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During pregnancy

In the early months of pregnancy, women should not do any heavy work or have
sexual intercourse to avoid a miscarriage.

Putting sharp objects on the bed (such as knives or scissors) can result in the baby
being born with a cleft lip or palate.

Touching anything with glue or adhesive can cause the baby to have birthmarks.

If a pregnant woman criticizes someone, the baby will look and act like the person
criticized.

Since pregnancy is considered a hot condition, a pregnant woman should eat


cold food to keep yin and yang balanced.

Eating shellfish could give the baby rashes while pineapple could cause
miscarriages.

The shape and size of the belly could tell you if the baby is a boy or a girl. If the
belly is pointed, it will be a boy; if rounded, a girl.

A Chinese gender chart claims to predict the baby's gender with over 90 percent
accuracy. The chart was allegedly found buried in a royal tomb in Beijing over 700
years ago. The prediction is based on the age of the mother at the moment of the
baby's conception.

During labor and delivery

The pregnant woman's mother is present at the first delivery but not for
subsequent ones.

The woman should try to be quiet during labor, as crying out will attract evil spirits
to the new child.

A necklace is placed around the baby's neck before the umbilical cord is cut. This
ensures that the baby's life is tied to the necklace, not to the cord.

The ideal position for labor is squatting. The baby will not have enough energy to
come out if the mother is lying on her back.

The father is not present during delivery, although he is expected to give the baby
its first bath.

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Strange pregnancy traditions


Mother, father and the rest of the family want the pregnancy to pass fine and a
healthy baby to be born. As in many other things in life numerous traditions have
been created. They often have nothing to do with medicine. They are usually
prejudices that became part of local culture.

In China there is a belief that for the pregnancy to be successful the husband
should carry his wife over burning coal when entering the house. For the Chinese
reading of good literature during pregnancy has positive effect on the unborn child.
On the other side it is very bad for the pregnant woman to gossip or laugh loudly.

They also believe that even the way food eaten by the pregnant woman looks has
influence to the appearance of the baby. The woman expecting a baby should never
go to the funeral. There is a belief that no construction work should be done in the
house where there is a pregnant woman. On the other side to scare off the evil
spirits knifes could be put under the bed where the pregnant woman sleeps.

The Chinese also have something what is called "tsue shen" (hastening delivery). It
is a package of clothes sent by maternal grandmother to her daughter about one
month before it is expected the baby to be born. The white cloth inside the package
is used to wrap the newborn baby.

To somehow ease the pain of labor Chinese women often drink special herbal
potion. In China women often give birth to their child in an armchair or futon. After
the baby is born woman make ritual offering of sweet meat and incense to the
goddess who helped her to conceive.

The period immediately after the baby is born is called the "sitting month". Chinese
woman says that she is "doing the month". During this period the woman stays at
home and usually her mother-in-law helps her.

There is a traditional belief that due to blood loss during the birth of the baby
woman is in "cold phase". That is why she should stay in warm place. Living in this
phase also includes avoiding cold or raw food.

People in Japan believe that pregnant woman should not eat spicy or salty food.
Eating of raw fish is also forbidden. The Japanese also believe that to avoid the
birthmarks on baby's body the pregnant woman should never look at fire.

Being quiet during birth of the baby is expected. Not being so is a sign of
embarrassment. Women are told not take any medicine to ease the pain of labor.

In Mongolia it is believed that when meeting two pregnant women should not touch
each other. Locals believe that baby's sex can be changed that way. Until the child
is 3 months or in some cases even over 1 year old people do not directly mention
his or her sex. There is a belief that by doing so people will confuse evil spirits.
The Akamba people of Kenya believe that a pregnant woman should not see a body
of deceased because spirit of the dead can endanger pregnancy. Sex during
pregnancy is not allowed as it may result in the birth of a disabled child.
pregnant woman
pregnant woman

In Jamaica it is said that if a woman drinks lot of milk during pregnancy her child is
going to have lighter complexion. There is popular local belief about oranges.
Yearning for oranges and then not eating them results in the orange-shaped birth
mark on babies.

Mexicans have the same belief but it includes strawberries. In Mexico there is also
an ancient belief of Aztec origin. For a pregnant woman an eclipse is very
dangerous because her baby could have a cleft lip. To protect herself woman should
carry a key or safety pin.

People in Latvia still have some ancient beliefs concerning pregnancy and giving
birth. Local women pray to goddess Mara or Mary who is believed to control the
human body and influences the labor. Presents are offered to her even before the
woman gets pregnant. There is one more goddess. Her name is Lamia. It is
believed that she decides the fate of the baby.

In Russia people used to believe that childbirth would be easy if the woman and her
husband tell names of all of their previous lovers. So, as you see, it is good to be
honest.

Having an easy birth of the first baby is a wish of every pregnant woman. Woman
in Malta prays for lot of rain on her wedding day. It is believed that if this happens
the birth will be an easy one.

That is why people plan their wedding to be held on the days of "stila" or star when
lot of rain is forecast. These days are Saint Ursula's Day on the 21st of October,
Saint Catherine's Day on the 23rd of November and Saint Lucy's Day on the 13th of
December.

While giving birth to her child woman in Malta often holds a statue of St Calogero or
prays to St Raymond and St Spiridione. St Ludgarda is also believed to help to ease
the childbirth.

The Orkney Islands is an archipelago of more than 70 islands located in northern


Scotland. Local people believe that if the tip of the rainbow falls on the house where
the baby is about to be born that the baby will be a boy. When someone sees such
a rainbow he or she shouts "There's abrig fur a beuy barin!" ("There's a bridge for a
boy child!")

According to ancient beliefs the mother and baby should be kept safe from "trows"
or supernatural creatures. To keep the unborn baby safe from them the pregnancy
should be kept secret. The pregnant woman should sleep with knifes and the Bible
under her bed. The same objects are kept in baby's room when the baby is born.
Women present during the birth of baby should stay at home for few days to scare
away the evil trows.

The birth of baby is celebrated by "Weetin' the heid of the bairn" (wetting the
child's head). The father drinks some whiskey with men from the neighbourhood to
bring good luck to the baby.

The second tradition is called the "blide-meat". There some scones and ale are
given to family members and neighbours. The "Fittin' Feast" is held only for the
baby's family. On this day mother returns to her everyday life she used to lead
before the birth of the baby.

There is also the ceremony called the "Cirsenin' Feast". It is held after the baby is
baptized. In the past male babies were baptized before female ones. It's really
bizarre but locals used to believe that the baby girl baptized before the baby boy
will grow a beard.

In Portugal there is a belief that pets like cats or dogs should be kept away from
the pregnant woman. It is done to avoid baby to be born as a very hairy one.

What's the connection between shape of fruit and vegetables and sex of the baby?
According to Portugese belief there is. People believe that if the pregnant woman
wants to give birth to a baby girl she should eat round fruits and vegetables. If she
would like to get a baby boy then she should eat long vegetables like carrots or
cucumbers.

In Spain there is a superstition that a fontanelle on baby's head can be damaged as


result of loud noises. There is also rather strange belief that a piece of wet paper
put on baby's forehead can cure hiccups.

In the UK some people believe that baby's heart rate can predict its sex. The faster
heart rate means that woman is carrying a baby girl and the slower one means that
she is going to give birth to a baby boy.