The truth about old wives' tales

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

But how did they become part of our lexicon? And how many of them really are true?

Some OWTs concern jewelry which was thought to prevent evil spirits from entering the body while earrings and painted lips were talismans to keep devils away. In medieval times, pearls were believed to be solidified tears and thus unlucky, as were emeralds because there were used as the eyes in religious figures and were usually stolen. And lastly, diamonds were believed to bring good luck - possessing the power to drive off witches.

In many parts of the world salt is given to newborns for luck and some people have even been known to carry salt in a small bag on their person for the same reason.

Since medical advice is far safer than OWTs, for a healthy pregnancy Jones shared some tips - like thinking ahead. "Three months of folic acid before pregnancy will decrease risk of spina bifida in the baby," he said. "And if you are on medications, check those out with your obstetrician. Some meds can be dangerous to the fetus."

And don't smoke. "Stop smoking before attempting to get pregnant," Jones said. "Smoking adds a big risk to the pregnancy and increases risk to the baby of asthma after birth."

He also debunks the OWT of "I'm eating for two." Along with eating healthy and exercising, Jones suggested establishing the amount of food that kept your weight stable before. "And you can actually start exercising after you become pregnant, just ask your doctor for guidelines," he said.

"Always ask questions," Jones said. "Patients always say, 'I have a stupid question.' I always tell them no question is stupid if you don't know the answer. Write down your questions and bring them with you."

Marguerite Marsh is a freelance writer and winner of the Ohio Public Images 2008 Print Journalism Award of Excellence for her Columbus Parent article "Motherhood Redefined and Transformed by Treacher Collins Syndrome."