Pregnancy Wives’ Tales Part 1

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There are so many pieces of pregnancy advice floating around that sometimes it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. Here are seven commonly circulated myths and what to believe about them.


1. Women should eat spicy foods during pregnancy. False. This old Thai tale stems from the traditional belief that pregnancy is a “warm” time and that mothers-to-be need to eat foods that will help cool the body down. While spicy foods do make you sweat, thereby reducing your temperature a bit, there’s no real evidence to support this claim. Still, if you’re craving a blazing hot krapow, go for it (unless you’re already suffering from heartburn).

2. Expecting mothers should stay away from durian. False. Just as Thai folk wisdom dictates that pregnant women should indulge in plenty of chilies, it also says you should avoid the land’s stinkiest fruit like the plague. The idea is that durian is a “warming” food. Again, there’s no real science behind this. If durian’s your thing, feel free to enjoy. Just remember to bring some breath mints.

3. You should avoid coffee entirely during pregnancy. False. Too much coffee probably isn’t a good idea, but most experts agree that a small cup of joe a day shouldn’t have any impact. Plus, pregnancy hormones are already enough to make you pretty cranky. There’s no need to add caffeine withdrawal to the existing stress.

4. The baby’s position or activity level in the womb can tell you its sex. False. People have been trying to guess whether they should expect a little boy or girl since way before ultrasounds were invented. The problem is that there’s no real way to do it. More kicking means an energetic fetus… but not necessarily a male one. And babies naturally lie in different positions regardless of sex. If you want to know the answer before your due date, ask a doc.

5. Walking speeds up the labor process by stimulating the muscles around the uterus. False. Sadly, labor tends to take what feels like an eternity and there’s no way to get around it. Walking or pacing may help you cope with the agitation and pain, but it won’t make that baby come out any faster.

6. Never take hot baths during pregnancy. True. You don’t want to do anything that bumps your internal body temperature up too much. That includes, unfortunately, saunas and Jacuzzis as well. If you need to relax, skip the steam and get a nice, soothing pre-natal massage instead.

Photo Credit: Schwangerschaft via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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