Pregnant Wisdom:   First Time Pregnancy
Unique Filipino Customs

Like most cultures, there are all sorts of beliefs and customs associated with pregnancy. Some are quite practical in nature, some downright surreal. Here are some that you may have heard of:

Determining Sex

The baby is a boy when the expectant mom’s belly is pointy and set high; when she is beautiful all throughout her pregnancy; and when she steps with her left foot first.

The baby is a girl when the expectant mom’s belly is rounder and set lower; when she appears to lose her beauty; and when she steps with her right foot first.

Pregnant Woman’s Activities

When you’re expecting, your activities are somewhat limited. For example, you are discouraged from attending funerals as it might result in a difficult delivery, which could endanger the life of the mother and the baby. Other activities which might bring on a difficult delivery include remodeling one’s home and acting as a sponsor in a baptismal ceremony. Meanwhile, watching a scary movie might induce the pregnant woman to go into labor.

Pregnant Woman’s Clothing

The pregnant woman is advised against wearing tight-fitting clothes as it may cause her baby to become handicapped. In the same manner, she is asked not to wear anything around her neck as the umbilical cord might wound around her baby’s neck as well. She is also discouraged from going barefoot as it might cause her to get sick.

Pregnant Woman’s Eating Habits

According to folklore, what the expectant mother eats will have a direct effect on the unborn baby. For example, eating calamansi will result in the smooth complexion of the newborn. Munching on chicken’s ass will make the child madaldal (talkative). Eating shellfish will make the child to drool a lot. Raw eggs will give the pregnant mom strength for labor while rice, monggo soup, and pinakbet will make her healthy.

Post Natal Care

After giving birth, all sorts of treatments and rituals surround the care of the new mother. For one month, family members and relatives assist in the cleaning and cooking to give the new mother time to rest and heal.

She is asked not to take a bath for at least a week. Otherwise, she might find herself sick. During that time, a manghihilot visits the new mother to give her a healing massage. When the week is up, the new mother will be asked to sit on an arinola filled with hot water while covered in a blanket. The heat and steam is supposed to cleanse her insides. Afterwards, she will rinse herself in warm water filled with guava leaves. This concoction will aid in her swift recovery.


Philippine Association for Childbirth Education

Imagine Nation Photography


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