Because China allows only one child per family Chinese are very careful even from the beginning that everything goes smoothly. Of course everybody wants a perfectly healthy baby and they do not want to do anything that could jeopardize that. For the Chinese, ensuring the health of their unborn baby includes following old wives’ tales that some nationals even think are silly, but for the off chance that it might cause abnormalities, they will follow it.

Fragility of the Pregnant Woman
The Chinese people are very careful with pregnant woman. They may tell you that you should not do any physical work while you are pregnant, encourage you to take lots of naps, and discourage you from picking up anything that looks heavy. It is also said that you shouldn’t ride a bike. During pregnancy it is the job of older woman to take care of the pregnant woman by limiting her actions and giving her lots of advice. (A foreigner in China should also expect to be given advice.) This is done not only for the health of the baby, but also for the mother to be.

Intercourse Forbidden
A pregnant couple are highly discouraged from intercourse – especially during the first & last trimester. This is to prevent damage to the baby. A woman who is classified under “high risk” category is strongly recommended against sex for the entire pregnancy.

Certain areas may have traditional foods that a pregnant woman is supposed to, or not allowed to, eat during pregnancy, but overall she is allowed to eat anything she wants. Eating too much spicy food is usually discouraged. If she eats food not properly cut, the child may grow up to have a careless disposition and if light colored foods are eaten, the child will have fair skin.

Other Pregnancy “No-Nos”
Hammering or the use of scissors are forbidden in the home or near a pregnant woman for fear that it will cause deformities to the baby. And using glue while pregnant is believed to cause birthing complications.

-An expectant mother should never attend funerals.
-It is thought that if an expectant mother touches a baby she will be more susceptible to illnesses during the rest of her life.
-It is discouraged to rub the pregnant belly too much because it is thought the baby will be spoiled.
-A pregnant woman should not be near a TV, use a cell phone or work on a computer for fear of the radiation each item emits.

2 comments on “Pregnancy
  1. Christine says:

    It’s also considered very unlucky for a pregnant woman to attend a wedding, at least in Beijing.

    Aprons that protect pregnant office ladies from the radiation that comes off computer screens are very popular here too.

  2. chinaresearcher says:

    I was wondering, do you know the consequences of having a baby when you are a teen? Are there punishments, benefits, etc. We’re doing research about pregnancy in china, and it would be very helpful if I could find this answer. Thank you!

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In the Media
We were interviewed by a reporter at The reporter featured HBIC in a two-part series.
Part 1 talks about our personal experiences in having babies in China. (2011.4.19)

Part 2 focuses on "Curious Traditions". (2011.6.01)

2009.8 - Check out this article which featured our family and our website! Qingdao Expat Magazine