The moment you rock a baby bump you suddenly become public property. Complete strangers think they have the right to come up to you in the supermarket and just put their hands on your belly without even saying ‘Hello’. Surely that would be cause for arrest at any other time? It seems personal space no longer applies to moms-to-be.
But worse than that is the fact that every single person you meet has a nugget of advice to give you. More often than not it’s false news – sometimes it’s complete madness. But they can make you stop and think. You might find that you even stop doing all the things they warn you about anyway – just in case!
Here are some of the most bizarre and outrageous pieces of advice I got while I was pregnant.
1. ‘Don’t lift your arms above your head or the cord will get tangled round the baby’s neck’
Seriously. I was in a complete stress when one of my work mates shrieked at me to put my arms down as I reached up to grab something off a high shelf one day. I kept thinking back to all the times I must have lifted my arms above my head already during pregnancy. Like EVERY morning to get dressed and EVERY evening to get undressed. Help!
Then the obvious dawned on me – that if this were true my doctor might just have thought to mention it. So I went onto wave my hands in the air like I just didn’t care. And guess what – my baby’s neck was just fine.
2. ‘Eating sugar will make your baby hyperactive’
‘MMMM…hmmmm’ I mumbled through a ginormous mouthful of chocolate cake as an old lady told me this is a cafe. And then took another enormous bite. I’m sure she was talking nonsense and, in this case, I was going to take the risk.
3. ‘Cats steal your baby’s breath’
Um. What? That’s just really creepy. When my sister-in-law told me that I couldn’t help but start to look at my cat Willow in a completely different way. Those big kitty eyes that I always thought were so cute now just seemed a bit shifty. She suddenly went from being a cute pet to Pet Sematary overnight. I DIDN’T ship her off to the cat rescue centre in the end and…she didn’t steal any of my baby’s breath.
4. ‘Heartburn means your baby will be really hairy’
I had SUCH bad heartburn that I knocked back Gaviscon like a drunkard who couldn’t bear to be parted from a bottle of vodka. And more than one person told me that meant I was going to give birth to Chewbacca. When my baby ‘popped out’ she was completely bald. So much for that theory!
5. ‘Pee in a cup and add baking soda to find out the sex’
Another work colleague told me this ‘foolproof’ trick to find out if I was having a boy or a girl. Pee in a cup and add baking soda. If it fizzed that meant it was a boy. If it didn’t fizz it was a girl. Yup – you guessed it. I actually did it! It fizzed and – surprise, surprise I had a baby girl.
6. ‘Did you know you can have an orgasm during childbirth?’
This was from someone in my birthing class who was totally going for an orgasm when her baby crowned. I had to pretend I was having a coughing fit to cover up the hysterical laughter that erupted from my mouth.
Who knows if it’s actually a thing, but you better believe I wrote it into my birthing plan – just in case.
7. ‘Denying pregnant women what she craves will give her a sty’
One of my mom friends got this piece of advice when she was pregnant. And if I was going to believe any of the superstitions I had heard over the last few months, then this was the one. I repeated it loudly and often.
I even thought about writing it out and sticking it on the fridge. It got to the point where I just had to point at my eye when I casually mentioned that I craved Triple Caramel Chunk ice-cream to get my hubby to hot foot it down to the 24 hour garage to get me some pronto.
Superstitions, old wives tales, fake news. Call them what you will. It turns out there are some pretty weird beliefs about what you should and shouldn’t do when you’re expecting. One thing’s for sure – don’t believe everything people tell you.
Except the sty thing 😉