Lauren Rabaino

There is no possible way for a pregnant woman to escape unsolicited advice – unless, that is, if I take off to a deserted island.

Learning of my pregnancy, people constantly tell me what to do and what not to do, flooding me with old wives’ tales to try to predict the gender of the baby – before finding out that it is a boy – determine how the baby will look and prevent complications.

There is something about a bulging belly that screams out the “expert” in everyone.

For instance, my mom saw me reaching high up in my closet to grab something. She gasped in horror and told me to put my arms down because she said reaching above the head will cause the cord to wrap around the baby’s neck, causing suffocation.

Another time, my cousin walked in my room and saw me napping with the karate monkey I got at Build-A-Bear Workshop. She freaked out, grabbed the monkey and stuffed it in my hamper. She said that sleeping with a stuffed animal while pregnant will make the baby look like that animal!

Then I went to my cousin’s house for a small party wearing sweats with a sweater and my hair tied up. One of my cousins said I was having a boy because I “looked like crap.” Yeah, that was nice.

When I went out to lunch with a good friend, I wore a dress and curled my hair. She said I was having a girl because when she was pregnant, she always liked dressing up and she ended up having a girl. Here are more common old wives’ tales that I hear all the time:

If you are carrying low, then it’s a girl; if you are carrying high, it’s a boy.

If you eat a lot of spicy foods, your baby will be hairy.

If your face is round then you are having a girl, long and narrow means a boy. If your face is swollen, then you are having a boy.

If your nose starts to grow then you are having a girl because daughters “steal” mom’s beauty.

Drinking milk will stimulate breast milk.

Walking induces labor.

Cats have a natural urge to smother babies, and can suck the oxygen out of newborns – good thing I hate cats!

So what’s an expectant mother supposed to do when given such unwarranted advice and inevitable predictions about the sex of the baby?

I just keep in mind that most of what I hear is most likely nonsense, and keep my sense of humor close. And if I do have some nagging doubts, I consult with my trusted prenatal doctor for counsel.

I don’t believe in old wives’ tales much. Whether some of them are plausible or just apparently ridiculous, they are entertaining to hear.

Jennifer Ingan is a journalism senior and a Mustang Daily reporter. She will chronicle her experiences as a pregnant Cal Poly student every Thursday until she gives birth.

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