Pregnancy myths: No cold drinks or foods in the first trimester?

In this series, we explore common pregnancy myths, where they come from and whether there’s any truth in them. While we offer the scientific answers to all these myths, we’ll also look them from a cultural perspective and offer practical tips.

Pregnancy Myth: avoiding cold drinks and food during the first trimester

According to an old pregnancy myth, expecting women should avoid cold drinks during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Your elders may suggest numerous warnings associated with this, such as:

  • Cold food and drinks are too shocking for the system
  • Cold food and drinks makes your body weaker
  • Your baby will have Asthma if you consume cold drinks and food

Where it comes from

Asian cultures think of the womb as an incubator for your baby, and associate nourishment with warmth. This could be why the idea of cold food or drink during the first trimester could be seen as an undesirable “shock” to the womb during the most delicate phase of the baby’s development.

In addition, according Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), consuming cold drinks is just bad for you in general, pregnant or not. TCM believes that cold drinks slow down the digestive system, causing bloating, fatigue and sore joints.

With regards to asthma, this is definitely a myth as asthma has more to do with genetics and the environment rather than what you eat during pregnancy. However, many asthmatics are sensitive to cold food and drinks, which can trigger attacks in some. So this may be where this pregnancy myth comes from.

Should I believe in this pregnancy myth?

Well, this depends on whether you believe in the principles of a TCM diet. Your doctor will tell you there is nothing wrong whatsoever with drinking cold drinks or eating cold foods. A TCM practitioner tells everyone not to consume cold things at all as it’s not optimal for the body’s performance.

Even taking TCM into consideration, consuming cold foods or drinks will not cause a miscarriage or affect the baby. And it definitely doesn’t cause asthma in your baby. So you don’t need to feel fearful and guilty just because you’ve given into a craving for ice-cream.

So if you want to follow TCM as a lifestyle choice, don’t take so much cold foods. But living in hot and humid Singapore, it’s really natural to every now and then. After all, TCM wasn’t developed in a country with a tropical climate!