January 24, 2022

Pregnancy Taboos Around the World – How Women Get Pregnant and Live With the Customs

Pregnancy is a blessing in any traditional society. To keep the mother and the unborn baby healthy, there are several dos and don’ts a pregnant woman must obey. When it comes to customs, taboos during pregnancy might not directly relate to health. Often, a mother-to-be is not allowed to do certain things as local beliefs simply prohibit them. Here are some interesting pregnancy taboos from around the world.


The Japanese believe that an expectant mother should not eat lobsters, crabs, or other seafood with claws. The violation against the taboo will cause the child to become a thief. Squid and persimmons are also prohibited as they are considered to trigger miscarriages.


A husband whose wife is pregnant is not allowed to kill any animals. It is believed that it will bring bad luck, as the baby will be born resembling the killed animal. Mocking a handicapped person is also prohibited, as it will bring similar result. Meanwhile in Bali, pregnant women are not allowed to eat octopus, as it will cause difficulties during delivery.


Knitting during pregnancy is common for an expecting mother. However, women in Bolivia are not allowed to do any activities related to knotting and twisting of threads. The Bolivians believe that it will cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby’s neck.


To ward off bad influences from evil spirits throughout pregnancy, Chinese women who are pregnant are not allowed to attend funerals or engage in sexual intercourse. To build good traits in their unborn babies, these expecting mothers should also control their emotional and physical states during pregnancy by avoiding gossip, tantrums and hard physical activities.

The Philippines

An expecting woman in the Philippines is not allowed to walk outside barefoot as they believe that there are little fairies outside who try to harm both the mother and the baby. This belief is related to one of several old Filipino wives tales that have existed for a long time.


A pregnant mother in Guatemala is not allowed to go outside during midday when the sun at its peak. She is also prohibited to point at a rainbow or look at a lunar eclipse. Any violations of these taboos will cause deformity in the baby. Like Chinese women, Guatemalan expectant mothers should also keep their emotion in balance to prevent miscarriages.


In Switzerland, parents or families of the baby are not allowed to reveal the baby’s chosen name before he or she is born. Violating the taboo is believed to bring bad luck for the family and the baby.

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