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Pregnancy is a wonderful event in a woman’s life and great news for the couple, too. The addition of a new little one who is completely unknown to the parents makes pregnancy an even more vital stage in parenting. Parents start waiting for and dreaming about the baby who has not yet come in contact with this world. All of this is natural.

If you are pregnant and living in Pakistan, there are many additional things about which you will have to think and be careful. For instance, there are many facts and myths that exist in order to explain the new and unexpected changes of pregnancy. Some of these myths are harmless, but it is important to sort out fact from fiction because some of them can be disturbing.

The following are some of the interesting—and sometimes shocking—myths or facts about pregnancy in Pakistani society:

Calorie-Rich Diets

A pregnant woman is expected to eat a lot so that the baby will be healthy. Rich, high-calorie foods are also eaten, and in traditional Pakistani culture, desi ghee is a main ingredient of both the antenatal and postnatal diet. In an effort to give birth to a healthy baby, women eat food which is full of calories, but which can result in weight gain, gestational diabetes and other complications at the time of delivery.

‘Hot’ and ‘Cold’ Food

Another prevalent myth or misconception is about the nature (taseer) of food we eat. In everyday life, you often hear that some foods, such as eggs, dates, fish, and meat, are warm or hot (garam) by nature, and it is believed that eating lots of these foods can cause a miscarriage or other complications. Other foods are considered chilly or cold (thanday) by nature, which can supposedly cause chest infections and the flu. This myth can be harmful during pregnancy, however, as it can be a big obstacle to a balanced food intake.

Vulnerability to Evil Forces

It is believed that pregnant women are more vulnerable to evil forces and should therefore be more careful. Whenever they show signs of unease, it is considered ‘kisi ke nazer lag gayee hay’. To avoid these evil forces, which may be present in an unknown form or in the form of your close relatives, either the pregnant woman herself or her mother or mother-in-law may turn to a spiritual figure, or peer, for help, and the pregnant woman is protected by a taweez.

A huge amount of money is wasted on such activities, which are usually concealed from men since they don’t believe in such stuff. But you will undoubtedly come across some easily fooled local women who visit these ‘spiritual figures’ regularly and who will also try to convince you with miraculous stories.

 Assumptions About Baby’s Gender

The baby’s gender is another matter of great concern in Pakistani society. Baby boys are given a warm welcome, but baby girls are not welcomed with the same enthusiasm. An interesting fact is that even in the 21st century, some people still believe that certain herbal medicines can change the baby’s gender from a girl to a boy. Some ‘wise’ women can guess the baby’s gender just by looking at you. These women insist that their keen eye can see more than a radiologist. Other gender experts can tell your baby’s gender by asking you whether you feel pressure in your right leg or your left leg. People around you will also guess the baby’s gender by observing your sleeping patterns. If you sleep a lot and feel tired, you will have girl; if you sleep less, you will surely have a boy (though in reality you may experience the opposite).

Danger of Climbing Stairs

Another common piece of advice given to every pregnant woman is to avoid climbing stairs because it is assumed that this will affect the unborn baby. If, unfortunately, a miscarriage happens, climbing stairs is blamed as one of the causes.

Danger of Death in the Home

In some areas, pregnant women are discouraged from visiting any home where somebody has died. Pregnant women are particularly advised to avoid the poor women who have lost their babies. It is assumed that if you visit such a home, there is a great risk of miscarriage. This is because many women believe that a peer, who has performed a holy meditation (chilla) for many hours or days, has reversed the evil forces in the home of the woman who lost her child.  It is also believed that these evil forces would then be shifted to the pregnant woman and her unborn child. Parenting TeamFirst Time Parents in PakistanPregnancyPregnancy in PakistanBabies,First Time Parents,New Moms,New Parents,Pregnancy,Pregnancy MythsPregnancy is a wonderful event in a woman's life and great news for the couple, too. The addition of a new little one who is completely unknown to the parents makes pregnancy an even more vital stage in parenting. Parents start waiting for and dreaming about the baby who...Be  Smart Parents