The truth behind common pregnancy old wives’ tales

Posted in Stages of Pregnancy.

If you’re trying for a baby or lucky enough to be pregnant, you’ve probably heard every crazy theory there is about conceiving and the impending arrival. Usually from strangers and almost always with no science or truth behind the ideas whatsoever.

So which old wives’ tales are bandied about the most and is there any truth to the theories at all? We’ve done the research so you’ll know how accurate the prediction is next time someone hangs a wedding ring over your bump and tells you your baby’s sex.

Stress less

pregnancy test

If you’re having difficulty getting pregnant and happen to tell someone about your struggle, you’ll likely hear the ‘helpful’ advice to just relax and not think about babies, and “it will happen”. Yep. If you desperately want a baby it’s likely that babies are all you think about – and you’re so anxious for happy news so being told to calm down has the opposite effect.

But recent research from Emory University in the US found that stress can cause fertility problems. Researchers say that women who have particularly high levels of stress hormones in their body are less likely to conceive because the hormones impact ovulation. A relaxing beach holiday could be just what the doctor ordered.

Wedding ring swing

Tie your ring to a strand of your hair freshly plucked from your head (ouch!) and lie down while someone dangles the ring over your bump. If the ring starts to move in circles, it’s a boy. If it sways from side to side, you’re going to have a daughter. I had someone do this to me with my first pregnancy and the ring said it was going to be a girl. For the record, the ring was correct.

Lining up

pregnant mum bump belly girl linea nigra sl

The Linea Nigra, the dark line that runs up the middle of your belly during pregnancy is also another indicator if it’s going to be a girl or boy, so the old wives say. If it runs higher than your belly button, you should start shopping for blue things. If it stops below, it’s all pink for you.

Baby beats

This one is easy to test and is about the speed of the heartbeat from inside the womb when doc does a scan. Above 140 beats per minute and you’re carrying a girl. A slower heartbeat suggests a boy. It’s a complete myth, although my obstetrician says every time he’s tested the theory with his patients who have asked, it’s been correct.

Before we get too excited we shouldn’t forget a baby’s heart rate will change as a result of their maturity and activity.

Carry on

happy pregnant pregnancy baby bump

Your pre-pregnancy shape, muscle tone and the baby’s position have to be forgotten when looking for signs with this old wives’ tale. The theory is that if you’re carrying low, then it’s a baby boy. High? A girl. Out in front? Boy. Expanding across? Girl.

High and out in front? Well, that’s anyone’s guess. It goes to show that how you carry your bub while it grows has nothing to do with what is between its legs. It’s just you and your tummy muscles, nothing else.

Of course, a lot of these theories were probably much more popular back in the old days, before wonders of modern technology could accurately predict the gender of your bub.

If you like surprises and don’t know the sex, it can be fun to see if any of these indicators turn out to be true – we just wouldn’t want you to deck out the nursery based on the results of these guessing games (even though there’s a 50/50 chance they’ll be right)!

Hairy situation

Happy newborn baby making a funny face

I hear this one a lot: suffer from heartburn then your bub won’t be a baldy. Be prepared, those pains mean your bub will have lot of hair when it’s born. Nobody knows where this one started, but everyone says it can be debunked.

Feeling ginger

morning sickness

Morning sickness can be helped by munching a ginger bikkie, so they say. But some might actually find this one works. According to an advice column on the website of Dr Miriam Stoppard, research back in the in the 1980s found that 75 per cent of pregnant women who took the equivalent of a teaspoon of fresh ginger when they had morning sickness found it helpful. It might just be worth a try.

Double the fun

Heard it said that twins skip a generation? Some people think this means twins don’t have twins, but the children of twins do. The statement is based on the assumption that twinning is genetic, that twins run in families – but the website About Health says no. There are very few incidences of twins across every generation of a family’s lineage. And families who do exhibit an abundance of multiples, the “skip a generation” theory may have been proposed to explain the gaps.

Monkeying about

baby monkey orang utan sl

Before I even tell you about this one, I’ll say one thing – it’s RIDICULOUS. There’s an old theory that whatever animal the mum-to-be looks at during her pregnancy, then her unborn child may grow to resemble that animal. Monkeys in particular. No-one wants a monkey baby, so better steer clear of the zoo while you’re pregnant, or else. You have been warned.

Still on weird and wonderful theories, why not have a read of our post where we let you know exactly what those strange pregnancy cravings really mean.

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