Pregnancy is a very special period in the life of every woman. Especially if it is the first pregnancy, there will be a lot of questions, doubts and worries. The future mother often wonders if everything is all right, if the changes occurring in her body are normal, how to behave, so as not to harm the unborn baby, etc. Women usually turn to more experienced friends, mothers, and other women for advice. But, unfortunately, in addition to really useful recommendations and moral support, they often receive a lot of unnecessary and even harmful information in the form of folk signs, superstitions and prejudices associated with pregnancy.
The origin of the omens is obscured and lost in the distant past. They are passed from person to person from generation to generation. And even in this age of high technology and rampant computerization, many women still continue to believe in the most absurd, from the point of view of common sense, statements. Let’s try to understand some of the Russian superstitions around pregnancy in more detailed view.
Pregnant women cannot get a haircut
This is one of the most common superstitions. Some women quite seriously claim that “it is harmful for the baby.” But from the medical point of view, of course a haircut can not cause any harm to the health of a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Hormones produced during pregnancy have a positive effect on hair growth and structure. Therefore, the hair becomes strong, thick and silky. Many women say that the quality of their hairstyles has improved significantly during pregnancy. However, the change in the hormones can make the body feels hotter than normal which makes expecting mothers feel like cutting their hair short. There is nothing wrong with that, at all. Superstition is, most of the time, not logical.
Pregnant women should not knit
Many pregnant women are drawn to sew and knit. This is not surprising since it can be pleasant, calming, and a nice way to fill the free time. But then a “well-wisher” appears and starts saying something like, “You shouldn’t knit and sew while being pregnant! Your baby may get tangled up in the umbilical cord!” After such a warning, even a non-superstitious woman will think what if it’s true? After all, it’s not about her, but the baby. Maybe it’s better not to risk it? Again, this should not be listened. Knitting is a great activity for pregnant women. It is soothing and a great way to make baby’s clothing at home.
Don’t tell anyone about your pregnancy
The reason for this superstition is pretty common; fearing the evil eye, the expecting mother only shares the secret with her immediate family. For the same reason, women try not to tell anyone about the due date. Long time ago, the midwife would visit the mother at home from the back door so that no one would see her. It was believed that the less people know about the due date of the labor, the easier it will pass.
However, there are situations when devoting others to your secret may be more useful than keeping them in the dark. Being aware of your situation, people will prevent you from lifting weights, cleaning and other heavy housework. Colleagues will stop pestering with questions about why you eat a little (or the other way around), look pale, etc. The bosses, perhaps, will allow lighter work schedule. If a woman has long been waiting for the pregnancy, and it finally happens, why not share her joy with friends?
Don’t prepare a dowry in advance
Obviously, this superstition has only been made recently. In the old days, a dowry for a baby was prepared long before it was born. Father made a cradle, mother sewed clothes. In those days, there were no stores for newborns, and it was impossible to imagine that all the necessary purchases were made within a few days after the birth.
However, in our time, this prejudice has become widespread. Many pregnant women do not prepare anything in advance, leaving their husband with the obligation to buy a crib, stroller, clothes and everything else while mother and baby are in the hospital. One can imagine how stressful this is for a young father, and how many important things can be missed.
And a lot more of restrictions!
A pregnant woman should not be hanging laundry on clothesline, put her hands up, walking in someone else’s garden, etc. She should not touch her face; otherwise the child will have birthmarks. Judge for yourself, is it possible that at least one woman does not touch her face for nine months? And if so, then all children should be born covered with birthmarks? Yes, some superstitious can be that ridiculous.
Another belief claims that the name of the unborn child can be decided early, but it should be kept in the strictest confidence until the birth. This superstition is still in use today. It comes from antiquity, when it was believed that evil spirits, having overheard the name, can cause evil to an unborn child.
Why, with all the absurdity, do superstitions have such an influence over many generations?
The action of prejudice is based on the subconscious. If a woman seriously believes in any statement, then she kind of suggest herself to see the truth in it. Thus, the sign begins to come true for her. These superstitions are easier to believe if the information comes from an older and more experienced woman, or reinforced by someone’s negative experience.
Pregnancy imposes significant restrictions on a woman’s lifestyle. Most of them are connected with the need to eat right, to spend more time in the fresh air, not to overwork, etc. All these recommendations can be found in any book on pregnancy, and they are really important and justified. So is it worth a pregnant woman to impose even more stringent restrictions and prohibitions dictated by superstitions? Probably not.