Saturday, 23 March 2013

Pregnancy myths in India

Pregnancy is a wonderful time in any woman’s life. In these nine months, she creates a unique loving bond between her and her unborn baby and makes heaps of future dreams about her little one. As soon as the news of the pregnancy spreads, the mother-to-be is surrounded by a hoard of relatives, colleagues, friends and well wishers who seem to be equally excited with the good news and have several advices for the lady. There are several do’s and don’ts which might be piled upon a woman from her elders and family members in Indian pregnancy. Some of such advices are based on scientific principles, while many others are purely misconceptions. There are several pregnancy myths which vary from country to country which can also be based upon determining the gender of the unborn baby. The following section will cover the most common pregnancy myths in India.
  • Gender prediction during pregnancy in India : many Indians believe that the shape of the pregnant lady’s stomach gives away the gender of the baby she is carrying. If the stomach is carrying the baby high, it is a girl and otherwise it is a boy. This is a myth and has no scientific basis as the shape of the belly is hugely dependent on the original shape and features of the mother’s uterus, abdominal muscles, and the history of previous pregnancies as well. Pregnancy in India is a huge issue with several myths, and this is just one of them.
  • A pregnant woman must eat for two : during pregnancy, India can surely get on one’s nerves. Elders constantly advise the mother to make her diet manifold, but only 300 to 400 calories extra are sufficient to provide all the nutrition to the growing fetus. Having a nutrient rich diet is important rather than just doubling up on the calories, as the baby is not a grown adult like the mother.

  • Skin tone and facial structure determines gender of baby : one may have their aunties and grandmothers saying that they are carrying a girl because of the sudden glow on the face. However, the pregnancy glow is due to hormonal changes during this period and is same for everyone, regardless of carrying a boy or a girl.
  • Baby’s heart rate is conclusive of the gender : gender prediction during pregnancy in India is so prevalent that every second person has his own opinion. Some people strongly believe that if the fetus’s heart rate is slow, it is a boy and faster heart rate indicates that the baby is a girl. However, it depends totally on the heath and the development of the fetus and this myth is hence, baseless.

Gender prediction according to Hindu mythology is also done when a pregnant woman craves for certain foods. Some people believe that having spicy food can lead to pregnancy complications. If the mother has pimples on her face, which could actually be the result of pregnancy hormones and having too much of fried and spicy foods, people speculate that it is going to be a baby girl according to Indian gender prediction beliefs. People go to extreme lengths to know the gender of the unborn baby. Gender prediction in India has become a root cause of female infanticide and hence tests which determine the baby’s gender have been made illegal to prevent them from becoming tools to merely satisfy the curiosity of people and result in abortion of female fetus. Such tests include ultrasound and Amniocentesis, which must be carried out by specialized doctors only to monitor the baby’s heath and look out for genetic abnormalities or pregnancy complications at the right time.

There are several other myths which surround pregnancies in India. These include:

Hindu mythology for pregnant women says that if the woman is completing her term somewhere around the full moon, it will stimulate labor. However, moon’s appearance does not affect labor at all.

Apart from baby gender prediction in Hindi mythology, it is believed that consumption of certain foods like oranges and saffron gives fairer skin tone to the baby. Although these foods are beneficial, they do not alter the skin tone as it is solely dependent on the baby’s genes. It is best to consult your doctor to determine what the best diet is for you.

For More Information : Pregnancy myths in India

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