Avoid the Sun?
n the United States, most physicians recommend that pregnant women avoid substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs and certain dangerous activities such as scuba diving and horseback riding. However, in other cultures, there are several additional activities that are avoided. These include:
• Lying too long in the sun, which may cause the baby to melt (Ibo, Nigeria).
• Eating hot food or drinking hot liquid, which may scald the fetus (East Africa).
• Sitting in front of a door for an extended period, which may cause the baby to have a big mouth and to cry too much (Java, Indonesia).
• Sleeping on one’s back, which may cause the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby’s neck (Bariba, People’s Republic of Benin).
• Hanging the washing out, which may cause the umbilical cord to become knotted (Navajo Indians, United States).
• Gazing at the eclipse of the moon, which may cause a baby to be born with a cleft palate (Aztecs, Mexico).
Source: Adapted from Dunham et al., 1992, p. 41.
has been associated with spontaneous abortion, low birth weight, prematurity, and low iron levels (Martin et al., 2005; Pandey et al., 2005). In addition, it increases the risk of vascular damage to the developing baby’s brain and has been found to interfere with a male’s future ability to manufacture sperm (Storgaard et al., 2003). Fathers, friends, relatives, and strangers who smoke around a pregnant woman jeopardize the future health of a developing baby.