There comes a point in every woman’s pregnancy when people feel reasonably sure that your protruding belly is, in fact, due to pregnancy and not the large burrito you had for lunch. It is also around this time that everyone from your mother to your mailman begins to offer unsolicited words of wisdom regarding pregnancy.
Some are helpful, but you should definitely take the following bizarre pieces of pregnancy advice with a big pinch of salt.
Don’t Cut Your Hair
During pregnancy, hormones cause most women to grow thicker, shinier hair that would make a Pantene model envious. Lustrous locks may sound like a dream come true, but all that hair can be a real nuisance. Women are often tempted to chop off their locks in the third trimester.
However, one popular piece of advice pregnant women receive is that they should avoid cutting their hair until after the baby is born.
According to grandmothers everywhere, cutting your hair while pregnant severely inhibits your life force, leaving you susceptible to illness and other problems. This eccentric piece of advice has persisted since the biblical story of Samson but, to no one’s surprise at all, is entirely unfounded.
It is perfectly safe to cut your hair during pregnancy. But before you rush out to get the mom bob, remember that your amazing pregnancy hair doesn’t last forever. Many new moms experience postpartum hair loss as a result of fluctuating hormones, so you might want to postpone the trim until you see how your hair reacts post-pregnancy.
Indulge Your Cravings To Prevent Birthmarks
On the surface, this seems like a great piece of advice pregnant women can get behind. That fourth piece of pizza? Go for it. Ice cream with shredded cheese on top? Treat yourself. However, according to some, if you don’t indulge your pregnancy cravings, your baby will end up with a birthmark shaped like the food you craved.
No mother wants their child to be born with a very specific birthmark in the shape of a peanut butter and pickle sandwich, but it doesn’t appear there is very much truth behind this particular piece of advice.
Birthmarks can be genetic, but most spontaneously occur. In addition, almost everyone has a birthmark somewhere, even if it’s not very noticeable—and ours certainly doesn’t look like the ice cream/French fry sandwich our mother said she craved.
Eat More Bananas if You Want a Boy
Has anyone ever told you to eat more bananas if you’re set on having a boy? Turns out, there might just be some truth to this wacky piece of pregnancy advice. According to a study from Oxford and Exeter Universities, high levels of potassium (which is found in bananas), along with high levels of sodium, were associated with having a boy.
Because so many cereals are now fortified with potassium and other nutrients, a bowlful of Fruity Pebbles may also increase your odds of having a boy. (The effect of all that sugar on you and your developing little one, however, is another question.)
However, the old wives’ tale that drinking more milk to have a girl doesn’t hold any weight. If you’re set on sugar and spice and everything nice instead of snails and puppy dog tails, scientists suggest cutting back on your morning cereal to increase your odds of having a girl.
A Full Moon Brings on Labor
It’s well-known science that the moon influences the ocean’s tides, but can a full moon influence pregnancy and labor? According to superstition, there is a noticeable uptick in births during a full moon.
This superstition persists not just for pregnancy but across medical fields in general. Paramedics swear they get more calls during a full moon and emergency room doctors agree the waiting rooms certainly seem busier then.
According to Duke University scientists, though, there is no correlation between the full moon and labor. However, changes in barometric pressure can cause women to go into labor. So if you see thunderstorms in the forecast, it might be wise to pack your hospital bag just in case.
Toughen Up Your Tatas
One common piece of pregnancy advice many women receive is that they should “toughen up” their breasts in preparation for breastfeeding. Some women are told to use Brillo pads (yes, the same steel wool pads that are used to clean extra dirty pots and pans) to toughen up their tatas.
This is one piece of advice pregnant women should definitely not follow. Not only does it sound downright painful, it’s completely unnecessary. Your body was made to breastfeed, and though most new moms have struggles in the early days or even weeks of nursing, there’s certainly no need to do any kind of preparation in advance.
Don’t Rub Your Belly or You’ll Spoil the Baby
By the third trimester, you can usually balance a lot of things on your growing belly, and you might find that you rub your belly subconsciously. According to an old wives’ tale from China, rubbing your pregnant belly often will spoil a baby.
While research doesn’t show that a baby whose mother rubbed her belly is spoiled, scientists have proven that babies do respond to a mother’s touch more than her voice while in the womb.
Most doctors also agree that newborns can’t be spoiled, so go ahead and rub your belly as much as you’d like. Not only does your baby like it, it will also help them recognize you after they are born!
Do a Cleanse Before Your Due Date
The one thing that terrifies women more than pushing a baby the size of a melon out of a lemon-sized hole? Pooping during childbirth. In fact, “how to avoid pooping during labor” is one of the most googled phrases relating to pregnancy. Many women are advised to use enemas or natural cleanses before their due date to reduce the risk of embarrassment.
However, according to doctors, there’s not much you can do about it, and it happens to most women during labor. The good news is that you’ll be so focused on pushing, you probably won’t even notice if it happens—nurses are pros at quickly and quietly cleaning up. Trust us, that’s not the worst thing they’ve seen.
Don’t Lift Your Hands Above Your Head
Most pregnant women are treated more delicately than the enchanted rose in Beauty and the Beast. During pregnancy, women are often advised not to lift their arms above their head, which apparently could cause the umbilical cord to wrap around a baby’s neck.
Obviously, this makes everyday life pretty inconvenient. That box of cookies you hid on the top shelf? Don’t even think about it. Did you weight train before pregnancy? Stop immediately! Unless you’re Wonder Woman, don’t even think about any exercise more strenuous than walking for nine months.
There’s little truth to this particular piece of advice. Umbilical cord issues are due to fetal movement rather than maternal movements. The next time you feel like starting the wave at a baseball game, go for it. Your baby will be just fine.
Stuff Your Bra With Cabbage
This last one’s technically a piece of postpartum advice, but it’s really strange, so it made the list. Stuffing cabbage leaves in your bra during breastfeeding is supposed to help reduce engorgement, an extremely painful feeling that occurs as a new mom’s milk arrives. The cabbage leaves can either be chilled or used at room temperature.
This piece of advice is weird, but it actually holds up. Evidently, cabbage leaves do absorb fluids. However, there are other, less cabbage-y ways to reduce painful swelling. Alternating cold compresses and moist heat will do the trick, and as an added bonus, you won’t smell like sauerkraut.