Ten Old Wives' Tales About Pregnancy

Old Wives' Tale #1: The Telltale Carry

One of the most common gender-predictors is the way you carry your baby. Legend has it that if you’re carrying low, you’re carrying a boy; a higher bump means a little girl. Some claim that if you carry in front, you’re expecting a boy; expand horizontally and wait for a girl. Science begs to differ. The way you carry your unborn has nothing to do with gender. Muscle, uterine tone and the baby’s position dictate how you carry.

Old Wives' Tale #2: Urine Testing

This is one old wives’ tale that’s actually dangerous to consider. For years, expectant mothers have mixed their urine with Drano, predicting gender based on the color of the resulting liquid. There’s no consistent consensus as to which color indicated which gender, so staring into a greenish, bluish, or brownish bowl of liquid still gives you complete interpretation freedom. Most disturbing, however, is that the combination of urine and Drano poses a threat of fumes and explosion. This is one tale not worth pursuing.

Old Wives' Tale #3: Heart Rate Decoder

Does heart rate point to gender? This old wives’ tale claims that the fetal heart rate of a girl will exceed 140, while that of a boy will be slower. In reality, the fetal heart rate fluctuates with growth and movement. Just as your heart rate increases when you exercise, your unborn child’s heart rate speeds up when doing gymnastics in the womb. It is a scientific fact, however, that a girl’s heart rate increases more than a boy’s during labor.

Old Wives' Tale #4: Crave It

Craving sweets? Decorate that nursery in pink. Demanding sour pickles? Spend more time brainstorming boy names. While cravings might be a great opportunity to indulge in chocolate guilt-free, don’t draw a correlation between what you want to eat and who’s little mouth you’ll be feeding in the near future. The scientific community doesn’t even recognize your cravings as real; ignore those scientists and indulge anyway, but don’t put stock in this old wives’ tale.

Old Wives' Tale #5: Don’t Bathe

There’s an old wives’ tale that warns pregnant women to avoid baths. This is based on misinformation about how the body works; the fetus is protected and insulated in the womb, and water doesn’t seep into the woman’s body when bathing, so the fear of bacteria-by-bath is unfounded. Doctors do advise that expectant mothers keep their bath water under 100 degrees; enjoy the back-pain-relieving benefits of a nice, long soak.

Old Wives' Tale #6: Body Clues

According to an almost-endless list old wives’ tales, the changes in your body will tell you the gender of your baby. While none of them have any basis in scientific fact, it’s certainly amusing to speculate based on the following observations: a girl steals her mother’s beauty; a girl causes acne; dry hands indicate a boy; cold feet point to a boy; a larger left breast indicates a girl; dark nipples are signs of a son.

Old Wives' Tale #7: Umbilical Cord Drama

Tale: If you hold your hands above your head, your unborn offspring will be strangled by the umbilical cord. It’s a terrifying thought, and a completely unnecessary fear. Your physical movements will not dictate the position of the umbilical cord; the activeness of the little one will partially determine this. Almost one-third of all births have the cord around the neck; you cannot strangle your infant from activity while pregnant.

Another strange superstition is that wearing a lei causes umbilical cord strangulation. Clearly, superstition does not need to be based in reality.

Old Wives' Tale #8: Drink Your Baby Clean

Hydration is important. Your water intake, however, does not dictate the cleanliness of the babe in your womb. The old wives’ tale that your eight glasses a day keeps the amniotic fluid clean is a complete myth. You don’t have to worry about bathing your child until he/she is born.

Old Wives' Tale: #9 Sympathy Weight

While you’re indulging in your ice-cream cravings, it’s easy for the dad-to-be to gain a few sympathy pounds. Tradition accounts for dad’s weight gain as an indication that a girl is on her way. Really, the extra pounds only point to dad’s quality time with mom, Ben, and Jerry.

Old Wives' Tale #10: Jewelry Speaks

Some swear by these fun gender-predictors. Using a string, hand your wedding ring over your belly. If it swings back and forth, expect a girl; swinging in a circle promises a boy. The opposite is true (back and forth means a boy) if you hold a necklace over your hand.