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¿Estas segura que es mujer? ….Are you sure it’s a girl? *Traditional Hispanic Beliefs*

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This is Juan, my boyfriend, and I at our maternity photo shoot! 🙂

So if you have been following along, I am pregnant with a beautiful baby girl and I’m due in March. Although my pregnancy has been a beautiful thing, I had been worried about one thing in particular, the baby’s gender. My doctor did tell me she was a girl at the very beginning, but whenever I went back home to visit my family, everyone judged my baby’s sex by the shape of my tummy. When anyone would ask me, “what are you having boy or girl?” and I responded, “A girl” everyone would make a confused face.So I started doubting my OB/GYN. Unfortunately, my health insurance only covered two ultrasounds and so I had to wait until my 35 weeks visit which was yesterday, February 21, 2012, to see the baby one more time. Luckily, I reassured my entire family after the visit with the doctor when she said it was definitely a girl. The thing that made me really sad was that even at my baby shower this past weekend, everyone kept asking or telling me that my tummy looked like I was having a boy, but I’m glad that the doctor was right.

**Here is how the conversation went about with the OB/GYN.**

Dr. – Here is her head…here are her eyes…her nose…her lips…

Me- and she is a girl, right?

Dr.-If I said so last time yes, but let’s check that out………….yes, she is most definitely a girl 🙂

Me- Ok, just wondering because my family was judging based on the shape of my tummy and they ALL said it looked like I was having a boy.

Dr. – No! you can’t tell the sex by the shape of the tummy that’s just an old wife’s tale.

So that brings me to the point of this blog entry. There are many Old Wife’s Tales and I fell victim to one of them. Expectant Hispanic mothers tend to become anxious when they hear advice from their older family members about pregnancy based on traditional beliefs. These beliefs are not based on fact, but are taken very seriously.

  • boy_girl_symbols1The Guessing Game

Hispanic families still use their eyes to determine the sex of the baby and say that if you gain weight around your rear end you will have a boy and if your face gets rounder you will have a girl. Also one can tie a hair to the wedding band of the expectant mother and if the ring spins around in circles it’s a girl and if it moves in a straight back-and-forth motion it is a boy. There is no proven fact that there is a correlation between the movement of the ring and the sex, but many people still do this for entertainment.

  • Body Movement

The traditional belief is that the way in which the mother moves or stretches may affect the umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck, but that is not true. According to doctors they say the way the umbilical cord is positioned is because of the movements the baby makes inside the tummy. This is just a myth and even if you stand on your head, not that anyone recommends it, during pregnancy it will not affect the position of the umbilical cord.

From the baby books I have been reading they recommend to drink a lot of water and to drink a lot of milk. I personally have been craving milk my entire pregnancy as I was lactose intolerant before pregnancy and woul rarely drink milk. The doctors also say to stay away from caffeinated drinks like empy-calorie drink such as sodas, teas and coffee.

  • Your baby eats what you eat
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Thought this was a cute picture I had seen the other day 🙂

According to myth if you eat a lot of fruit your baby will be “dirty”. Eating fruits is good for the baby as they contain a lot of vitamins. So this doesn’t really make sense. According to doctors there is no way of preventing your baby from being born dirty. Babies are covered in a white cheesy substance called vernix caseosa, which protects the babies while they are floating around in the amniotic sack. Thus, when they are born they are covered in this white substance.

So while a lot of Hispanic soon-to-be mommies wait around wondering if all of these myths are true, I think it’s safe to say that they are not. Doctors did go to medical school for a reason and should know what they are talking about so I’m sure these myths are just something to keep us entertained.

Hopefully you all learned something about the myths that hispanic people believe in. Luckily, for all the woman in doubt due to these myths there is professional medical evidence to disprove all these myths. Here is an informational video based on myths vs. facts about prenatal care during pregnancy.

http:/http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK6z6i-VErM

On a side note, the doctor said I already started dilating so let’s see when baby Amber gets here! 🙂

Sincerely,

April Reinhardt 🙂

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Teen Pregnancy: A problem amongst Hispanics

I’m sure many of you know the statistic that Hispanics account for the majority of teenage pregancies, if not, here are some statistics.

  1. While teen pregnancy rates are dropping across the country, they remain stable among hispanic teens.
  2. The birth rate among hispanics ranks highest compared to other industrialized nations.
  3. Living in poverty increases the risk of teenagers becoming pregnant before the age of 19.
  4.  States with the highest economic inequality have the highest incidence of teen pregnancies reported.
  5. States with abstinance only programs have the highest incidence of teen pregnancies reported.

*Statistics

As shocking as these statistics may seem, they are true. I believe it is true that living in poverty affects teenage pregnancies. I am from Laredo, Texas which is 95% hispanic. It was also named the #1 least diverse city in the United States. In Laredo, you see a lot of teenage pregnancies in high school, sometimes even in middle school. I lived in the south central side of Laredo and went to United South Middle and High school.  In middle school there were a couple of girls who turned up pregnant, but high school proved the statistic. Some girls even had multiple children during their high school career.

teenpregnancy_datastats_150x172I believe it was easier for a single mother to stay in school if she was able to recieve help from the government for her baby and childcare. Unfortunately, I know of some male students who had to drop-out of high school in order to get a job to support the mother of his child and the upcoming baby.  Accordingly, I know of some girls who were kicked out of their homes and were forced to move in with their boyfriends families. Usually it was not so bad because there is government support for pregnant woman out there.

 

PROBLEMS WITH TEEN PREGNANCY

  • Lack of Prenatal Care

The problem with teen pregnancy is that some girls are not educated enough to take the necessary steps to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal care is such an important aspect of developing well for your baby. The majority of teens need someone by their side guiding them with information about prenatal vitamins, monthly OB/GYN appointments and all there is to know about giving birth, but some teens don’t have this guidance.

Recently a close friend of mine told me her 17-year-old sister had just given birth to a beautiful baby boy but she didn’t tell her parents until she was 8 months into her pregnancy.  As soon as she told them they rushed her to the doctor and was prescribed all sorts of vitamins in order to nourish the baby before it was born. I am no one to judge but the thought of telling your parents is tough and it makes teens avoid the situation. An adult would know the necessary steps towards prenatal care; on the other hand, teens need the help.

  • Premature birth and low birth weight

According to information from the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin webpage, one factor that contributes to low birth weight is teen pregnancy. Low birth weight can cause complications with breathing and cognitive development for the baby as their body is not developed enought to handle all of this.

  • Depression/Isolation/Lonliness

Many hispanic teens don’t have the financial or emotional support from their families and the thought of having to tell them about an unplanned pregnancy scares them; thus, leading to depression. Being pregnant also puts your life on pause for a short 9 months and if a teen is used to being active in sports or enjoying their weekends by partying, it is hard for them to put this life aside and can lead to isolation and lonliness from their friends.

Speaking from experience I know how difficult it is to tell parents about an unplanned pregnancy. I cried the first few weeks before telling my parents because I thought my family would react negatively to the news. I was having to mentally prepare for the worst. Fortunately, my brothers were very happy that they were going to be uncles to my daughter and my mother was happy she was going to be a grandma. On the other hand, my father was not so happy at the beginning. Eventually he came around and said he was happy that our family was growing. 🙂 Unfortunately, this is not the case for most teens. Especially if they are still in high school.

  • Post Partum Depression

Depression-support-groups_364x200Although teenagers are capable of becoming pregnant, they are not done growing up themselves. If a teen does not have the support of their family they will have a difficult time carrying their baby to full term. Once their baby is born and they are not ready to care the child they can fall into post partum depression. Fortunately, there are programs out there incase teens don’t have support at home.  Signs of postpartum depression are fatigue, guilt, lonliness, sleeplessness, restlessness, mood swings and excess worry.

One last thought…

A baby is a beautiful gift, but if one is not mentally prepared or does not have the support from their family this journey in life can be a tough one. Hopefully, schools can implement the importance of abstinance or the importance of prenatal care to teens in order to have a healthy and successful pregnancy, but until then Hispanics are still the statistic of teen pregnancy. If being a teen mom is hard enough I hope teens learn from their experience and find a way to be successful and wonderful mothers despite their hardships in life.

Sincerely,

April-Renee Reinhardt 🙂