As I come from a background where there are lots of superstitions and beliefs practiced till today. It is normal to hear dos and don’ts regarding pregnancy. I can see the logic behind some of the beliefs while about others I have no idea why they are followed.
In Nepal, they believe that when the baby is in the womb it picks up a lot from his/her surroundings and emotions and thoughts of the mother. Even though we may not realize his/her senses are active at that time, our actions have a great impact on babies even before they arrive on earth.
From the type of food to the mother’s daily actions, what to wear and what to do are some of the traditions that amazed me. Some of them I did considered following while others I couldn’t. Most of these superstitions don’t cost more money and doesn’t hurt anybody. It just may prove to be a little more inconvenient at times.
As educated as I am in the 21st century of advanced science, I am still scared sometimes not to follow the superstitions. At the back of my mind, I think that if something does happen to the baby, it will be my fault. I definitely do not follow the beliefs blindly but I do follow them as long as they sound reasonable enough and it are morally right.
Not announcing the pregnancy until after 3 months have passed
I wrote a whole post regarding this because I have my own idea why we shouldn’t announce the pregnancy very early. A higher percentage of miscarriages occur during the first trimester. Some people may feel it is just wiser to wait until after the period of instability is over. We did tell our immediate family members early and waited 3 months to tell the rest of the world, but at the end of the day it is a personal preference.
Eating lots of almond, milk and saffron to have fair skin baby
I have talked about Asian people’s obsession with fair skin before in my blog. I thinking living in Australia for more than a decade now I have come to love my skin tone. Most people around always complement me about it and I am proud of my colour.
But in Nepal, they still believe that fair is beautiful. Everyone wants a fair baby regardless of the colour of parents’ skin. Most people will call a fair person beautiful disregarding any other quality.
So when I told people that I am having a baby, they asked me to drink lots of milk with saffron and almonds. Some of my friends and cousins swear by it.
I do drink plenty of milk for calcium and snack on almonds but don’t do saffron at all. But in my head, I can’t imagine my baby being too fair as both AS and I are brown and I am sure we are going to have a brown baby no matter what I eat or drink.
Not watching Horror/scary/action movie
I know lots of people have asked me not to watch scary movies/ TV during pregnancy. It’s advisable not to watch horror or action movies which involve a lot of blood during pregnancy because it is believed that it may indirectly effect the growing baby. Watching violent and horror stuff on television or reading such books can create fear or violence in your child.
I do see some logic behind this because when we watch such movies, our heart may pump heavily as we get excited and this could lead to pressure on our womb.
I generally don’t watch horror movies but I do watch lots of cops/ detective dramas so I am not sure what it is doing that to the baby. I think if you feel happy after watching a movie and not frightened then go for anything that you like.
Look at the photo/picture of great people or God
Lots of people believe that you should have a photo of a god/goddess or some famous person in your room while you are pregnant. It is also believed that keeping pictures of baby Lord Krishna and smiling faces around you in the room will also create a harmonious environment.
When my SIL was pregnant, my brother put up president Obama’s photo in their bedroom. I really don’t know what was going on in his head but if my nephew becomes a prime mister/president one day, then I will be sure that this theory works.
Also having photos of beautiful baby is supposed to make your baby beautiful as well.
Do not touch the baby in tummy during eclipse
It is believed that if one is expecting and there is an eclipse during that time both parents should be very careful and cautious. Parents should not do any activity like using a knife, scissors, pen as their child will have a mark or mole or cut on his body. So during eclipse, one should not leave the house and should lie on the bed straight and stay indoors. Reading holy books during eclipse is beneficial for everyone specially couples expecting a baby.
Read holy/spiritual book
Parents who are more into spiritualism and read spiritual books during pregnancy believe that they notice their children will be coming from the same thought process because they read these books during pregnancy.
There is a myth people believe in for a long time in our holy book Gita.
Abhimanyu, who is the son of Arjuna & Subhadra (half-sister of lord Krishna). As an unborn child in his mother’s womb, Abhimanyu learned the knowledge of entering the deadly and virtually impenetrable Chakravyuha from Arjun. The epic explains that he overheard Arjun talking about this with his mother Subhadra from the womb. Arjun explains to Subhadra in detail, the technique of attacking and escaping from various vyoohs (an array of army formation) such as Makaravyoha, Kurmavyooha, and Sarpavyuha etc. After explaining all the vyoohs, he explains about the technique of cracking Chakravyuha. Arjun tells how to enter the Chakryavyuha. When he was about to explain how to exit from the Chakravyuha, he realizes that Subhadra is asleep and stops explaining about the Chakravyuha further. Thus the baby Abhimanyu in the womb did not get a chance to learn how to come out of it, which played a big role in his life.
Be around and in contact with positive and cheerful people.
I completely agree with this one because you don’t need extra stress during pregnancy apart from what you are already going through. If the mom to be is depressed and sad most of the time during pregnancy it will affect the child in the same manner.
I made sure that I only met people who had a positive attitude so I didn’t dwell on negative thoughts and kept myself happy during the journey.
Reciting, chanting or listening to devotional mantras
Good, peaceful thoughts and reciting, chanting or listening to devotional mantras plays a great role at the time one is expecting. It is believed that if you listen to devotional mantras when the baby is in the tummy, he/she will have a calm personality.
Wearing loose clothing
You don’t want to show off your pregnancy in case you get an evil eye from someone. They even suggest wearing scarfs (kasto) so people won’t notice you are pregnant. Making sure you stay away from evil eyes and evil thought seems to be very important in Nepali culture.
For me it was not possible for me to wear covered clothing as most of my pregnancy was during spring and summer. I was happy to wear comfortable clothes that were not too tight but never went beyond that to make people think I was not pregnant.
Until around 5 months, I think it was not a problem anyway as it was not obvious but after that no matter what I wore, it was obvious.
I am sure there are a lot of other superstations and beliefs in Nepali/Newari culture I could add to this list. But I am going to stop here.
Please do share superstitions and practices during pregnancy in your culture. I am sure there are some interesting ones and some weird ones out there.
Till next post take care everyone,
M from nepaliaustralian
I really find this very interesting, keep it up
Thankfully, most supersititions are ignored in the UK now. to my knowledge babies do just as well as anywhere else in the world! Some things here are sensible and not superstitious really at all (such as not announcing until after 3 months) but others you are quite right to have ignored!
This was really interesting! I can’t think of any Cdn superstitions but in Japan, there were some things I was asked to do. I’ve been planning on doing a post about it so thanks for the reminder.
I look forward to read your post.
Almost all of them are practised in other countries too. And except the complexion one ( because it is genetic) and the eclipse one I think the rest of them can be logically explained. Most important is that the mother should be happy relaxed and have a good diet ( milk and almonds fall in this category ) I strongly believe that a baby in the womb can strongly absorb from the surroundings and can understand his/her mom talking to him/her in its own way.
In Andhra Pradesh, the eclipse time is said to be very dangerous for a pregnant woman – they won’t even open the windows to the outside! Same thing with the horror movies.
The one I find most hilarious is that the husband is not supposed to shave from the 7th-9th month because then no woman will steal him. LMAO!!!!
The shaving thing is really funny…:)
Visiting your hod after a long break so Congratulations!!
Some traditions may have cultural significance at some point in time in history. Some are still valid like dietary do’s & dont’s and the idea of remaining calm & stress free during pregnancy.
One custom I never understood back home is that woman goes back to her parents home after babyshower (7th month) and won’t come back until baby is three months old. This is the time couple needs to be together the most. I guess back then the idea was that woman will get a break form household chores & much needed break at her parents place during final weeks of pregnancy & while she recovers after child birth
Thank you so much Yatin.. I missed you. Hope you will be around more now.
I can understand many traditions but I was hocked to know about woman goes back to her parents home after babyshower (7th month) and won’t come back until baby is three months . That is too long time to stay away from husband and in laws who I am sure wants to see/know the baby as well.