Break Room

Old wives’ tales that baffle nurses!


Very few healthcare subjects bring up as many strange myths as pregnancy and childbirth.
Some can be explained by science, but others continue to befuddle those of us who are supposed to “know better.” These days, most of it’s simply in good fun, but occasionally there will be a great-grandmother who absolutely believes in this stuff.

Here are a few of the more popular “words of wisdom” that have been passed down for generations. See if they baffle you as much as they baffle me!

Old wives’ tales that baffle nurses!

1. You are not supposed to cut a baby’s hair before he/she is a year old. (Because it will be shorter?!)

2. If you look at something unpleasant while pregnant, you’ll have an ugly baby. (Guess it depends on your definition of ugly?)

3. If you reach above your head while pregnant, it will wrap the cord around the baby’s neck. (This is an “oldie but goodie” that is still around.)

4. You must lose a tooth with each baby. (To keep track of how many kids you have?)

5. It’s important to satisfy cravings for eating clay, laundry starch, etc., when pregnant. (We now call this “pica” and know that anemia is a very real problem in these women.)

6. You can tell the sex of the baby by how s/he is “carried.” (Or just get an ultrasound?)

7. If you bury a knife in the yard, the labor pains won’t be so bad. (Anybody?)

8. You can tell the sex of the baby by looking at how a wedding ring swings when you hold it over your belly. (Fact is: If you hang a ring over any object or person it’s going to swing.)

9. If a pregnant woman experiences heartburn throughout the nine months of pregnancy, she’ll have a baby born with a full head of hair. (I cannot begin to figure the rationale behind this one!)

10. If your face gets fuller and rounder when pregnant, it means you’re going to have a girl. If your face is long and narrow, it’s a boy. (What if your face doesn’t change at all?)

Some of you may know the history/rationale behind these things. Please share if you do! (OB has never been my area of expertise, except for knowing how to PUSH!)

Nurse Rene
Nurse Rene has been an RN since 1978; CCRN since 1989 and attained a BSN in 2010. She has worked in virtually every specialty from Neonatology to Neurosurgery and is a Member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society with a particular interest in helping students and new grads develop to their full potential. She's been married for 33 years and has a keen interest in history and in current issues as nursing continues to develop as a Real Profession. When not spoiling the grandchildren, she enjoys sewing, cooking, kayaking, camping and travel. She likes all music which does not hurt her ears, watching NCIS, Leverage, Top Gear and Criminal Minds and reads books written by Clive Cussler, Miss Manners, Erma Bombeck and Tom Clancy. She enjoys collecting Quotations for use in her writings.

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