Giving Birth – Rituals and Beliefs around the World

Pregnancy and giving birth are associated with different rituals and prohibitions that aim to preserve the life and health of mother and baby and to ensure a better future for the child. Practices around the world differ greatly and are associated with the culture of each community, but they have one thing in common – the desire to protect the mother and the desire she feels comfortable, and the child to be born easily.

 Giving Birth


You might be surprised, but more than half of women in the country of tulips are giving birth at home. In hospital goes only those who are expected to have complications. Pregnant women do not go to a gynecologist. They go to a midwife in the area in which they live, as she watches them and then assisted whengiving birth. In the hospital pregnant women can not rely on an epidural – such they receive only if are giving birth in work time or if strictly necessary.Women in Netherlands prefer natural birth. Only two hours after the baby came to light, the woman can go home. From there, however, she received a special home help for a week.


As in the Netherlands, the main person helping when the woman is giving birth is the midwife. Caesarean section is done only as a last option. Pregnant women are protected by law – they can not be dismissed from work, and their place is waiting for them until they return to work. The law does not allow walking to work six weeks before birth and eight weeks after that, and working woman can return within three years, but they are not paid maternity.

An interesting practice in some areas is to recommend the name of the child from the set list. In case of non-traditional name parents should motivate their choice. Thus it considers that the authorities protect the future interests of the child as it can be ridiculed because of inappropriate name.

Giving Birth in Japan

In Japan, pregnant women are most frequently given as a gift fish shriasu (white bait). These are very tiny fish rich in calcium. The daily diet of pregnant women in the country of the rising sun also includes rice, miso, nori. Just like in the Netherlands and Germany, Japanese women tend to give birth naturally and without painkillers. The reason for this is the Buddhist concept of suffering – according to the beliefs throes something as a test of whether the woman is ready for the role of mother. Although doctors recommend an epidural for a more relaxed birth, this venerable understanding is still in force. Japanese women give birth in hospitals, but fathers are not present. Their stay in the hospital is long – at least five days for normal delivery and 10 days – for cesarean. According to customs the mother remains in the home of her mother a month after giving birth, as in the first 21 days for the most part stays with the baby in bed. During this period many friends come to visit and make festive tables with red rice and red beans.


In Brazil, the incidence of cesarean section is very high – over 40%, often it is performed without medical indications. In private hospitals this percentage is even higher, with the aim of doctors is to get higher pay and the process to go faster. Unlike the Netherlands, where the main role of the midwife and courses for parents in Brazil main contact and care are carried out by the doctor. In public hospitals, the authorities insist on not taking operations unnecessarily. According to local customs pregnant women are treated like princesses – for example, they never wait in lines. Immediately after returning home there, friends who bring a gift for the baby come to visit the mother.


In the past, most mothers are served by midwives and only in the big cities – from doctors. However, this practice has recently changed, more frequent births are by cesarean section, in private hospitals they reach 75%. One reason for this is poorly prepared nurses for anesthesia during childbirth, causing mothers prefer full anesthetic surgery. According to local customs mother does not go out 20 days after giving birth and friends drop by to see her. Then the mother and the baby return the visit and receive a gift wrapped in a towel egg to a healthy baby or cake for obedient child. Another custom is the eyebrows and the hair on the baby are rubbed with flour for long life.

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