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Popular Pregnancy Folklore

Even though medicine has made incredible advancements in recent decades, folklore and “old wives’ tales” are still discussed among pregnant women in the United States. Parents who are eager to learn their baby’s sex, for example, often conduct “tests” they hope will reveal the answer. Or, they may look at the pregnant woman’s symptoms and attempt to guess if she is carrying a boy or a girl. Other folklore includes “tricks” on how to induce labor. But is there any truth to these tips and tricks?

Some women swear that if a pregnant woman seems to be carrying her baby high, it’s a girl. If she carries low, the baby is a boy. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. But, since there is a 50/50 chance of getting the baby’s gender correct, the myth persists. People tend to remember when their “predictions” come true and forget about cases where they were wrong.

Some women also claim that the baby’s heartbeat provides insight into its sex. This myth claims that a heartbeat under 140 beats per minute means a boy, and one that is over 140 beats per minute means a girl. Again, studies have shown that a baby’s heart rate is not linked to its sex.

Then, there’s the wedding ring test. In this bit of folklore, you tie a wedding ring onto a string. Then, you hold the string over the pregnant woman’s belly. If the ring moves in a circle, it’s a girl. If it sways back and forth in a straight line, it’s a boy. Again, guess what? No science supports this theory.

Another myth is that a pregnant woman who suffers from heartburn will have a baby with a head full of hair. There is no truth to this statement, either. Of course, many babies are born with hair, and even more women suffer from heartburn during pregnancy, so at some point, someone made a connection, and the myth stuck around. One woman said, “I had heartburn so badly in all four of my pregnancies that I could spit fire, and all of my kids were born as bald as Uncle Fester.” Anecdotes like this tend to perpetuate myths.

By the end of their pregnancies, many women are exhausted and ready to give birth. Therefore, some myths provide tips on inducing labor. For example, some swear that walking will bring on labor—but there’s no truth to this belief. Others swear that eating Chinese food, drinking castor oil, having sex, using laxatives, and other extreme measures will speed up a baby’s arrival. However, doctors have said that the only one of these that may actually induce labor is having sex, because of a substance found in sperm.

Although it is fun for parents to talk about these myths and pass them around, science usually holds the answers they really want. Although it is hard, if parents want to know their baby’s sex, they simply must wait for an ultrasound that can provide that information or wait until their baby is born.

If a birth is traumatic, we can help

At The Eisen Law Firm , we know that a birth does not always go according to plan. If you or your baby was injured during pregnancy, labor, or delivery because of medical negligence, contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation. Call 216-687-0900 or contact us online today .