Are Toddlers Doing Downward Dog Pregnancy-Predicting Witches? Here’s a Body-Language Expert’s Take

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Here are two good reasons to keep an eye on babies: 1. They’re vulnerable to the elements, like hawks or coyotes. 2. They might be able to spot a pregnancy before you have the chance to even pick up a Clearblue. Legend has it, if a baby looks through their legs while on all fours, they’re not just practicing for a new mommy-and-me yoga class. Rather, they might be prophesizing a younger sibling is en route.

Okay, okay, it’s really just an old wives' tale that you may or may not have heard while stranded at your cousin’s baby shower. The gist is that if a baby looks through their legs, they're predicting a pregnancy is on the way and/or “looking for” or wanting another sibling. (There are, BTW, zero baby pictures of me in this pose, and I somehow landed a brother at the tender age of 18 months. Rude.)

Experts In This Article

Recently, elite babies of Instagram have been assuming the pose, making me wonder…is it…could it possibly be…legit? When Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine Cohen recently posted an Instagram of her baby doing downward dog, the comment section bubbled with thoughts like, “PREDICTING ANOTHER PREGNANCY,” and “Another baby, your baby’s waiting patiently for a new addition.” Others @-ed Instagram director of fashion partnerships, Eva Chen, who, in recent months, has posted Instagram Stories of her toddler doing the same thing. “It’s something that @evachen212 use to say when she find her kids in this position,” one commenter writes. “I think it’s a joke.”

“Toddlers are working on depth perception. So I believe they may look upside down through their legs and see a totally different world." —Patti Wood, body-language expert

Well, like most pregnancy superstitions—or like, general superstitions for that matter—you can’t really rely on science to give you a straight answer, unless that answer is, “mmm, probably not.” And while it seems pretty dubious that babies may be able to tap into a magic sense to invoke a pregnancy, body-language expert Patti Wood was able to offer insight about the spontaneous inversions. She says they may have more to do with the child expanding their world versus a desire to expand their family size. “Mechanically speaking, our eyes see everything upside down,” Wood says. “The process of refraction through a convex lens causes the image to be flipped, so when the image hits your retina, it’s completely inverted. When babies are born, they see everything upside down, but after a few days the brain adapts the raw sensory information it brings in and turns it into a coherent, right-side-up image.”

Interesting, yes, but here’s where it gets cute: “Toddlers are working on depth perception. So I believe they may look upside down through their legs and see a totally different world," Wood says. And, a totally different world may well be one that includes an entirely new human (or the desire for one to manifest). Young children are malleable to making changes to the world around them. Could one way of expanding their world be the addition of a little sibling?

Considering that most children enter siblingdom between the ages of 2 and 3, the timing falls in line with "predicting" another baby on the way. But, final verdict: While I'm no doctor or witch, I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into your baby assuming this asana. If it happens, rather than focusing on whether they're predicting baby No. 2, enjoy the tiny human in front of you while they’re in this precious, curious stage of life. (Spoken like a true firstborn, #amirite?)

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.
  1. Volling, Brenda L. “Family transitions following the birth of a sibling: an empirical review of changes in the firstborn’s adjustment.” Psychological bulletin vol. 138,3 (2012): 497-528. doi:10.1037/a0026921

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