Ah, morning sickness – the first trial of motherhood! Sometimes it means you can’t keep your food down at all. Maybe it’s the smell of meat that sets your nausea off. Or it could be that you’re surviving on a diet composed entirely of cheeseburgers and fries!
There are many different forms morning sickness can take – and according to some old wives’ tales, this is supposed to hint at your baby’s gender. These morning sickness myths have been around since who-knows-how long, but could there be a grain of truth to them after all? Let’s put them to the test.
Does craving greasy food mean it’s a boy?
There are plenty of anecdotes from women who had boys after experiencing morning sickness cravings for salty, greasy dishes like pizza, French fries, fried chicken, and chips. But there doesn’t seem to be any science behind this one – you can have high-calorie cravings and still have a girl.
Does severe morning sickness mean it’s a girl?
It’s a common belief that heavy morning sickness means you’re having a girl. Moms who’ve had two daughters may notice their symptoms are pretty bad both times around. But in reality, there’s no truth to this myth either. You can just as easily have nasty morning sickness with a baby boy, too.
Morning sickness means a stronger, smarter baby
When morning sickness has you feeling lousy, it’s comforting to think of it as a sign your baby will grow up to be smart, healthy, and strong. And in fact, this old wives’ tale may have some truth to it after all!
A 2014 study in the journal Reproductive Toxicology showed that morning sickness was linked to a reduced risk of preterm birth and miscarriage, and even had a positive effect on the child’s mental development.1What’s more, the women with moderate-to-severe symptoms saw an even further reduction in miscarriage rates compared to the milder cases.
This doesn’t mean morning sickness is the only factor in a healthy pregnancy, so there’s no need to worry if you only have milder symptoms. But still, it’s good to know there’s a bright side to the nausea and vomiting!
Mild morning sickness means a difficult birth
Nope, there’s no evidence for this one. That said, there is one caveat for moms whose mild morning sickness means they don’t lose their apetites, but instead end up overeating. Putting on too much weight during pregnancy means you gain extra fat all over, including inside the birth canal.
In theory, this could make it harder for the baby to pass through. In general, most OB-GYNs recommend that women beginning their pregnancies in a healthy weight range should gain 25 to 35 lbs over the course of their pregnancy depending on their BMI.
If you’re worried about putting on too much weight from the extra snacks to satisfy pregnancy cravings or keep the empty stomach queasiness of morning sickness at bay, talk to your doctor for advice on keeping your weight within a healthy range.
Morning sickness gets worse each time you have a child
Nope, this myth also isn’t based in reality. However, by the time her second or third baby comes a, a mom is often already busy with childcare and other responsibilities. Without the time to rest up, she may be dealing with extra stress, which can exacerbate morning sickness symptoms.
If you’re not feeling well, but still have to deal with work stresses on one hand, plus daily tasks like running the kids to school or daycare on the other, it’s no wonder morning sickness hits you extra hard! Stress and fatigue can aggravate morning sickness. You can nip this in the bud before your symptoms become severe by asking your partner and support network for help when you need it.
Stress and fatigue can aggravate morning sickness. Morning sickness isn’t an illness, but severe cases can become a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Sometimes this needs to be treated in hospital with IV fluids, so be careful and try not to push yourself.
Old wives’ tales and baby gender predictions are just for fun
There are too many old wives’ tales about pregnancy to count, so there’s sure to be some you know that aren’t listed here! There may not be much science to them, but you can definitely think of these kinds of myths as a fun topic to chat about with your friends while you ride out your pregnancy.