — but more benign and less strange or scary — old wives' tales about pregnancy and birth, like that having heartburn while you're pregnant might mean that your baby will be born with a lot of hair. And the fact of the matter is, some old wives' tales — creepy or not — are, in fact, actually true. These creepier old wives' tales about pregnancy and birth might be intriguing or even a bit scary, but they're things that you might hear over the course of your pregnancy, so knowing which may have some truth to them and which really don't can be useful whenever they come up.
1. Gain A Baby, Lose A Tooth
The idea that when moms give birth, they'll lose a tooth isn't true, in the sense that it's not a one-for-one kind of transaction. Dr. Katharine O'Connell White, MD, MPH, an OB-GYN and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Boston University School of Medicine, tells Romper that this old wives' tale likely comes from the idea that pregnant women are more susceptible to gum disease and oral health issues.
"So all I’ll say about that is continue to brush and continue to floss and don’t worry about it," O'Connell White says.
2. Eat Veggies When You're Pregnant & Your Baby Will Like Them
You may have heard old wives' tales about how what you eat during pregnancy can affect what your baby might like or dislike later on. One such old wives' tale is that if you eat lots of vegetables when you're pregnant, your baby will like those same vegetables once you introduce solids into their diet.
O'Connell White says that there might actually be some semblance of truth to this one, at least, to a certain extent. "So there is some thin evidence that flavors of food do pass into amniotic fluid; that by the middle of pregnancy, you can detect a difference in the fluid that surrounds the baby, based on what you eat," O'Connell White says. "This is especially true for garlic, but it is true for a lot of different foods and there is a suggestion that familiarity with the foods that Mom ate while pregnant means the baby will like them more when you start introducing solids. But it is not a strong association and there’s no association with your child actually eating those as they get older."
So even if your love of carrots does, in fact, transfer over to your baby, that doesn't guarantee that they'll continue to love them (and eat them) forever.
3. More Babies Are Born When The Barometric Pressure Changes
This old wives' tale, too, might actually have a bit of truth to it. Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald, MD, an OB-GYN, tells Romper by email that there is actually a study that was published that found that more babies (both full-term and premature) were born when the change in barometric pressure was larger. So big swings in barometric pressure might, in fact, mean that there will be more babies.
4. Looking At Ugly Animals Cause Your Baby To Resemble That Animal
Everyone's definition of what qualifies as an "ugly" animal is different, but this strange old wives' tale is, luckily, not true. Britannica noted that there doesn't seem to be any evidence that looking at animals impacts your baby's appearance.
5. A Full Moon Leads To Labor
You may have heard all sorts of theories, superstitions, and old wives' tales about behavioral changes and more when there's a full moon, but the idea that more babies are born under a full moon just isn't true. Goodall McDonald says that full moon and labor being linked is just a myth.
6. The Day Your Baby Is Born Determines Their Traits
There's an old wives' tale that revolves around a poem or song that says that babies born on certain days of the week have certain traits, as Disney Baby noted. While your Monday-born baby might be the most beautiful baby you've seen in the whole world, you'd probably think that no matter what day of the week they were born.
7. Baby Girls Steal Your Beauty
Another old wives' tale you might hear, particularly if you're pregnant with a baby girl, is that baby girls "steal" their mom's beauty, resulting in dull-looking skin, limp hair, acne, and more. As the aforementioned article from Britannica noted, hormonal changes are often responsible for acne, fatigue, and other circumstances that might make them look a little more worn down.
8. Lifting Your Arms In The Air Will Tangle The Umbilical Cord
If you'd heard this, chances are you'd be at least a little bit hesitant to lift your arms over your head, but, Goodall McDonald says that this old wives' tale about tangling your baby's umbilical cord isn't true. Lift your arms if you feel like it — or if you just need to reach something on the top shelf.
9. Eating Spicy Food Will Burn Your Baby's Eyes
The old wives' tale that eating spicy foods while you're pregnant will burn your baby's eyes and cause blindness is frightening, to be sure, but, luckily, it's also untrue. Healthline noted that it's safe for moms-to-be to indulge in spicy foods, but that doing so might cause heartburn. Bring on the spicy food — and the pregnancy-safe antacids.