25 Pregnancy Beliefs From Around the World

25 Pregnancy Beliefs From Around the World

pregnatnLearning about the pregnancy and childbirth beliefs from cultures around the world is nothing short of fascinating, don't you think? Whether you follow them or not, we have our "standard" ones in the U.S. -- don't tell people you're pregnant until after the first trimester, for one -- so don't you ever wonder what other unwritten protocols mamas-to-be follow? There are some truly unbelievable ones out there!

Here are 25 pregnancy beliefs from around the world.

(Note: Everyone from these cultures doesn't necessarily adhere to these beliefs.)


Image via Gary Waters/Ikon Images/Corbis

  • Pregnancy in Turkey

    1

    epSos.de/Flickr

    Women in Turkey are encouraged not to look at bears, monkeys, and camels while pregnant.

  • Pregnancy in Japan

    2

    David Blaikie/Flickr

    Pregnant women in Japan are urged to use positive thinking, imagery, and listen to music.

  • Pregnancy in China

    3

    Homespothq/Flickr

    It is thought in China that pregant women should avoid using glue or other adhesives, as it may cause birthing complications. Also, hammering nails is thought to cause deformity in the fetus.

  • Pregnancy in the Orthodox Jewish Culture

    4

    Janine/Flickr

    In the Orthodox Jewish culture, many women do not prepare for their babies (nurseries, showers), or reveal the baby's name in advance for fear of tempting the angel of death.

  • Pregnancy in the Hispanic/Latino Culture

    5

    James Bowe/Flickr

    Some pregnant women in the Hispanic/Latino culture believe that unsatisfied pregnancy cravings may cause birth marks.

  • Pregnancy in Jamaica

    6

    DrGBB/Flickr

    To prepare for birth in the Jamaican culture, some believe that an open Bible needs to be present in the room where the mother is going to give birth.

  • Pregnancy in Korea

    7

    linasmith/Flickr

     

    In the Korean culture, there is an order of people that women must tell they are pregnant. She must tell the mother-in-law first. Then she tells her husband and then her own mother.

  • Pregnancy in Bali

    8

    Noah Sussman/Flickr

    Balinese mamas-to-be avoid eating octopus, as it is believed that doing so brings difficult deliveries.

  • Pregnancy in Guatemala

    9

    waferboard/Flickr

     

    Pregnant women in Guatemala, particularly those of Mayan descent, may stay at home throughout the entire nine months of their gestation out of fear of exposure to illness, evil spirits, or the ill will of others.

  • Pregnancy in the Inuit Culture

    10

    ewan traveler/Flickr

     

    Pregnant women avoid inflating balloons or blowing bubbles with gum while pregnant to prevent premature rupturing of the membranes.

  • Pregnancy in the Irish Culture

    11

    Emmit Tullos/Flickr

    Pregnant women were once advised not to enter graveyards in Ireland. If they did, their child would starve and be weak. Also, if a woman twisted her foot on a grave, her baby was thought to be born with a clubfoot.

  • Pregnancy in the Italian Culture

    12

    efleming/Flickr

    Some Italians believe that once a woman begins telling people she is pregnant, she must tell everyone else right away. It's thought that if she doesn't, the baby will never speak, or won't speak for a very long time!

  • Pregnancy in Russia

    13

    Matt Dutile/Corbis

    In Russia, people used to believe that childbirth would be easy if both the woman and her husband revealed the names of all of their previous lovers.

  • Pregnancy in Portugal

    14

    epSos.de/Flickr

     

    In Portugal, some believe that pets, such as cats or dogs, should be kept away from a pregnant woman to avoid having a hairy baby.

  • Pregnancy in the UK

    15

    Nikki Gomez/Flickr

     

    It is believed by some in the UK that the baby's heart rate can predict the sex. A faster heart rate means the woman is carrying a girl, and a slower one means it's a boy.

  • Pregnancy in the Orkney Islands

    16

    Kyle Marsh/Flickr

    An ancient belief of the Orkney Islands, an archipelago of islands in northern Scotland, is that pregnant women should sleep with knives and the Bible under her bed to ward off evil spirits.

  • Pregnancy in Mongolia

    17

    jaaron/Flickr

     

    In Mongolia, some believe that two pregnant women should never touch each other, as it can switch the baby's sex.

  • Pregnancy in Kenya

    18

    FRANK HUSTER/Aurora Photos/Corbis

     

    The Akamba people of Kenya believe that a pregnant woman should not see a dead body, because the spirit of the dead can endanger the pregnancy.

  • Pregnancy in Germany

    19

    Ocean/Corbis

    In Germany, the government offices keep a list of "accepted names" that parents must adhere to when registering the name of their child. Parents must give a compelling reason if they want to give their child an unusual name. The government policy is intended to stop potential ridicule of a child with a name that's too different.

  • Pregnancy in Malta

    20

    Juliana Wiklund/Johnér Images/Corbis

    Some in Malta believe that if a woman had rain on her wedding day, the birth of her first child will be an easy one.

     

  • Pregnancy in Brazil

    21

    Black Photo Studio/Flickr

     

    In Brazil, pregnant women are treated like princesses, always being ushered to the front of any line so they don't have to wait.

    (Sounds a lot like New York City. Said no one ever.)

  • Pregnancy in Sri Lanka

    22

    Steve Snodgrass/Flickr

     

    Some mamas-to-be in Sri Lanka are forbidden from eating mangos, vinegar, and pineapple during the first three months of their pregnancy out of fear of miscarriage.

  • Pregnancy in India

    23

    Dieter Heinemann/Westend61/Corbis

     

    Women in India believe that pregnancy is a "hot state" and try not to eat hot or spicy foods to avoid becoming overheated. They gravitate toward more cooling foods, such as milk products, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Pregnancy in Cuba

    24

    Julian Rupp/Corbis

     

    In Cuba, pregnant women won't let anyone they don't know or trust touch their pregnant belly.

  • Pregnancy in Switzerland

    25

    HBSS/Corbis

     

    Many people in Switzerland believe it's bad luck to tell anyone the name you choose for your child before the birth.

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