One way of sharing the nurturing practices that we give to mothers and babies is through our cultural lifestyles and practices. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for other cultural practices that you know about concerning caring for women during their childbearing years. Note that most of these cultural differences are present hundred years ago as the new century mothers are now delivering babies in the hospitals and families are spread in different parts of the globe.
In some rural places in the Philippines, a pregnant woman is a sign of blessings. She brings in good fortune. Children are considered as wealth. Families filled their homes with display of certificates or diplomas of their educated children. For poor families, children are viewed as source of income later on when they can earn for a living.
The mother of a pregnant mother is the doula or the care giver after the baby is born. The father is viewed as always the provider. A midwife called “Komadrona” who attends to the birth. She or another person massage the mother during pregnancy, labor, and after delivering the baby. The midwife only needs boiled water to attend to the laboring mother.
After delivering the baby, the mother’s stomach is wrapped by a piece of cloth and massaged every three days for two months to ensure that the uterus goes back to its proper place. Rice when served to the baby or red pepper applied to the nipples is used to wean the baby after a few years of nursing. The average year of nursing length is four years. The juice from a freshly cut young coconut is used as a supplemental food for the baby. It is also used during the last trimester of pregnancy to ease labor.
The wish of a pregnant woman is always respected. She is not provoked or argued with since her emotions affect the unborn child. Herbs are used during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum.
The liquid from boiled guava leaves is used for cleansing the mother during postpartum. It serves as an antiseptic medication. Coconut oil is the most popularly used massage oil. Clams or any shell fish are served as soup to the mother during the last trimester of pregnancy and during nursing to increase the milk supply. The breast is also massaged during pregnancy to prepare the breast for nursing.
When in labor and the baby is breach (baby’s head close to mom’s heart), a massage therapist can bring the baby to its desired position, head first. Incense is used with the sitz bath remedy while the mother is wrapped in a hot towel during postpartum. A preparation with charcoal and herbs (indirectly applied to the mother’s bottom) is used as the sitz bath itself. Boiled rain water is also used.Sex is resumed only after three months. In the cities of the Philippines, the same practice applies depending upon the availability of the lay midwife, massage therapist, and the environment.
In Taiwan, a postpartum mother is placed in a communal place with the care of doulas together with other postpartum mothers. For about two months, they are cared for. This kind of service exist solely for mothering the mother.
In Ethiopia, the mother is also cared for the first three months during postpartum by relatives or helpers. Though circumcision for girls is still prevalent in some areas, educated women tend to do away with it.
In Russia, it is common to nurse more than one baby when supply is great.
A mother who is in the same hospital room with other new mothers who also just delivered babies recalled how one mother volunteered to nurse her baby while her breast is still coping up with its supply of milk.
Advice from folks in the Philippines:
You should not nap in the afternoon that long since you might have difficulty in delivering a bigger baby.
Drink the juice of a young coconut for easy labor.