There are plenty of old wives' tales about your body that are completely bogus, but some of these folklores actually have some scientific research to back them up. There are a number of old wives' tales about your sexual and reproductive health that may actually be true, and deciphering between fact and fiction can help us make wise decisions about our health. As much as we want to trust all the advice our grandmothers got from their mothers, we also want to make sure we are keeping up to date on modern research and not actually causing our bodies more harm by listening to false claims.
"Despite not having traditional roots in the medical field, these 'old wives’ tales' grow popular over time," Michelle Muldrow, D.O., an OB/GYN with the Institute for Women’s Health, tells Bustle. "The more people the tip works for, the more likely they are to share it with someone else. Although some may seem really 'out there', there may be more truth behind these tips than you realize."
When it comes to information passed on from friends, family, and personal anecdotes, it's important to make sure you talk to a doctor and find out the legitimacy of these folklores before trying them out yourself. Some may seem farfetched, but turns out, some of them may actually hold up. Here are seven old wives' tales about periods, sexual health, and pregnancy that may actually be true, according to experts.
1. Semen Can Cause A Woman To Go Into Labor
Trying to get that baby moving along? If you have a male partner, sex might be able to help after all. "Semen has prostaglandins, which can cause ripening of the cervix," Dr. Tami Prince, OB/GYN tells Bustle. "Uterine contractions may occur as a result of cervical ripening. If labor is induced by the OB/GYN because of maternal or fetal indications or post-term and the cervix is not dilated, the ripening agent most commonly used is a prostaglandin. So it may not be a bad idea to try a natural prostaglandin instead."
2. You Can Get Sick From A Tampon
Although tampons themselves are usually safe to use, in very rare cases they may cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS). "Most cases of TSS that involved tampons was associated with the use of super absorbent tampons, which have since been pulled from the market and no longer available for use," says Dr. Prince. "TSS is caused by staphylococcus aureus or group A streptococcus bacterias producing toxins that enter the bloodstream and cause sepsis. Symptoms can occur suddenly and cause death if left untreated."
3. Chocolate Can Help With PMS
Eating some chocolate can do more than just soothe your soul when you're about to get your period — it can actually help with menstrual cramps. "Chocolate has magnesium, which helps reduce cramps," Jessica M. Vaught, MD, Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, tells Bustle. "Chocolate also has endorphins, which will elevate your mood and help increase your energy — in moderation, of course."
4. Ginger Can Help With Morning Sickness
"Ginger can help calm the stomach in those early months of pregnancy and help decrease your morning sickness," says Vaught. "The active part of ginger is called gingerols, which helps decrease the effect of your hormones on the stomach and helps calm the stomach lining."
5. Pineapple Can Help You Conceive
If you're looking to conceive, you might want to pick up some pineapple. "Pineapple core contains an enzyme called bromelain, an anti-inflammatory agent that can also act as a mild blood thinner," says Vaught. "The combination of these two factors can actually aid with embryo implantation. For those women looking to conceive, they may want to eat several slices of pineapple core in the days around ovulation."
6. The Foods You Eat When Pregnant Will Be The Foods Your Baby Enjoys
Don't be surprised if your future child is a fan of the same foods you like. "At 21 weeks, a developing embryo begins to ingest amniotic fluid, which contains the flavors of whatever food and drinks that mother has consumed," says Vaught. "Some evidence suggests that this in-utero introduction to new flavors becomes a memory once the baby is born, and one they may recall when they’re naturally drawn to foods they 'tasted' while in the womb."
7. Heartburn During Pregnancy Means A Baby's Head Full Of Hair
Research has found that if a woman has significant heartburn during pregnancy, she will have a baby with a full head of hair. "The thought is that these women have higher levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy, which helps stimulate hair growth but also relaxes the esophageal sphincter and allows more stomach acid to reflux from the stomach back to the esophagus," says Vaught.
You may have heard these old wives' tales at some point in your life, but it turns out that these particular wisdoms may actually hold some truth.