Pregnancy and childbirth are common experiences worldwide. But, there are some unique birth traditions and distinct pregnancy and parenting related practices in different cultures and societies in the world.
Unique Birth Traditions Worldwide
Different cultures and traditions celebrate child’s arrival in different, unique ways. With the advancement in education system, technology and modernization people have converged more or less to the common, global childbirth practice in health centers.
It is estimated that around 130 million babies are born each year and not all babies are welcomed with common traditions, superstitions and customs. Some babies are born on the floor of separate house made for childbirth while others are born through C-sections on the floor of a well-equipped hospital.
Each and every area has special means of celebrating childbirth and pregnancy, that is unique birth traditions and distinct pregnancy custom. Today we will be discussing on some unique birth traditions and pregnancy related traditions prevailing around the globe.
Peculiar Birth Traditions in Dominican Republic
There is a popular myth among people in the Caribbean country about predicting baby’s gender. A knife, a spoon and a fork are placed separately under 3 chairs and the mom-to-be is asked to choose chair to sit on. If the expectant mother chooses the chair with spoon, it’s a baby girl. if she chooses the chair with the knife, the baby will be a boy and if she sits on chair with the fork then the gender of the baby is not determined.
Another unique birth tradition shows a connection between baby gender and the thickness and color of hair of mother. The expectant mother with thick and shiny hair will have baby boy while opposite suggests a baby girl.
The unique birth tradition prevail in Bali is that people bury the placenta. In this Hindu country placenta is considered to be alive and almost like a sibling of new baby. So, the placenta is placed in a container and buried outside home as part of detailed ceremony.
Another unique birth tradition found in Bali is that a newborn is not allowed to touch his/her feet to the ground for 105 days of life. This practice, however, is based on Hinduism which makes baby’s spirit intact. The newly born baby is treated like a god because he/she is still considered to be a part of spirit world.
There is also one unique birth tradition in Bangladesh. If mother’s skin is bright and radiant during pregnancy then mother is supposed to be carrying a girl, while if mother’s face consists of dark circles under the eye, mother is thought to be carrying a boy.
Prenatal care starts with midwife in Netherlands. Here home-birth is more common compared to other developed counties. Expectant mother gets all required services from pregnancy to post-partum and can choose place of delivery.
In turkey, mother is given a traditional beverage to drink so as to celebrate the new baby and to have good flow of milk. The drink is called lohusa serbeti i.e. postpartum sherbet. The solution, which is made with sugar, water, cloves, cinnamon and food color, is first served to the mother at hospital. Similarly, there is no tradition of baby shower in Turkey. Mother and new born baby stay at home for 20 days and then they visit the homes of kin and well-wishers.
In this Latin American country, there is no tradition of baby shower. In contrast to traditions in other countries, the mother gives basket of presents to the visitors in the hospital. The presents consist of small items like candy and souvenirs, note from baby with thanks for visiting them. In addition to this unique birth tradition, new born baby is given red dress which is supposed to keep evil spirits away and sign of good luck.
In this country, ninth day of baby’s birth has special meaning. The mother marks the calendar and celebrate the baby’s arrival with family and friends. Likewise, Well-wishers bring sweets, money, gift and gold bangle bracelets for the new born. Similarly, mother take her first bath on the ninth day. In addition, some mothers burn placenta which is the symbol of attachment between mother and child.
This European nation has new birth system since 1930. Based on the regulation, Finland government provide a care package to the new mother, which is filled with clothes, bedding, diapers, first aid kit and bibs. The system which was created for poor families became available to all families since 1949. As a consequence of this government approach, the country has one of the lowest infant mortality and child mortality rates on the globe.
In this African nation, there is a special tradition called omugwa, mostly in Yoruba community. It is the culture in which baby’s first bath is given by grandmother and if she is not available, an auntie or close friend. This symbolize the team work and community effort in raising a new born baby.
Similarly, grandmother helps mother to get back to normal shape with routine work like a belly massage and so on. Babies also receive blessings on ninth day for baby boy and on seventh day for a baby girl.
As in Netherlands, mother in Germany see midwives as first persons for their delivery. In fact, midwifes are presented in every birth by law. Likewise, the family must choose official baby name from the list provided by government office in Germany. If they need to choose other name, they have to give clear justification.
There is one unique birth tradition in the USA. A KuddleUp, a white blanket with blue and pink stripe, has been used there for around 60 years in almost all hospital in the country. That is why all newborn babies’ photos look similar.
All employed mom-to-be get one and half month of fully paid leave before delivery. After delivery, she gets 2 years of paid leave. In addition, if she wishes to get another one-year leave, she can have unpaid leave. So, mother’s job must wait for her for 3 years.