Women everywhere experience the physical process of pregnancy similarly, but the traditions surrounding it vary immensely depending on who you are and where you live.
There’s medically-recommended advice for what to do when pregnant (for example, avoiding alcohol) but many other traditions are steeped in superstition and myth.
These customs are passed down, typically from mother to daughter, and often live on long after anyone has remembered why they even started in the first place.
Let’s consider some global pregnancy traditions:
You are what you eat
In certain parts of Indonesia, pregnant women avoid specific seafoods, with concerns the animal’s characteristics may influence the unborn child. For instance, the curved shape of a shrimp might give the baby a curved back; the sticky tentacles of an octopus could make the placenta stick; while squid move backwards – which might give the baby the wrong idea about birth.
Music to their ears
In Hindu cultures from the seventh month of pregnancy, women begin wearing red or green glass bangles, as the jangly sounds are believed to comfort the fetus.
Things are heating up
Some Hispanic women are advised to bathe only in warm water, as hot water is believed to contribute to circulatory problems. On the opposite end of the scale, cold water supposedly makes a woman’s pelvis more rigid, leading to a longer, harder birth.
Some foods are believed to lead to a large baby – something you’d hope to avoid if giving birth in a rural community without the option of a C-section. Some pregnant Nigerian women abstain from yams for this very reason, while some Indonesian women avoid ice, cold water or water spinach.
Pregnant Chinese women are encouraged to evade extreme emotions, so they often avoid funerals, weddings, birthday celebrations and even scary movies. What’s more, early pregnancy announcements are believed to destabilise the pregnancy, so some couples wait until the second trimester to break the news to their families. And to protect the energy of the fetus, they don’t move to a new house or renovate during a pregnancy - nor do they raise their hands above their shoulders.
True blue traditions
So, what are the cultural traditions around pregnancy in Australia? Pregnancy here often features regular tests and check-ups, plus antenatal classes to learn about birth and baby care. More affluent Aussie couples may consider a last child-free holiday, a ‘babymoon’. Many of us throw a baby shower during the third trimester, especially for our first baby.
Many Australian women also prioritise exercise and healthy eating during pregnancy, with regular walks and yoga sessions encouraged and fruit and vegetable intake increased as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
While taking probiotics during pregnancy isn’t yet a tradition for most Australian women, many have started to consider prenatal supplements to support a healthy microbiome and general health and wellbeing.
Life-Space Pregnancy Probiotic is a premium probiotic formula tailored to support a woman’s immune and digestive system health. Its 15 strains of beneficial bacteria help to balance healthy vaginal flora and maintain healthy digestive flora following the use antibiotics. It features Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, which may help to reduce the risk of eczema in children with a family history, when taken during pregnancy, breastfeeding and in the first two years of life.
Whether you consider Life-Space Pregnancy Probiotic or follow any cultural traditions is entirely your decision. Having a baby is a wonderful experience, so enjoy it and forge your own path.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist talk to your health professional. Supplements should not replace balanced diet.