Lit. prenatal education
Taking care in speech, behavior and thought by a pregnant woman to have a good impact on the fetus.
The pregnant woman makes efforts to lead a virtuous life, to see and hear good things, and to do good deeds that will have a good impact on the fetus in her womb. These efforts are called taegyo, or prenatal education, which includes not only what should be done but also what should not be done by the expectant mother.
First, the pregant woman should not visit a place that is not considered a good spot, such as noisy, smelly, unclean, crowded places, or places where there is fighting because visiting such a place will cause discomfort and have a bad impact on the fetus in her womb. She should not visit a house in mourning either. As it is a place where a person has died and a lot of people have gathered together to grieve for the dead, the baby may suffer from the impurities and become susceptible to disease.
Second, the pregnant woman should not do anything that is not considered a good deed. She should not be talkative, angry, excited, frightened, or yell, or cry, because the emotional changes involved can be completely transmitted to the fetus. Also, she should not swear or listen to other’s expletives. She should not argue or quarrel with others, nor go to places where others argue or quarrel, because these acts are believed to cause the fetus to follow them when it is born.
Third, the pregnant woman should not go to dangerous spots nor do anything risky. She should refrain from walking alone at night or going out in a rainstorm. She should not lift heavy objects. In particular, she should not wash clothes in the month when the due date is imminent because such activity is hard on her and the fetus as well and thus have a bad impact on the growth of the fetus. It is also believed that washing clothes will roughen the skin of the baby, just as the back of the pregnant woman’s hand becomes rough.
Fourth, the pregnant woman should not be lazy. She should not take too many naps nor lie down for a long time because the mother should move around so the unborn child can get some exercise as well.
There were also many things that the mother should not eat for the sake of the developing baby. She should not drink alcohol or strong vinegar because they would have a huge impact on the baby. She should not eat uneven or worm-eaten fruits because of the worries that doing so might make the fetus born lopsided. The pregnant woman should not eat rabbit meat because of the belief that it would mean giving birth to a hare-lipped baby. Eating duck meat was banned because it would mean giving birth to a baby with webbed hands and feet. She should not eat octopus or squid because that meant she would give birth to a flabby baby like a boneless squid. She should not eat food at or from a house in mourning either.
Through these efforts, the pregnant woman hoped that the developing baby would learn good things even inside her womb and that it would be born in healthy and perfect condition.