What's the superstition about storing your pram at home before giving birth?
Is it bad luck to keep a pram in your house while you're pregnant? And how did this old wives' tale come about?
It's a much-trotted-out superstition that having your pushchair – or even any of your baby stuff – in your house while you're pregnant is bad luck. You should, apparently, keep your pram (and cot and car seat) away from your home until your baby's born or 'awful things could happen'.
As with most superstitions, though, there is no evidence for any of this: the presence of your pram (or cot or car seat) in your house has absolutely no power to impact your pregnancy or your baby's health.
As mrsgiddy, one of our Chat forum users says, "I've heard all the 'you can't keep it in the house...' stuff but the only way that having the pram in the house is going to be bad luck is if I trip over the damn thing!"
Where did this superstition begin?
We don't know where this particular old wives' tale originates, although we've tried hard to find out (if you know, do please tell us by adding a comment to this article).
But we do know it's something that's been passed down the generations – something that's, anecdotally, from the days when birth was less safe and more newborns died from disease.
And it's essentially about not tempting fate: the superstitious mind thinking that, if you don't fill your house with baby stuff, then the fates won't curse you for daring to presume your baby will arrive safe and well.
There was probably a element of practicality, too as Chat forum user dinothedrunkenhamster points out: "I think it basically just started because back in the day things were more likely to go wrong. It was kinda a practical thing more then anything – no good having a pram if something has gone wrong."
Does the superstition apply only to prams?
Yes, on the whole – although some of our Chat forum users say their hardcore-superstitious older relatives insist it also applies to other baby equipment, such as cots and car seats.
And, according to Chat forum user lucylooandbabykins, in some cultures, it is considered bad luck to have anything for the baby (clothes, blankets, nappies) in the house: "I just wanted to add that, in some Asian cultures, you are not allowed to buy or have anything at home until baby is born.
"Where I worked before I finished for my maternity leave, some of the ladies who followed this tradition were really shocked by the amount of stuff I had already. But I would feel so out of control if had to wait until baby arrives!"
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OK, but what if I don't want to tempt fate?
If, now you've heard about the superstition, you'd actually feel a bit spooked at the idea of keeping a pram in your house while you're still pregnant, there are, of course, ways around that. You could:
- Store the pram at someone else's home. Perhaps a family member could keep it at theirs till the baby's born?
- Ask the retailer you're buying the pram from to deliver to your house after your baby's due date
- Delay buying the pram until your baby arrives. The shops will still be open (something most of us forget in the usual pre-baby buying frenzy!) and you might even make a better choice when you've got a live baby taking part in the pram- shopping decision...
If you opt for the first suggestion and store your pram at someone else's house, midwife Freya Mahal, Founder of Expecting antenatal classes in London, has some wise advice: “Go round a couple of times and put the pram up and have a play around with it. I always recommend having a play with all equipment before you need to use it for real."
And what if I'm not superstitious but my family are?
Hmm, frankly, this is the likeliest scenario, we reckon. We all know how mums, dads, grans, granddads, aunties, uncles and all sorts of kith and kin just LOVE to dish out the pregnancy advice and, while some of it can be useful of course, there are pretty nearly always a whole of old wives tales – like this pram one – thrown into the mix.
Obviously, you might be happy just to ignore the pram warnings of doom, like lo-lala from our forum: "I've kept mine at home with me, and it's all set up, in its place, ready to be used. Mum was appalled, as well as the aunties, but I personally think it's an old tradition and I wanted my pram here with me."
But, if it would make waves in the old family relations to dismiss your relatives' superstitions, you might just decide, like a_thistle that storing your pram somewhere else is really not a great hardship. "I'm not superstitious but my pram is at my parents' house. My mum and mother-in-law both mentioned the superstition. Our parents have been so good to us buying pretty much all the big items for baby, so I didn't mind making this concession to them."
Freya Mahal agrees: "I wouldn’t encourage anything that induces anxiety so, in a situation where you're really feeling under pressure about this, I'd advise finding somewhere else to store your pram."
In the end, though. it's completely up to you what you do – but you can rest easy that, if you choose to keep your pram at home, there is absolutely no evidence it will impact your pregnancy.
And, if you do decide to front out the superstitious around you, it may actually, says Freya Mahal, be good practice for those new-mum days ahead when other people give you well-meaning but unwanted advice on parenting.
"You can listen to what everyone else advises," she says, "but, if what you believe is safe, go with it. Learn to smile and nod! And then do what you believe to be best for you and your baby."
Janet is mum to two children aged 6 & 9 and a great-Aunt too. She began writing early, penning her first book aged just 7. She has published 2 books
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