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Old Wives Tales about Pregnancy

Myth: You shouldn't hold your hands above your head or the baby will become wrapped up in the cord and die.

Truth: This is not true. The incidence of the baby's cord being around the neck, called a nuchal cord, is about one third of all births. It has to do with the twists and turns your little gymnast makes rather than whether or not you've held your hands up over head. -- Robin Weiss

Comments: This particular myth actually sounds sensible compared to the Hawaiian superstition that if a pregnant woman wears a lei her child may be choked by the umbilical cord. The latter definitely has a more supernatural flavor to it, but by the same token it's hard to imagine how anyone could think that raising one's arms would physically affect the positioning of the umbilical cord. Thus, both supersitions might be similarly based in supernatural beliefs. We can conjecture, for example, that the arm movements were thought to mimic the act of strangulation, and affect the unborn child in the manner of a magic spell. -- David Emery

Old Wives Tales of Pregnancy

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