China Elevator Stories

Things my mother-in-law told me not to do during pregnancy

My Chinese in-laws stay with me and my husband in Shenzhen for a few weeks during my first pregnancy.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


Every time I was squatting on the floor, my mother-in-law would say: “Get up! Get up! Get up! Get up! Get up!” I always replied that the baby won’t just fall out if I squat and that squatting doesn’t do any harm. But since she didn’t stop saying “get up” until I actually did get up, I would eventually get up so she’d stop saying it. Case in point: Most public restrooms in China only have squat toilets.

Bama Guangxi - Ruth Silbermayr

Lifting heavy things

My mother-in-law would not let me lift anything that was a bit heavier. Actually, it didn’t even need to be that heavy. And while my mother also told me that I shouldn’t lift heavy things during pregnancy, what counts as heavy in Austria seems to be slightly different from China. But not every Austrian seems to know that you shouldn’t lift anything heavy during pregnancy. When I looked for infant car seats in a shop in Austria, the seller told me I could lift it myself if I wanted to know how heavy it was. No, thanks. Lifting a car seat that has 5-10 kg is definitely not healthy for a woman who’s 8 months pregnant!

Laos - Ruth Silbermayr

Popping pimples

Although I rarely have large acne-like pimples, I like squeezing the smaller ones I get from time to time. Once upon seeing this, my mother-in-law told me to refrain from doing that. I think she would still have told me this if I wasn’t pregnant.

Ruth Silbermayr and her husband

Blowing my nose

Another time after having experienced me having a cold, my mother-in-law told me not to blow my nose with too much force. I’m not sure if she was concerned my nose would get sore or if she was afraid the baby would be popped out 4 months early if I blew my nose with too much force. Rest assured: Baby wasn’t popped out too early.

Has anyone ever told you what to do or refrain from doing?

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