Birthing a child is weird and gross totally beautiful no matter where you live. That said, each culture takes its own approach to the whole endeavor, and it’s fascinating to learn the differences across the globe. Here, nine birthing rituals from around the world.
9 Unique Birthing Rituals from Around the World
In Jamaica, the placenta and umbilical cord are buried in the ground. Friends and relatives plant a small sapling at the burial spot and watch it grow alongside the child. The child is typically tasked with taking care of the tree, which is believed to teach the young a lesson in responsibility. We love it!
Thirty percent of all births in Holland take place in the home, meaning expectant mothers make frequent use of midwives to assist through labor. These tough Dutch women also tend to go forgo pain medication…to which we say, “More power to you!" (But also: "Pass the epidural.")
New moms typically stay in their own parents' home for an entire month with their new baby, bonding and regaining strength. (We can only assume the Japanese have less meddling mothers-in-law than we do.)
4. Latin America
La cuarentana, roughly translated to “quarantine,” is the practice in which new mothers abstain from certain foods, sex and physical activity for six weeks following the birth. The entire time is devoted to breastfeeding, and other families shoulder the burden of house chores, cooking and cleaning. Sounds pretty nice to us.
In Germany, all pregnant mamas get a little book called a “Mutterpass,” which they bring to all their doctor appointments throughout their pregnancy. This allows doctors to easily reference the condition and health of mother and baby—and provides a pretty cool record to look back at later.
In some parts of rural Nigeria, they practice the tradition of Omugwo, in which the grandmother gives the baby his or her first bath. This is meant to signify the community that will help raise the child, and to remind the mother that she’s not alone in the process.
In many cultures, it’s customary for friends and relatives to bring the new mother presents. Not so in Brazil, where the mother is expected to give gifts to visiting hospital guests. Um…unfair much?
Since the 1930s, the Finnish government has hooked new mothers up with a starter kit that includes all the essentials you need when you're dealing with a newborn. Baby clothes? Check. Sheets and toys? You bet. We're dreaming of the day when this idea gains traction stateside.