According to Chew, the same relative again defied her in-laws for her next pregnancy — her second child was also born with a cleft lip. She adds, “During her third pregnancy, she didn’t cut or sew on the bed and the baby came out normal.”
You’ve probably come by various superstitions concerning pregnancy dos and don’ts. While these might be more myth than fact, you, like Chew, might want to err on the side of caution. We’ve rounded up popular pregnancy beliefs: Observe these ― or take with a pinch of salt not ― at your own discretion.
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1) Don’t announce your pregnancy during the first trimester
2) Steer clear of crabs or seafood during your pregnancy
WHY? Hokkien mums-to-be are usually advised to avoid crabs during their pregnancy as doing so may result in the birth of a “多手多脚的孩子” — a Chinese phrase used to describe a naughty and mischievous child. The phrase’s literal translation is “many hands and legs, just like a crab. This is a myth. Dr Tan Thiam Chye, head and senior consultant, Inpatient Service Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, says that you should skip eating raw seafood as it can result in bacterial infections like salmonella that may cause miscarriages. He adds, “There is no evidence to show that there are any harmful effects when eating well-cooked crabs during pregnancy.”
4) Don\’t cut or sew anything on the bed during your pregnancy
WHY? It is said that pregnant women who cut and sew while seated on the bed, near the bed or in the bedroom can cause you to deliver a baby with a cleft lip. Common sense should prevail, especially if you are quite clumsy, you probably shouldn\’t be sewing in bed. Otherwise, there\’s no evidence to suggest cutting and sewing in bed can lead to a cleft lip baby.
5) Don\’t sit at the sharp and pointed edge of a rectangular or square table
WHY? According to feng shui, a sharp point represents “sha qi” which translates to “killing” energy. If you adopt this sitting position, it is said that bad energy will be directed to the belly, which will harm your foetus. Myth.
6) Don\’t attend weddings during your pregnancy
WHY? Traditional Chinese wedding celebrations are usually held on an auspicious date calculated from the Four Pillars of Destiny (生辰八字), which is based on the bride and groom\’s birth date and time. Chinese believe that the qi (energy) and the “luck” of the bride and groom are highest on their wedding day. If the pregnant mother\’s 生辰八字 clashes with the energy of bride and groom, there\’s a risk that the counter force or energy will backfire and harm the health and luck of the pregnant mother, thus indirectly affecting the foetus. This is probably a myth as pregnant women are still spotted at weddings and they go on to have smooth pregnancies and easy deliveries
7) Don\’t attend funerals, if you do, wear a red scarf
WHY? Funerals are considered unlucky in Chinese culture, so pregnant women are advised to avoid going to funeral-related activities. If you have to, wearing an auspicious red scarf around the belly is said to counter the negative energy from funerals.
8) Don\’t look at frightening or ugly images of animals, babies or monsters
WHY? If mums look at them during the pregnancy, superstition has it that baby will resemble those animals, monsters or fictional characters. This is a myth as a baby’s appearance is determined by their parents' DNA.
9) Avoid renovating, redecorating or moving to a new home during your pregnancy
WHY? Chinese superstition has it that hammering nails, sticking things to the wall or re-arranging furniture — that includes pillows — will harm the baby’s “spirit” or cause your foetus to change its position. The Chinese also advise against moving to a new house during pregnancy, especially if the baby was conceived at the former home as they believe that the “luck” was present there. Also, repainting your home during pregnancy is discouraged as it may cause your child to have a birthmark. Incidentally, all these beliefs are myths that aren\’t backed up by any scientific evidence. You should, however, avoid carrying heavy things and exercising excessively during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, Dr Tan advises. So, keep moving and major renovation to after bubba is born.
10) You can dictate your baby’s destiny if you opt for a C-section
WHY? The Chinese believe one’s destiny and fortune is determined by their Four Pillars of Destiny (生辰八字), which is calculated based on the time and date of your baby’s birth. It is believed that manipulating the time and date of bubba’s birth by opting for an elective C-section might give their offspring a better and more successful life. Probably a myth although pregnant Chinese women have been known to visit geomancers to learn when’s the best time to give birth.