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.