10 Pregnancy Superstitions That Are Old Wives' Tales

Diet and Birthmarks
A strawberry-shaped birthmark doesn’t mean Mom was overly fond of the red fruit during pregnancy. Darren Wise/iStock/Thinkstock

Birthmarks run the gamut: big, little, practically hidden or prominently placed. One of the most popular birthmark-related old wives' tales lends practically magical powers to the foods that a mother-to-be eats, or even those she simply craves. Legend has it that eating too many of a certain type of food, such as strawberries, will cause a similarly-shaped birthmark to pop up on your infant. Other, even more far-fetched versions of this lore insist that if a mother simply craves a food and then touches a part of her body, her child will be born with a mark of that shape on said body part [source: SanFillipo]. If that were at all true, each of my kids would be sporting huge pizza and chocolate cake-shaped marks smack on their faces.

Although babies can have several types of birthmarks, they all tend to appear for scientific, rather than superstitious reasons. Hemangiomas are the most common, and happen when a cluster of blood vessels grow beneath the skin. As a result, they are typically red or purple in color and fade over time. The source of the strawberry claim is likely related to the fact that superficial hemangiomas are often raised and bright red in color, giving them a similar appearance to the beloved fruit [source: KidsHealth].