Home Maryanne's Tales My Random Experiences 15 Widely Believed African Myths and Superstitions on Pregnancy

15 Widely Believed African Myths and Superstitions on Pregnancy


This is my first pregnancy, and if there is a time in my life I have received loads of advice (unsolicited) than ever before, it is now. Sometimes I feel as though I have an information overload. Why? Because as soon as someone learns I’m pregnant, then their ‘expert advice’ gushes out fast and furious. For some reason, every woman I continue to meet -mother or not, seems to have strong views about pregnancy and motherhood -based either on experience, rumor, or imagination.

As an expectant mother -and a first time one at that, it is always very confusing as I am not too sure who or what to believe. Some of the things I have been told are quite interesting, as you can see below:

1. If I am experiencing lots of heartburn, then my baby will be born with loads of hair.

2. If I drink cold water, my baby will be born with pneumonia, asthma or some other such lung problems.

3. If my skin is glowing, and my hair is all nice and shiny, then it’s a girl.

4. If I have developed a rough face, a big nose and I am darker in complexion, then it’s a boy.

5. If my tummy is really huge and I’m carrying the baby low, it’s a boy.

6. If my cravings are for ugali, fish and sukuma wiki, it’s a boy. If they are for icecream, chocolate, burgers and chips, it’s a girl.

7. I have also heard that a pregnant woman should not accept any gifts (such as those from a baby shower) before the birth of the child, as some jealous women (especially childless ones or those who secretly envy her husband) may offer her a gift that has been cursed, a curse which will then be transferred to the child. That some women cast evil spells on the unborn baby through such gifts.

8. I’ve heard that a pregnant woman should not celebrate the baby until it’s born. That apparently, doing so will invite the wrath of the ancestors. As a result, the child will either be born dead or deformed.

9. Short women are not capable of having vaginal births. Automatic caesarean section it is for them.

10. African women with wide hips always have an easy delivery with not a single tear.

11. That eating lots of fish while pregnant will result in my baby being an intelligent child who will always top his/her class.

12. Itching and scratching your belly a lot during pregnancy means the baby is hairy.

13. That if you like watching romantic movies during pregnancy means you’re having a girl. Apparently watching horror and action movies means you’re having a boy.

14. Eating spicy food means the baby will be born with red or very brown hair.

15. During labor, everything around the woman must be ‘loosened’ so as not to block the passage of the baby through the cervix. Shoelaces, watches, ties, necklaces and windows must be opened otherwise the baby will refuse to come out until it feels the environment outside is ‘free enough’ for them to make their arrival. Okay.

So that’s what I’ve heard. So far. Now, what to believe and what not to? Which other ones have you heard of that I haven’t?

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Photo: molly’s maternity wear



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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.


  1. Interesting…I love how people explain the stuff they do not understand. Myths are just always hilarious. thanks for writing this. Which one did you believe and actually put into practice?

    Lolest and Congrats on motherhood.

  2. I wear shoes size 4 and gave birth naturally/normally to a healthy 3.6kg baby 🙂 and no i did not have rough skin and yes it was a boy, i had a beautiful baby shower and enjoyed and celebrated every moment of my pregnancy 🙂 Enjoy yours and try not to over think these advise. It is annoying as hell.


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