There’s a saying that claims if a pregnant woman doesn’t satisfy her food craving and scratches herself, the child will be born with a birthmark in the shape of the food she’s craving. And in some other cultures, there are many food restrictions for pregnant women. And while all of these pregnancy theories are amusing, they can be confusing to new mothers. One thing is for sure though: people all over the world just want to look out for expecting mothers and their babies.
We at Life Fun Facts are taking a look into various schools of thought regarding pregnancies in different cultures from around the world, and we learned what things women do to protect their babies.
- Philippines: Eat a raw egg just before delivery.
Women in the Philippines are told to eat a raw egg just before their delivery in order to help lubricate the birth canal. It’s believed that this will make pushing the baby out easier.
- Mexico: Avoid eating eggs.
There’s an old belief in Mexico that eating eggs when you’re expecting can make the baby smell bad.
- China: Don’t rub your belly.
Rubbing your bump seems like a natural thing to do, but according to an old wives’ tale in China, a pregnant woman should refrain from excessive rubbing on her tummy. It’s believed that doing so can cause the baby to become spoiled and fussy after birth.
- India: Wear bangles.
In some parts of India, a ceremony called valaikaapu is held to celebrate a pregnant woman in her seventh month of pregnancy. She will be adorned with bangles in both hands in odd numbers. The belief is that the loud bangle sound will induce the child’s senses and brain activity.
- Hawaii and Tahiti: Never wear a closed lei.
The only Hawaiian lei (a flower garland) that a pregnant woman can wear is an open-ended one. This is because a closed lei is considered bad luck for the baby. You can also wear a head haku (a flower crown) instead.
- Turkey: Avoid eating fish or ice cream.
Some women in cultural groups of Turkey are warned against eating fish while pregnant to prevent the baby from being born fish-mouthed. It is also said that eating ice cream can cause a hole in the baby’s head.
- Japan: Raw fish is part of a healthy diet.
While doctors in the US tell pregnant women to steer clear of raw fish because it can harbor bacteria, the Japanese encourage it. It’s considered to be a healthy part of a pregnancy diet.
- Hispanic culture: Wear metallic during a lunar eclipse.
This belief can be traced back to the Aztecs. An eclipse was believed to be a bite on the face of the moon, so if a pregnant woman watched it, her baby would have a cleft lip. For protection, she must carry something metallic, such as a safety pin, on her underwear.
- Bulgaria: Don’t eat rabbit meat or fish.
Rabbit meat is forbidden because it’s believed that if a pregnant mother eats it, the child will sleep with open eyes. And if a pregnant woman eats fish, her future child’s nose will be blocked up and they’ll snore.
- China: Sleep with a knife under the bed.
Chinese women may sleep with knives under their beds to scare away evil spirits. Some even have a
piece of paper cut to resemble a pair of scissors hanging from the bed.
- Jewish culture: Don’t accept gifts before the baby is born.
Although there is no actual law against it, mothers-to-be are advised not to have a baby shower or accept or open gifts before the baby is born. It’s believed that celebrating a child before he or she is born will draw evil spirits and result in bad luck for the child.
- Thailand: Don’t attend a funeral.
Some cultures believe that pregnant women shouldn’t attend funerals. For example, there is a belief in Thailand that says if a pregnant woman attends a funeral, her baby will be haunted by the spirit of a dead person once it’s born.
- Vietnam: Don’t step over a hammock.
In Vietnam, there are many pregnancy taboos, and one of them is that an expecting mother shouldn’t step over a hammock, otherwise, her baby will turn out to be lazy.
- Philippines: Eat (or don’t eat) twin bananas.
It’s said that if a mother-to-be eats twin bananas, it can increase her chance of having twins. So, depending on whether you want twins or not, you may choose to avoid them at all costs or try hard to get your hands on them. The same belief applies to eggs that come with twin yolks.
- Thailand: Eat lotus buds.
Thai women who hope to have easy births are told to eat lotus buds that have been chanted over by a Buddhist monk. Doing so is said to open their body up like a lotus flower, making the delivery easier.
- Korea: Eat the middle pieces of a kimbap.
The middle part of a kimbap is more organized and it’s prettier than the ends. So if you want good-looking babies, Korean people encourage you to eat appealing food such as the middle pieces of the kimbap. This applies not just to kimbap, but to other food as well, meaning you should eat the more appetizing part of the food.
What other dos and don’ts from different cultures have you heard? Do you have your own pregnancy beliefs that you abide by? Let us know!