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Traditions And Myths About Pregnancy

Traditions And Myths About Pregnancy

Traditions And Myths About Pregnancy

Your exciting 9-month journey has begun, and now you are very likely to be bombarded with numerous pregnancy dos and don’ts. Here are some common beliefs, debunked — or confirmed!

Traditional beliefs shared by your grandma, parents and in-laws may suggest that you need to avoid certain food and activities as they may lead to miscarriage, a difficult labour and/or bad effects for you and your baby. In Singapore, a wide variety of pregnancy rules are being practised by the Chinese, Malay and Indian communities. If you are confused about what to believe, here’s clarification on common advice to Singapore mums-to-be about “things to avoid when pregnant”:

Should I Avoid Papaya?

There is a common Indian pregnancy belief that raw papaya can cause miscarriages. Is this true? Well, unripe papaya may cause uterine contractions, but you will need to eat about 3 large servings of unripe papaya a day for it to have an effect on you. On the other hand, ripe papaya is safe for pregnant women and provides vitamins A and C.

Should I Avoid Pineapple?

Likewise, many Chinese believe that pineapples may cause miscarriages! However, there is no evidence to show that this is true. Eating a moderate amount is a good rule of thumb.

Should I Avoid “Cooling” Food?

The Chinese believe in maintaining the balance of yin and yang within the body, and hence pregnant mums are advised to avoid cooling food as they are thought to disrupt the balance of “qi” (also known as energy flow in the body). This is a common — and widely believed — theory of traditional Chinese medicine but it may not be fully backed by science. Similarly, there is a common Malay belief that new mothers should avoid “cooling” foods. If you are unsure about what you can and cannot eat, do chat with your gynaecologist just to be on the safe side!

Should I Avoid Spicy Food?

Another traditional Chinese belief is that spicy food should be avoided during pregnancy as it can disrupt the “qi” in your body and even trigger early labour. However, this is not backed by scientific evidence and spicy food is generally safe for consumption. Do take note of your body’s response to it though, as heartburn — a common pregnancy symptom — can be worsened by spicy food.

Can I Determine My Baby’s Gender from the Shape of My Belly?

A common Indian belief is that the shape and size of your belly can actually indicate the gender of your baby. Unfortunately, the shape and size of your belly has more to do with the build of your body instead of your baby. A tall pregnant mother will definitely have a different-looking belly than her petite counterpart.

Being pregnant is a steep learning curve for new mums. No matter what questions you may have about pregnancy symptoms and complications, always discuss with your antenatal care-provider. Your gynae will keep track of your body condition — and your baby’s development — and guide you through your prenatal check-ups. Consider a gynae who shares your cultural background — he or she will be able to give you professional advice while also taking into account any cultural beliefs you may have. Here are some Chinese and Indian gynaecologists who can address your pregnancy concerns.

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