Monday, December 24, 2007

Common Pregnancy and Birth Myths in Ghana

Eating eggs during pregnancy may cause a baby's skull to be too soft, which will cause headaches in the future.
Eating too many apples during pregnancy will cause the baby to grow too fat for birth.
Having intercourse during pregnancy may cause blindness; the belief is that semen will be deposited on the fetus' eyes and cause blindness.
Eating meat during pregnancy will cause a child to grow to be a thief.
At birth hot compresses may be applied to a baby's skull to deliberately mold the baby's skull to give it a "special" shape.
At birth hot compresses and herbal concoctions may be placed on a baby's skull to close the fontanel; it is believed that the open fontanel is caused by sickness.
Female babies are douched with warm water, sometimes hot water, because of a belief that the vulva is sore after birth.
Because women do not know how to properly position and attach babies on the breast, infants often suffer from marasmus, or protein-energy starvation; women believe that this condition is a spiritual affliction given to the baby while in utero.
Many women, even those who intend to breastfeed exclusively, believe that when a baby hiccups he or she needs water to stop the hiccups.
During labor when a mother's body is massaged the blood vessels in the baby's eyes may rupture, causing blood to collect in his or her eyes.
A common belief is that at eight months the fetus dissolves into blood and at nine months it reforms before birth. Therefore, some women believe that having an abortion at eight months is safe. This practice often results in death.
Women have expressed the belief that when they vomit during labor that they are vomiting amniotic fluid.
Many women insert herbs into the vagina to deliberately dry the natural vaginal secretions with the view that men will enjoy intercourse more; this practice increases the risk of lacerations and thereby transmission of HIV.
Some women have expressed the belief that when they use an IUD for family planning the device may travel to their heart and cause heart problems.
Women often believe that the symptoms of menopause are caused by a spiritual curse.
Some HIV-infected men will seek out sexual relations with virgins; they believe that HIV can be cured through intercourse with a virgin.
Men often believe that the gender of their baby is determined by the mother, which causes conflict when his desires are not met.
Some women believe that their fertile vaginal mucous secretions, which appear during ovulation, are a sign of infection and therefore make a conscious effort to wash and dry away the secretions. This causes some women to have difficulty conceiving.

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