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



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

  • Pregnancy in Japan


    David Blaikie/Flickr

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

  • Pregnancy in China



    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



    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


    James Bowe/Flickr

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

  • Pregnancy in Jamaica



    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




    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


    Noah Sussman/Flickr

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

  • Pregnancy in Guatemala




    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


    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


    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



    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


    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




    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


    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


    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




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

  • Pregnancy in Kenya


    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



    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    Julian Rupp/Corbis


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

  • Pregnancy in Switzerland




    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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