During pregnancy, some pregnant women
suffer abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding symptoms, which may lead to
miscarriages. Embryos will not survive if miscarriage occurs during the
early stage but the probability of survival will be higher if it happens
after 28 weeks of pregnancy.
However, folklore says that most babies born in the seventh month of
pregnancy will survive but those who are born in the eighth will not
make it. In today’s modern world, the infant mortality rate has been
reduced. Miscarriage happens because the foetus is unhealthy and thus,
it is nature fs way of ensuring that mum fs health is not put at risk.
Moreover, some women will bleed during pregnancy.
It is believed that if an expectant mother offends the gods, she will
feel sleepy all the time or is unable to sleep, and she always falls
sick. If the foetus offends the gods, it might lead to a miscarriage. It
is believed that moving out or moving furniture is taboo. Meanwhile,
nailing and hammering at the pregnant woman’s home will also cause her
to produce a disabled child.
The Chinese refer to the Chinese Almanac Tongshu to see where the
Foetal God h is every day. They will avoid touching the place where the
Foetal God is. Usually, the places where the Foetal God is include
doors, stoves, pestels, mills, kitchens, stores, beds and toilets. In
fact, stories about the Foetal God is mainly meant to advise pregnant
women to be careful and avoid moving heavy objects.
Once a pregnant woman offends the gods, a stack of joss papers, with a
bowl of water on the papers and a knife on the bowl, will be placed on
an altar for three days. The Chinese call it 壓土 (soil
compaction). Three days later, they will have a 謝土
(thank-the-soil) ceremony outside the house. They pour the water on the
ground and pray with joss sticks and candles before burning the joss
In addition to avoiding offence to the gods during pregnancy, the gods
are to be appeased within 40 days after the birth of the baby. When the
baby breathes heavily with the skin around its lips turning green, the
gsoil compaction h ceremony must be held immediately. Otherwise, the
baby might die.
Other than the gsoil compaction h ceremony, some will seek help from
Taoist spell masters to get a talisman to protect the foetus and the
An expectant mother should seek proper medical treatment when there are
symptoms of miscarriage. Folk methods mentioned above lack scientific
basis and are only for reference purpose as these methods play a role in
pacification of the parties involved. (By LI YONG QIU (李永球)/
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)