Old Wives’ Tales – True or False

Old Wives’ Tales – True or False


Putting Old Wives’ to the Test

We’ve complied a list of what’s true or false, so the next time your well-meaning friend gives you some oft-repeated advice, you can fight back with some facts!



“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”

Well, obviously not entirely, however recent research has shown that apple phenols may protect the DNA in colon cancer cells, and may even help to protect against breast cancer.

“Long labour means you’re having a boy”

This sounds like a typical old wives’ tale, but actually could contain a grain of truth. A study of 8,000 births at Dublin’s National Maternity Hospital showed that mothers of boys were significantly more likely to experience a long labour and more complications.

“Chicken soup will cure a cold”

Well, not exactly, but a by-product of chicken soup - the amino acid cysteine - can help fight congestion. It’s even related to an antibiotic that’s prescribed for respiratory infections!



“Milk makes mucus”

No it does not! At least, that’s what the researchers say. People just think it does because it makes mucus appear whiter and more gluggy. So if your snotty 3-year-old wants a glass of milk, give it to him!

“Feed a cold, starve a fever”

There is no scientific basis for this commonly held belief (and I always remember it as “feed a fever, starve a cold” anyway). In both cases it is important to drink lots of fluids and eat healthily.

“Wear a hat, most body heat is lost through the head”

Wrong again - only about 10 per cent of heat is lost through your noggin, so if you’ve spent an hour on your hair this morning, don’t panic about covering it up!

“Don’t go outside with wet hair – you’ll catch a cold”

Another hair myth. Viruses cause colds, not the weather. Colds are only more prevalent in winter because viruses thrive better indoors where it’s warmer.

“Don’t crack your knuckles, you’ll get arthritis”

Sorry Mum, you are wrong! Well actually, while cracking knuckles can cause hand swelling, a weak grip and impaired hand function (and much irritation to others!), it does not cause arthritis.

“You’re carrying out front, must be a girl”

As someone with a short torso, I was regularly told this when carrying my two boys. There’s no fact behind this old wives tale at all. Short torsos push the baby bump out, and a wide belly may just mean the baby is sideways.

“Eating sugar makes kids hyper”

As anyone who’s been to a child’s birthday party can attest, this one seems the most plausible. In spite of this, researchers believe it’s actually just the excitement of a party that causes hyperactivity, not sugar itself. Caffeinated products, like cola and chocolate, can cause hyperactivity, but research has shown that lollies and sweet drinks do not.




Kirsten Lewis on 18 June 2012 21:29
I've got two kids 3 and 8mnths and I've been told babbies should my girls had bonnets knitted by my mum and whenever I sees baby without a hat on I think that baby should have a hat on!"


Annette Hynes on 18 June 2012 13:42
I am pregnant with our third son and have carried differently with each, I think old wives tales are entertaining though


Jenna Phillips on 18 June 2012 13:22
With the wedding ring trick which way is the ring meant to spin/move back and forth with which gender? I have read two different theories


Aimee Findon on 18 June 2012 12:44
I was surprised to read about how wearing a hat doesn't stop you losing as much body heat as I thought - you learn something every day :)


Vicky George on 18 June 2012 11:57
My first baby was a boy and I had no drugs and the only complication I had was a 3rd degree tear... My daughters labour was much more intense and even though my waters broke just after I got to the hospital, I had membraine covering my cervix so wasn't dialating properly so had a 2 hr longer labor and had to have gas from laying on the bed so I would stop needing to push so I could dilate!


Cindy Christey on 18 June 2012 11:26
What can i do to help my 3 year old who gets bad car sick


Nicole Thompson on 18 June 2012 11:25
My 1st baby was a girl & had a very long & complicated labour. Just had my 2nd baby pregnancy was EXACTLY the same was so so sure was another girl but I was totally surprised to find he was a boy and labour was way quicker and easier!


Caroline Childs on 18 June 2012 11:01
My boy was born via emergency c section, he was not playing the game and was in distress.


Milosi Papali'i on 18 June 2012 10:57
My little girl was born after 2 days of labour.


Ra Rangi on 18 June 2012 10:56
So eating your crust doesn't make your hair curly?


Caroline Childs on 18 June 2012 10:37
My boy was born via emergency c section, he was not playing the game and was in distress.


Terina Geddes on 18 June 2012 10:33
what about the wedding ring trick? is that true or false?


Gabrielle Bond on 22 June 2012 10:53
I find Old wives tales interesting, there's no harm in trying them or believing them.


Louise Ingle on 22 June 2012 12:05
Every wife's tale said I was having a girl but no it's a boy :)


Amy Tinker on 22 June 2012 15:01
I got told sooo many wives tales while pregnant. I never really believed any of them. Although have read about the chicken soup one before! I follow that because chicken soup is delish!


Helen Rowse on 23 June 2012 12:51
The birth of my son was super quick(9mins from waters breaking) and no complications.


Helen Rowse on 23 June 2012 12:51
The birth of my son was super quick(9mins from waters breaking) and no complications.


Maria Millar on 27 June 2012 09:22
I've got 2 boys and 2 girls and carried exactly the same with all of them - it's amazing what people can come up with :)


Emma Hollows on 23 July 2012 15:01
The old carrying out front myth! So frustrating when you find out the sex and people still decide to speculate because of how you carry!!


Jolene Powell on 27 October 2012 17:46
Cindy - try sitting her on layers of newspaper to overcome car sickness. Worked for my daughter!

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