Chinese Pregnancy Taboos

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hello, A Very Sweet Blog fans! I'm Jo from White Roses and Coffee. Kim and I have been blog buddies for a while now. I absolutely adore Kim and when she asked me to do some guest posts on the Chinese culture, I was beyond excited! Kim, you sure that you asked the right person because I married a very traditional Chinese guy and my mom is super superstitious, so I'm happy to share the things I know. 

Today, I'll be talking about some of the Chinese Pregnancy Taboos. I've been pregnant twice, so I had experienced some of these superstitions. Here are some of the possible caveats for expectant couples. Some of them are so ridiculous but yet so interesting.

1. No Home Improvement Procedures 
Sawing, drilling, and hammering is not allowed when you're pregnant. This can cause fetal deformities. Moving houses or rearranging furniture is also considered bad luck. Sorry, building a nursery is a no-no in the Chinese culture.

2. Don't Even Think About Attending A Wedding 

The Chinese believe that mixing two joyous events can create a "clash of joy". The exception is when your close family members are getting married. I was 5 months pregnant with my youngest son when my sister-in-law got married. Thank goodness, my mother-in-law had no problem with it.

3. Watch your diet 
If you want a healthy baby, you are forbidden to eat soy sauce and drink coffee because the baby will have darker skin. If you eat light colored foods, however, you will have a fair skinned baby. Don't ask, I have a real problem with this one.

4. Forbidden Foods 
In addition to #3, there are certain foods to avoid. Number one, crab: Eating crab will cause a difficult labour in which the baby will be born sideways. Number two, fish: The baby will be born with scales if any sort of fish has been ingested. Lastly, rabbit: The child will be born with a cleft lip (looking like a rabbit's mouth).
5. Beware Of Scissors 
Pregnant women should not use scissors especially in the bedroom. 
It signifies cutting your unborn baby's umbilical cord.

6. Confine Your Excitement For The Time Being 
Avoid telling others, except your family members, if pregnancy is less than 3 months. Traditions said that the baby will get stingy and upset at the mother. If the mother shares the good news, there will be chances of her losing the baby. For some reasons, I believe in this one.

7. Surround Yourself With Cute Pictures Of Babies   
This ensures that your baby will be good-looking and healthy.

8. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" 
One's emotional state is really important when you're pregnant.
You don't want an unhappy and sour-looking baby, do you?

9. Funerals Are Forbidden
Pregnant women are discouraged to attend funerals because it is believed that there is a strong presence of spirits. If you have to, make sure you wear a red scarf around the stomach to protect the unborn baby.

10. Place A Knife Under The Mattress
This is to protect your unborn baby from any evil spirits. There is no scientific proof for these superstitions but some of them are quite reasonable. I guess it doesn't hurt to follow these beliefs. I had a hard time following some of these rules, especially not getting to drink coffee. Lol. I hope you found these quite fascinating and let me know which ones you believe in...or which you ones you find just absolutely ludicrous!

Thank You Jo, for writing such an informative post! I learned SO MUCH! 
My mom was going to name me Lori, but she changed her mind when she saw a child by the same name that didn't look too hot :) She then came up with Kim! I couldn't imagine myself with any other name :) 
I enjoy learning about other cultures and felt my readers would to.
I've asked Jo to be a contributor to A Very Sweet Blog. 
So look for more posts from her regarding Chinese Culture in the future.  

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Flora Fascinata said...

I absolutely loved reading this.i work with many cultures at my chalk face (old and young) I love the Chinese take on lots of things! Talking dietary tips is great, too! Xx

Priscilla said...

Love reading all of these taboos! I am still believing in some of them!

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Natalia | Fashioned by Love said...

Such a great post, ladies! So wonderful to learn something new and so curious! x

Carole Poirot said...

Wow, interesting. I think many women here avoid telling people in the first three months, but that's more likely down to the fact that the potential for things going wrong is still there. The fish eating one made me laugh - maybe that's where mermaids come from ;-) Thanks for an interesting post, it's always great to learn more about other countries. xo

Anya Jensen said...

How interesting - I love reading what superstitions other cultures have. Here we believe in number 6 (not telling anyone for 3 months) - as the only one really. Thanks for sharing these with us and great with Jo as a new contributor. Have a lovely day xx

Diva In Me said...

Ok, this post is interesting. I can totally understand all the points which Jo mentioned. Although I've not gone through pregnancy stage but believe me, I've quite a few friends who'd gone through it and being a Chinese is not easy when it comes to these sort of thing.
Somehow, 2 of my very dear friends experienced #6 - sharing about pregnancy on the first trimester. I'm not one who's superstitious but I wouldn't want to have the 3rd friend to prove that it's right though.
I too have a friend who was in her 2nd trimester and bought a nice painting and decided to hang it on the wall. Took the hammer and nail and started hammering. That year, she gave birth to a boy half deaf. How do you explain that? Luckily she's a Christian and we believe that God challenge us in many ways to make us a better person. This could probably be one of them.

Tina Bradley said...

I loved this! My mom used to tell me the story of how she attended a family friend's funeral a week before I was born--and she passed out cold at the funeral! It's a story that has stuck with me--and now to hear it's taboo, too--makes it an even better story. :) xo T.

Lilli said...

How interesting to know more about Chinese culture. Also here in Italy have some superstitions relative to pregnancy in which I still dont know if believe or not, we share for example the n.6 and I agree with it too!:) Great guest post, congrats to Jo! And Kim, love so much your name, your mom chose very well! xo

Ozden Ozdogan said...

Most of them are meant to protect the baby and mother I think.But some of them like eating fish and others are a bit much for me hehe :)
Kim is a nice name!

Style Of Ozoz Facebook Page

TheTinyHeart said...

This was very interesting! I think it's common not to announce a pregnancy before 3 months for fear of a miscarriage.

So funny that you were almost a Lori! I was almost named Stephanie, but my parents thought my full name would be too long. :)

The Tiny Heart

The Dainty Dolls House said...

This was fantastic, I love learning about different stuff like this!! It's quite fascinating to know what other's believe in and what they don't. Lori, precious. If I had been a boy, I would have been named 'Orlando' hahahahahaha!! Maybe I would have been bigger than Orlando Bloom, so funny!! Have a great day doll x

Emma Henderson said...

Such an interesting post - I love learning about different cultures, too xo

Emmylou said...

Great post:) My husband's of Chinese descent, but no one told me any of these wonder my in-laws looked at me kinda funny sometimes when I was preggers:P


These are very interesting, I know there are many things that my family believes in, some of these I've heard of before, but not #10, haha! Great guest post! xMadison

Thrifted Shift said...

Oh my gosh, I had no idea! And I'm so glad I didn't know any of this when I was pregnant, although the part about not moving furniture would have been a great excuse!!

Sara Gerard said...

What an awesome read! I can see how it would be very hard to deal with some of these, especially in the case of a wedding or a funeral!

Alicia Mackin said...

Don't attend a wedding that could be a tough one to pull off depending on who you are. But interesting the different ways cultures look at things. Many Jewish people do not have baby showers before the birth b/c they think it could jinx the pregnancy or more practically if there is a problem you do not have the pain of having the clothes... which is sorta smart having it after but then them mom is exhausted.

Ali of Dressing Ken

Champagne Star said...

These are interesting. I think #6 is a good practice in general. It is reasonable to have your pregnancy firmly established (for lack of a better phrase) before you go around telling people.

In the South there is a superstition that if something/someone scares or upsets you while you're pregnant, you baby will resemble/have features of that person/thing.

Cee said...

What an interesting post! All of these superstitions were new to me - it never occurred to me just how much they could differ from culture to culture. Thanks so much for sharing Jo, and Kim, thanks for the introduction to another great blogger!

Nancy said...

oh wow some of this information is even new to me and I come from the culture. =) Thanks for sharing this as I hadn't realized a lot of this info.

Vett Vandiver said...

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Vett Vandiver said...

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Always Maylee said...

Haha some of these are so ridiculous. Eating fish will cause your baby to be born with scales... so silly!

xo, Yi-chia
Always Maylee

What Kenny Hearts said...

Great post dear! I really do enjoyed reading this. Looking forward to seeing your future posts.

What Kenny Hearts, a Lifestyle Blog by Kenny.

Nicky mywishstyle said...

A lot of interesting things about chines e culture, and congrats x collaboration


oomph. said...

i have heard of some of these. another one, which i kind of abided by, is not to wear necklaces or leis (anything around the neck) because the baby would be strangled by the umbilical cord!

Heel in Mint said...

This was interesting to read. I didn't know about these taboos and I love learning about other cultures too. Thanks for sharing them with us. And Kim, I love your name.. sounds a lot better than Lori. I think Kim has a sweet and bubbly tone to it. Have a wonderful weekend :)

Heel in Mint

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Juju at Tales of said...

Fascinating stuff! Thanks so much for sharing. I had no idea.

Lisa - respect the shoes said...

I'm Chinese and I didn't know about all of this! Thanks for sharing.

whenlifehandsyouapear said...

How very interesting! Some of these seem a little silly but easy to do or avoid, but I wonder how some of these taboos are still around? I mean, has a single baby with scales ever been documented? ;) Wow!

Pamela RG said...

Very informative and well presented.

jo said...

Hi Kim, Thank you so much for posting this! I'm glad your readers enjoyed this too! Thanks to the readers for your kind words. :)

Kim, I can't imagine you with a different name. To me, you're KIM! I've always loved that name, maybe because I used to have a boss whose name was Kim and we got along so well.

xo Jo

Monica said...

This was a very interesting to read and nice to learn of some of these superstitions. I am not a superstitious at all but I love to learn of others, it makes me curious to their reasoning. As for #6 I think that's falls for all women A lot of women wait until the first 3 months or 1st trimester before letting anyone know they are pregnant.

Annie Sand said...

Thank you for sharing this, it was so interesting to read! I love to learn things about other cultures.

Irene said...

Hi Kim (and Jo),
I really enjoyed reading this! And yes, I love learning about new cultures and I don't know that much about the chinese culture. Actually I don't know almost anything about it.
It's interesting that there aro so many supersticion surrounding the pregnancy stage. I was particularly surprised by the wedding ban because of the clash of joy, funny thing.
For the rest, I think every culture has some similar uses, especially regarding the diet.
Have a great weekend, Kim!
xo Irene

Rowena @ rolala loves said...

Being Chinese, I actually knew most of these but this was still a fun post to read. We Chinese can be a real superstitious bunch lol. My mom had a list of things I could/couldn't do when I was getting married. Thanks Jo and Kim!

Rowena @ rolala loves

kim bim said...

Lmfao!!! Yeah! Yeah!! Every country has it's own taboos lol. I don't allow myself into these sh*ts but Somehow some of them could be true. They kin of silly but somehow they say our fore fathers are wiser than us. Like me i so much freak out with red bedsheets,Oh boy! I hate it,everything white is my favorite. Funerals i won't attend if i am carrying a baby. No way,Am gonna freak out. lool.

Rebeca Muñoz López said...

It is interesting to learn about other cultures and beliefs, although many of the superstitions seemed curious, cute post!

Coco said...

Thank you Jo for sharing your traditions with us. Every superstition has a reasonable origin or symbolism behind it. Regarding point 1 I really crossed the rule as I made major house works while I was expecting, and this stressed me out considerably :-) happy Sunday Jo and Kim!
Coco et La vie en rose
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Lorena said...

Quite interesting...
in my country #6 is very common :)

Shabby, Chic, & Cheap said...

So fun to read these as a preggo lady! I love learning about other cultures and their beliefs.

Natalya Kennedy said...

I never know this stuff exist in Chinese beliefs. I myself has a lot of Chines friends but I think they've kept this as a secret.

Thanks for this very informative post.

I am lucky I knew this before my pregnancy.

Babes With Braces

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Sherman Ellie said...

hi Kim,

thanks for the great info, just would like to know is it ok for me to go for a hair cut while pregnant? and as for the scissors, as im living with my family, are they allowed to use the scissors? is it ok to cook as i will need to handle the knifes n stuff?

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Natalia Thio said...

You know one of those chinese taboos where you "dont want to believe, but its pretty believable".. (If you know what i mean).. so well, the other day a cousin of my dad's passed away, and I had to go to the funeral, as the rest of my family are away, and I was the only one in town.. Right after going, I had terrible contractions and I was only 26 weeks pregnant.... I had to go to the ER and everything :(