10 Chinese pregnancy myths: True of false? [Photo Gallery]

Whether they are “pantang” or not, some Chinese mums-to-be still abide by a host of pregnancy beliefs…

Flip through our gallery or swipe left for more
Flip through our gallery or swipe left for more
03 Jul 2018

Flip through our gallery or swipe left for more

When Grace Chew, 29, was pregnant with her daughter, she made it a point to avoid sewing on the bed and got her mother to fix the hole in her shirt, instead.

 

She explains, “I had a relative who cut and sew on her bed, even though her mother-in-law told her not to. In the end, she gave birth to a baby boy with a cleft lip.”

 

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.

 

Scroll through the gallery to learn more…

1) Don’t announce your pregnancy during the first trimester
1) Don’t announce your pregnancy during the first trimester
03 Jul 2018

1) Don’t announce your pregnancy during the first trimester

WHY? SmartParents expert and Gleneagles Hospital's consultant ob-gyn Dr Christopher Chong notes that most miscarriages occur within the first trimester of pregnancy, so there may be some truth to this belief. That said, announcing or talking about your pregnancy during its first trimester doesn’t reduce your chance of a miscarriage. In fact, the “culprits” tend to be pre-existing health conditions, so do go for regular health checks and get prenatal tests to protect your developing baby.

2) Steer clear of crabs or seafood during your pregnancy
2) Steer clear of crabs or seafood during your pregnancy
03 Jul 2018

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.

3) Don’t eat mutton
3) Don’t eat mutton
03 Jul 2018

3) Don’t eat mutton

WHY? Pregnant Cantonese women abstain from eating mutton as the word in Cantonese sounds similar to epilepsy. However, eating mutton won’t increase your child’s risk of getting epilepsy, so enjoy this meat in moderation. Do note that consuming too much of this read meat, that's high in fat, can lead to poor heart health or high blood pressure, which can cause pregnancy complications.

4) Don’t cut or sew anything on the bed during your pregnancy
4) Don’t cut or sew anything on the bed during your pregnancy
03 Jul 2018

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
5) Don’t sit at the sharp and pointed edge of a rectangular or square table
03 Jul 2018

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
6) Don’t attend weddings during your pregnancy
03 Jul 2018

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
7) Don’t attend funerals, if you do, wear a red scarf
03 Jul 2018

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
8) Don’t look at frightening or ugly images of animals, babies or monsters
03 Jul 2018

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
9) Avoid renovating, redecorating or moving to a new home during your pregnancy
03 Jul 2018

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
10) You can dictate your baby’s destiny if you opt for a C-section
03 Jul 2018

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.

Photos: iStock

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