Five babies sit next to each other.
Pregnancy and childbirth are treated differently around the world. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

These are just a few of the unique ways that different cultures approach having a baby.

Let’s take a look.

If your baby were born in Bali, they’d discourage your baby from touching the ground for three months. Poverty is a huge concern there as well, and work is being done to make sure the diets of pregnant women are adequate.

In the Netherlands, you’d see a midwife, not a doctor, you would not likely have an epidural, and a traditional snack after birth is “biscuits with mice” (the mice being licorice bits). The majority of women give birth at home.

In Japan, most babies are born in a hospital, most mamas give birth without pain medicine, and fathers are in the delivery room only if they took classes. I thought this was interesting that the fathers are prepared on how to help mom in labor and delivery, or they aren’t part of the birth. Also an emphasis is placed on how the mom thinks during pregnancy—so be positive.

Soon after a birth in Guatemala, the mother drinks hot chocolate and eats sweet bread. She does not get out of bed for 24 hours. The only fluids she takes are hot chocolate, hot water and chamomile tea.

Previously in Germany, there were lists of “acceptable names.” If you wanted to name a baby anything too unusual you would have to explain why. This is in contrast to a magazine I noticed recently, with unique baby names of celebrities such as Apple, Audio, Bear, or Casimo.

If you lived in Brazil and are pregnant, you would be treated like a princess. You would most likely plan on a C-section as most mothers deliver this way in Brazil.

In Turkey mothers are very concerned about cold, even going as far as bundling babies in the summer. Also women should avoid walking barefoot to avoid infertility or miscarriage, and the umbilical cord is to be buried somewhere where it will influence child’s life. For example, if they want the child to be a doctor, they would bury it outside a hospital. They stay home for the first 20 days of the baby’s life.

A pregnant Mexican woman should avoid all contact with anything death-related. She is forbidden from attending funerals or burials and from visiting cemeteries while pregnant.

In England, mostly midwives are used (have you heard of the book and TV series, Call the Midwife?) Even Princess Kate had a midwife for the birth of the royal prince and princess. England also has TENS units to help with pain (as we do at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial) and nitrous oxide. I know US hospitals are looking into having nitrous oxide available for labor.

As you can see, there is much variation worldwide surrounding birth. I picked up on a common theme of natural birth, and making sure mom has plenty of rest after baby.

What did you notice? Please feel free to add your comments below.