Pamahiin: Debunking 5 Pinoy Pregnancy Myths
By Millie Manahan
Eat twin bananas for twins? Swallow a raw egg for easier delivery? Read this to debunk the different Filipino pregnancy superstitions or “pamahiin”.
If there’s one thing about the Filipino culture that people should know, it’s that Filipinos are very superstitious. In fact, Pinoys have superstitions (pamahiin) about almost everything: be it marriage, moving into a new house or one’s pregnancy. Nowadays, you’d think that parents would be more informed as to why said superstitions are nothing by myths passed down from one generation to the next, but surprisingly there is still fair share who continue to believe.
If you fall under this category, then we suggest that you continue to read on to know the scientific explanations that will debunk 5 Pinoy pregnancy “pamahiin”.
- If you want to have twins, eat twin bananas!
Many of the elderly believe that if you eat twin bananas, it increases your chances of having multiples. However, thanks to modern medicine, parents nowadays know that multiples are the result of genetic issues:
(a) One egg is released but splits into two, thus identical twins are made. This can occur with or without fertility drugs.
(b) Multiple eggs are released or there is more than one ovulation. Both (or more) eggs are fertilized and you have fraternal twins. This can happen with or without fertility drugs.
- If you’re tummy is pointed, you have a boy. If it’s round, you have a girl.
Contrary to popular belief, the shape of your baby bump does NOT determine the sex of your baby. Instead, your stomach taking on the shape it has is determined by several factors such as muscle tone, uterine tone and the position the baby is in.
If you think you’re carrying a boy because your stomach is low, than hate to break it to you, but it’s actually because your baby dropped lower into the delivery because you’re closer to delivery. If you want an accurate means of knowing the gender of your baby, then ask your doctor about having an ultrasound.
- Don’t eat adobo or dark chocolate or else your baby will inherit the color!
Comparable to the “if you see something ugly, your baby will be ugly too!” myth, the things that you see or eat do NOT necessarily determine your child’s physical features. Going back to your high school Biology class, your baby’s physical features will be greatly determined by genetics.
The biological parents give their unborn child a total of 46 chromosomes. 23 from the mother and the other set of 23 chromosomes are from the father. In Biology (if you still remember), we studied about chromosomes, and that dominant gene always beats out the recessive one. Therefore, the baby’s looks depend on the dominant gene.
- “Don’t cut your hair” or “swallow a raw egg” so that you have an easier time during delivery!
It’s no surprise that there is no scientific explanation to back up these claims. Contrary to these pamahiins, labor is dependent on the mom’s well-being. In order to have a relatively easier labor, doctors and health experts recommend that the mom keep fit and active during her pregnancy.
Keeping fit and building up your endurance will allow you to better tolerate labor pains and decrease the need for more medical intervention than necessary. However, it is very important that you always seek your doctor’s advice with regards to fitness activities during pregnancy.
- Kain lang ng kain, you’re eating for two!
Although it is important that the mommy-to-be stay healthy and happy, it is important to know that you DO NOT have to eat everything that you’re craving for. Eating for two does not mean eating twice the portions, but rather, eating food that will provide your baby with the nutrients needed to ensure it’s well-being. Unnecessary weight gain caused by overeating during pregnancy may not only make weight loss harder to achieve after delivery, but may cause problems during delivery as well. Therefore, it is best to be prudent with your food and liquid intake during pregnancy.
Superstitions or Pamahiin are not easy to shake-off or to ignore because they’ve been greatly ingrained into our culture, but the next time your tita or lola tells you to do something that doesn’t seem to make sense, then fret not, politely hear them out and stay calm knowing that there may be a scientific explanation out there that will easily debunk it.