Chinese people are very superstitious. A long time ago I wrote a post with several superstitions I’d heard, you can check it here. They also often do things “just in case”, even if they don’t truly believe them. For example, praying in all kinds of temples when they are not religious. If they pass by a Buddhist or Taoist temple they will offer some incenses, and if they happen to visit a Christian church they will light candles or pray. You never know if any of these gods really exist, so better have them all happy just in case!

中国人非常“迷信”。很久以前,我写了一个帖子,上面有我听说的几个迷信,你可以在这里查看。他们也经常做一些“以防万一”的事情,即使他们并不真正相信。例如,在各种他们不相信的寺庙里祈祷。如果他们路过一个佛教或道教的寺庙,他们会献上一些香,如果他们碰巧参观了一个基督教堂,他们会点燃蜡烛祈祷。你永远不知道这些神是否真的存在,所以最好让这些神都快乐,这是以防万一!

Pregnancy is a very important and special situation in the life of a woman, so of course Chinese people have a lot of taboos and superstitions regarding it (and I guess things only got worse with the one child policy, when they only had one chance to have a perfect baby). I found a scientific article published in the Asian Nursing Research journal where several of these taboos are mentioned. I’ll list some of the most curious ones:

怀孕在女性的生活中是一个非常重要和特殊的情况,所以中国人当然有很多关于怀孕的禁忌和迷信(我想独生子女政策只会让事情变得更糟,因为他们只有一次机会有一个完美的孩子)。我发现了一篇发表在亚洲护理科研期刊上的科学文章,其中提到了一些这样的禁忌。我将列举一些最令人好奇的:


You can’t hammer nails into the wall: will cause fetal malformation. [How? By some kind of magic?]

你不能用锤子把钉子钉进墙里:这可能会引起胎儿畸形。[怎么做?通过某种魔法吗?]

You can’t attend weddings: the article says too much joy can cause abnormal uterine contractions but apart from this it’s also said you will bring bad luck to the bride. [I had two pregnant women in my Chinese wedding and another two in my Spanish wedding, I’m doomed!]

你不能参加婚礼:那个文章上说太多的快乐会导致异常的子宫收缩,但除此之外,还说你会给新娘带来厄运。(在我的中国婚礼上有两个孕妇,在我的西班牙婚礼上又有两个,我死定了!)

You can’t prepare the baby’s bed in advance: having an empty baby’s bed at home brings bad luck.

你不能提前准备婴儿的床:家里有一张空的婴儿床会带来厄运。


You can’t cut the wings and legs of a chicken: may harm the integrity of the baby. [This has to be magic too.]

你不能切断鸡的翅膀和腿:可能会影响婴儿的完整性。这也肯定是魔法

You can’t raise your hands above your shoulders: it will destabilise the vital energy of the fetus and can cause spontaneous miscarriage. [There’s a similar one in the West: some people believe raising your hands will cause the umbilical cord to wrap itself around the baby’s neck.]

你不能把手举过肩膀:这会破坏胎儿的生命活力,并可能导致自然流产。[在西方也有类似的情况:有些人认为举起双手会导致脐带缠绕在婴儿的脖子上。]

You can’t eat the following things: watermelon and mung beans (they slow down blood circulation, affect the absorption of nutrients by the fetus and can cause a miscarriage in early pregnancy), rabbit (the baby will have a cleft lip or cleft palate), dark coloured food (the baby will have dark skin), snake (the baby will have scales), mango, lychees and shrimp (the baby will have allergies and eczema), mutton (the baby will have epilepsy), ice cream and banana (they will cause a miscarriage in early pregnancy and the baby will have convulsions).

你不能吃以下东西:西瓜和绿豆(它们会减缓血液循环,影响胎儿对营养物质的吸收,可能导致流产)、兔子(婴儿会患唇腭裂)、深色食物(婴儿会有黑皮肤)、蛇(婴儿会有鳞片)、芒果、荔枝和虾(婴儿会有过敏和湿疹)、羊肉(婴儿会有癫痫)、冰淇淋和香蕉(它们会导致流产和婴儿痉挛)。

Those are some of the traditional superstitions and, to be honest, I think many of them are not believed nowadays, at least in mainland China, or at least I had not heard about them. What I’ve been hearing these moths are the following ones:

这些是一些传统的迷信,说实话,我认为现在很多迷信已经不被相信了,至少在中国是这样,或者至少我从来没有听说过。我听到的这些包括:



Old lady: It is said that dogs affect the baby, give it to someone else.

老太太:据说狗会影响婴儿,把它交给别人。

Pregnant woman: In western countries, pregnant women have dogs and they don’t have any problem.

孕妇:在西方国家,孕妇养狗没有任何问题。

Dog: What have I done??

狗:我做错了什么?

You can’t exercise or move too much: in this other scientific article, only 11% of the over 1000 pregnant women in the city of Tianjin who participated in the study reached the minimum requirements for exercise during pregnancy (150 minutes per week). The main reason they gave was that they thought moving too much can cause a miscarriage. I think many Chinese women believe their bodies are weak and faulty, while we foreigners are strong because we eat beef and drink milk every day.

你不能运动太多:在另一篇科学文章中,天津市参与研究的1000多名孕妇中,只有11%达到了孕期锻炼的最低要求(每周150分钟)。他们给出的主要原因是,他们认为过度运动会导致流产。我认为许多中国女性认为她们的身体虚弱,而我们外国人是强壮的,因为我们每天吃牛肉喝牛奶。


You can’t take a bath: many people honestly believe that water can enter your uterus (yes, sex education in China is practically non existent). Ahem. Many people also believe having sex is a no-no during pregnancy for a similar reason (yeah, right, man, do you think you are a horse or something?). I’m looking forward to the swimming pool opening for the summer and seeing the looks on people’s faces when they see a heavily pregnant woman swimming.

你不能洗澡:许多人真的相信水可以进入你的子宫(是的,中国的性教育实际上是不存在的),咳咳。许多人也认为在怀孕期间不能做爱,原因是相似的(哦,伙计,你以为你是一匹马还是什么?)我期待着在夏天游泳池开放后,看到人们看到一个怀孕的女人游泳时脸上的表情。

You can’t eat or drink cold things: well, this applies always, not only when you are pregnant. For Chinese people, cold drinks and foods are the devil and the number one cause of mortality. Haven’t you heard about that young man who died after drinking a cold soft drink?

你不能吃或喝冷的东西:好吧,这一点是对的,但不仅仅是当你怀孕的时候。对于中国人来说,冷饮和冷的食品是魔鬼,是死亡的头号原因。你有听说过那个年轻人喝了冷饮就死了吗?

You have to cut your hair short: because hair steals nutrients from the fetus.

你必须把头发剪短:因为头发会从胎儿身上吸收营养。

What do you think of all these taboos? What I find very surprising is that, being as it seems so easy to have a miscarriage, people still go to abortion clinics and waste their money there. They could just eat pineapple and watermelon, raise their hands over their shoulders and walk a lot and their problem would be solved!

你对这些禁忌有什么看法?我发现非常令人惊讶的是,看起来流产似乎很容易,但人们仍然去诊所堕胎浪费他们的钱。他们只要吃菠萝和西瓜,把手举过肩膀,走很多路,他们的问题就解决了不是吗?

What pregnancy taboos are there in your country?

你们的国家有什么怀孕禁忌吗?