In China pregnancy customs that are followed may seem strange to an outsider. However, every culture has its own traditions that stem from their own way of life. In China birthing customs are respected and followed zealously.

In China pregnancy customs begin soon after a couple weds. Chinese believe that when a newlywed first enter the house, the husband should carry his wife over burning coal to ensure a safe labor in future.

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.


There are tons of rules a pregnant Chinese woman is expected to follow. Eating pineapple and shellfish is forbidden for fear of miscarriage. Chinese also believe that if a pregnant woman consumes food that is not properly cut her child may be prone to irresponsible behavior later in life. An expectant mother in China is encouraged to eat light-colored food and drink coconut milk to ensure her baby’s clear complexion.

Other Pregnancy “No-Nos”

  • 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.
  • Pregnant women are not allowed to touch adhesives or keep sharp object near them. The former can result in a baby born with birthmarks and the latter a cleft palate.
  • It is also not considered prudent for a woman to cry during labor as it might harm the child.


  1. Lucy

    In Guangdong: women should eat eggs everyday, shouldn’t eat hawthorn or crabs, shouldn’t squat (how do you use the toilet then?), should not go swimming, should only drink hot but shouldn’t drink tea… and if you are like me you’ll get constant comments on how small your bump is and how you should eat more even though the baby is growing (touch wood) fine.

  2. Suzi

    Diet is very essential during this pregnancy. If you maintain this everyday , it is good for your health and your baby’s health. Thanks for your info.

  3. Christine

    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.

  4. chinaresearcher

    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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