When I look back at both my pregnancies, I’ve realized that the time I carried my son (he is 6 years now) and my daughter (she turns 3 soon); I had totally different experiences.
Looking back, I can say that I heard a whole lot of old wives tales during my pregnancies. While most of them weren’t more than words, there were some that actually worked for me and actually - I realized over a period of time - deemed true!
It’s no proven science of course, but well, I did find some of these intriguing. I wondered if in my case, these old wives tales might actually be true
Old wife tale #1 “If you can’t get pregnant, stop stressing”
This! As goes the folklore, it’s something my doctor confirmed too. If you are stressed, you are less likely to get pregnant.
That's because stress can affect the functioning of the hypothalamus — the gland in the brain that regulates your appetite and emotions, as well as the hormones that tell your ovaries to release eggs. If you're stressed, you may ovulate later in your cycle or not at all. Happy stress or sad stress, the way your body reacts, varies from woman to woman. So once I actually stopped thinking about having a baby, is when I had the baby!
Old wife tale #2 “Don’t tell anyone for the first three months!”
I really never understood this and I always wondered what the big deal was. But then my mom sat me down and explained that the first 12 weeks are absolutely crucial to the growth of the baby. Vital body organs are being formed and what we do during this stage has a life long impact on the baby. The baby is most vulnerable during this phase and the chances of a miscarriage drops dramatically post this time, she said.
As much as I hated my mom’s suggestion, I kind of understood her need to be cautious. So while we did share the glorious news with very close friends and family, we refrained from putting it up on social media till we were well into the pregnancy.
Old wife tale #3 “If you have a long labour; it’s probably a boy!”
While there are so many pregnancy myths floating around, some scientific studies do prove that boys can possibly induce a longer labour than girls simply because they have bigger heads!
Precisely why, while having a normal delivery, a boy might take longer to arrive than a girl. My stubborn one just won’t come out and eventually, we had to do a C-section!
Old wife tale #4 “Your child will eat what you eat during your pregnancy.”
While I was pregnant, while I nursed, this is all I heard! Talk about the pressure of eating healthy during, and post pregnancy. But this, apparently, is almost true. I observed that with my second born I was a healthy eater (because my first one was watching) My daughter is a far big eater of vegetables than my son is.
Studies say that the food and drinks you consume add flavour to the amniotic fluid that the fetus starts swallowing in the second trimester. So apparently the baby in the womb gets a taste of flavours via the amniotic fluid. It is during the second trimester that - if you eat a good load of vegetables, the babies in the utero are more likely to develop a preference, when they start weaning towards solid.
Flavors from your diet are also transmitted through your breast milk. To back this study (as published in Pediatrics) little babies whose nursing moms ate bitter things or green vegetables themselves, ate green vegetables three times more than other babies did.
Old wife tale #5 “Gaining weight only on the tummy? It’s a boy!”
Yup. I looked quite in shape from behind (my husband said my butt looked better while I was pregnant with my son than it looked ever before)! All the weight seemed to have come right in the front where the baby was. Other than that, I really don’t think I exploded weight wise anywhere else.
Contrary to this, while I was expecting my daughter, I was abundant all around. My thighs and hips were practically exploding! I can probably thank my mother-in-law for predicting the gender of both the kids with this old-fashioned trick. I still won’t, put much money on this folklore.
Old wife tale #6 “Heartburn means the baby has hair!”
My older one was practically bald and I experienced some nausea during his pregnancy. But my second one actually sent me to the OPD twice on account of acute nausea and vomiting! By the end of this I was certain that I expecting a Rapunzel! And she did have a fair amount of hair. The scientists behind a study conducted at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore theorized that it might be due to pregnancy hormones. Higher levels would both prompt lots of hair growth and relax esophagus muscles, causing gastric reflux.
Old wife tale #7 “The Growing Nose!”
I laughed aloud when I heard this from my grandmother the first time. She looked at me and chirped in Punjabi “Tera naak te vada lagda paya hai. Munda hoega!” I couldn’t in the name of God understand where this originated from! But as the months progressed, I felt that my nose did seem bigger. Thankfully (or I imagined it so) it came back to size when my little man came. Weirdest thing ever heard isn’t it!
Old wife tale #8 “Don’t take a hot bath.”
I think what my maternal aunt meant by this was “Don’t take a very hot bath.” Ideally when you are pregnant, you should be careful about not increasing your body temperature too high (since it’s already higher than usual). This would include soaking in a very hot water tub or a hot Jacuzzi.
Old wife tale #9 “Chocolate helps relieve you of cramps.”
I love this one. It totally works to my interest too! Studies suggest that chocolate contains nutrients and antioxidants such as anandamide, which can have a calming effect, and keep anxiety and moods in balance. So now you can indulge without feeling guilty!
Have you experienced any old wives tales that have worked for you too? Do share in the comments below!