Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cooing at babies is vital for speech development

Very interesting article here about development of baby's speech.  There is a great video of a Dad and baby but there is a 24 second advert to watch before it loads the video.  

"They found that babies aged seven months can differentiate voices from other sounds - even when they cannot see the person speaking.

By the age of 11 months, before they can speak themselves, the children have already learned to differentiate their mother tongue from other languages, the scientists discovered.
The American research team monitoring the brain waves of babies while playing them a series of recorded words in different languages.

The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said: ‘Based on the present study’s results, we speculate that motherese speech, with its exaggerated acoustic and articulatory features, particularly in one-on-one settings, enhances the activation of motor brain areas and the generation of internal motor models of speech.’
The babies’ neural activity suggest the part of the brain used to speak is already working before a child learns to talk. 
Professor Patricia Kuhl, who led the project, said: ‘Most babies babble by seven months, but don’t utter their first words until after their first birthdays.

‘Finding activation in motor areas of the brain when infants are simply listening is significant, because it means the baby brain is engaged in trying to talk back right from the start and suggests that seven-month-olds’ brains are already trying to figure out how to make the right movements that will produce words.’
Professor Kuhl said that the exaggerated ‘goos’ and ‘gaas’ that parents speak to their babies are very important.
‘When infants hear it, their brains may find it easier to model the motor movements necessary to speak,’ she said.
‘Hearing us talk exercises the action areas of infants’ brains, going beyond what we thought happens when we talk to them.

‘Infants’ brains are preparing them to act on the world by practising how to speak before they actually say a word.’

Monday, July 21, 2014

Artist's belly painting to celebrate pregnancy.

Some lovely belly painting, shame to get in the bath and have it all come off :-)  I love the twins.

"On how she came across the idea to paint on pregnant women she said: 'I was trawling through the internet for inspiration and I came across this new craze in America called belly painting. My friend who happened to be pregnant at the time became my muse, and that is where it all started."

Belly Painting

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The importance of Iodine in your diet.

"You’re loading up on folic acid, vitamin C, and calcium, but a vitamin crucial to your baby’s brain development may be completely off your radar.
We’re talking about iodine, an element that helps make thyroid hormones required for brain development. A new report published in the journal Pediatrics has found that many American women of reproductive age are slightly iodine deficient. One way to up your intake? Salt. But before you start celebrating with pretzels and popcorn, keep in mind that the salt in processed foods is not iodized.
An easier fix comes in the form of asupplement, ideally containing at least 150 micrograms of iodine. Both pregnant and lactating women should be taking at least 290 micrograms of iodine each day. And actually, you may get close to that amount if you use iodized table salt.
High risk pregnancy expert Loralei Thornburg, MD, says that drastic changes in your eating habits aren’t really necessary: “Although many women are largely iodine deficient, most women do get iodine in the (form) of food,” she told Reuters Health. “This isn’t something women should freak out about just yet.” Some common sources of iodine you’re probably already eating include dairy products, eggs, and fish.
Taking an iodine supplement is a little change with big benefits, yet only 15 percent of women do so. In addition to boosting baby’s brain, iodine protects him from the effects of environmental pollutants like cigarette smoke."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Scientists discover a protein that triggers labour

Interesting article :

"Australian scientists appear to have solved one of the great mysteries of human biology - exactly what triggers labour after about 40 weeks of pregnancy.

They cannot explain how the timing works or predict a child's birthday with greater accuracy.
But they know that, when it's time, the body produces a protein, which releases a safety switch that allows the uterus to contract in a way that any stretched muscle should."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stressed during pregnancy - play some music

My favourite music to listen to in pregnancy was Mantovani and Mozart........just bliss.

"The link between music and mood seems pretty obvious, but scientists at the Max Planck Institutefor Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, are finding it’s especially strong during pregnancy. Researchers played 10-to-30-second music clips to female volunteers. The clips were then played backwards or distorted to sound more clashing. Their findings? For moms-to-be, “unpleasant” music was especially irritating, and “pleasant” music sounded especially nice. Even better: The pleasant music contributed to a significant drop in blood pressure, while the unpleasant music spiked blood pressure after just 10 seconds. By 30 seconds, it was down again, but the implication is clear: pregnant women are physiologically reacting to music.
“The body’s response is just as dynamic as the music itself,” says Tom Fritz of the Max Planck Institute. “Every acoustic manipulation of music affects blood pressure in pregnant women far more intensely than in non-pregnant women.”
The reason is unclear. Researchers were unable to attribute this strong effect to estrogen. But no matter what the explanation, some Jack Johnson might be better than some Black Sabbath if you’re looking to de-stress, especially during pregnancy.
Next question: how do these tunes make baby feel? Well as Kelly Kasper, MD, explained to The Bump, there’s no way to know. We simply can’t analyze the little guy’s neurons while he’s in utero. What wedo know is that your baby can hear sound and reacts to it with movement. In fact, the Max Planck Institute study shows that by 28 weeks, your baby’s heart rate changes when he hears a familiar song. So if you’ve been dying to play him a few bars of Mozart, go right ahead. We just can’t promise that he’ll become a prodigy because of it."

Prenatal exposure to music may influence brain development

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dads recreating their partners best pregnancy moment

All done for charity for healthy birth outcomes. Makes me wonder what men would really be like if they had to give birth ;-) 


Monday, June 2, 2014

Why sleeping on your back in pregnancy is a problem

"During pregnancy you will often hear that sleeping on your back is a bad idea. The reason has to do with your anatomy. When you lay on your back after about the fourth month of pregnancy, the weight from your pregnant uterus can decrease the blood flow in the vena cava, the vein that brings blood form the lower part of your body to the heart (Marie - it can drop your blood pressure making you feel very dizzy). If this were to happen, there is a risk of decreasing the blood flow to your uterus and baby.
The vena cava runs slightly to the right of your spine. This is why you may hear that laying on your left side is the best option. The key is really not laying on your back, either side is usually fine.
So what happens when you wake up in the middle of the night and you're laying on your back? Don't worry. Just roll over onto a side or prop your body with a pillow to turn you one direction or the other.
Using pillows between your legs while you sleep can be more comfortable. It can also help you remember not to roll over on your back, even when you are asleep. Any pillow will work, but there are special pillows made for pregnant women."

Monday, May 5, 2014

6 Ways to survive your partners labour

I love it when it says protect your nuts :-)
Think again. Most antenatal classes focus solely on how to help your partner through childbirth, without ever considering your needs or concerns. Sure, you’re not the one doing the pushing, but you will be the one getting pushed around if you’re not fully prepared. That’s why we’ve created a handy childbirth guide to ensure you make it through this momentous — and frequently overwhelming — experience with your wits intact. Fill up your cup of ice chips, as we teach you how to survive your partner’s labour.
1.Be Prepared
Nobody warns you, but the average labor for first-time mothers lasts from 15 to 16 hours, so you’re bound to have ample downtime while waiting for your baby to make his grand entrance. You could spend the time reading hospital pamphlets about anal dilations and middle ear problems, or you could dip into your carefully packed bag full of games, cards, magazines, and other light distractions. You’d be amazed at how a simple game of rummy can help to bring you and your partner together while keeping your minds off the hours of active labor that are just around the corner.
2.Be Present
Remember when you pledged to stay with your partner in sickness and health and in good times and bad? Here’s your chance to prove it. You can help alleviate some of the pressure on your partner by being physically and emotionally present throughout her labor. You’ll be required to help her regulate her breathing techniques, offer her water as often as possible, reassure her through the pain, and encourage her with each and every push. You may also be called upon to be her advocate in the event of an emergency. The maxim “happy wife, happy life” is true at all times, but it’s especially applicable during your partner’s labor.
3.Keep Snide Remarks To Yourself
You may be the funniest guy in the world, but your partner won’t find anything humorous when she’s actively pushing an object the size of a bowling ball through a hole the size of a golf ball. You’ll eventually be able to laugh about her delivery and her horribly tangled hair, but it won’t be until well after your child has graduated from university.
If your first instinct is to compare her pain to one of your old football injuries, you’re probably not cut out to be a father. Now is not the time to play a game of one-upmanship. Unless you’ve passed a gallstone the size of a watermelon or successfully pulled your lips over your forehead, nothing you’ve ever experienced can compare to the excruciating pain of delivering a child.

Don’t Take Her Insults Personally
Pregnancy can bring out the best in a woman, but childbirth often brings out her worst. Odds are your spouse will scream at you, blame you for knocking her up, and even rue the day that you ever met. If her labor goes on long enough, you may also hear her utter swear words so remarkably repulsive that you’ll want to rush to the Urban Dictionary to find out what they mean. It’s important at this time to understand that your wife is under an exceptional amount of physical and emotional strain and that her words are not a true reflection of how she really feels about you. Well, most of them, anyhow.
4.Protect Your Nuts
At some point during childbirth, your wife will want to squeeze something very, very hard. If you’d like to have a second child, it’s in your best interest to stay out of arm’s reach and offer her a rolled up towel or a squeeze ball. After all, you’re no good to her if you’re passed out on the floor.
5.Tag Someone Else In
Some deliveries can take over 32 hours, with long stretches of time with little or no activity. If you’re experiencing one of these lulls, you may want to briefly trade places with a family member in the waiting room. You’ll return fresher and more energized, and your wife will likely appreciate having another friendly face to support and encourage her.
6.Remember To Breathe
It isn’t uncommon for men to faint in the delivery room. It also isn’t uncommon for doctors and nurses to leave them lying on the ground while they attend to their partners. Fortunately you can take precautions to ensure you stay on your feet. Remember to breathe, try to relax, have a light snack every two to three hours, and drink plenty of water. If you have a particularly weak stomach, you may also want to wait until your child has been thoroughly cleaned before seeing him for the first time. After all, there’s nothing like catching a glimpse of a handful of placenta to make your knees buckle.

Happy International day of the Midwife

To Midwives worldwide, have a wonderful day.  We are extremely privileged to do the work we do and may we continue to support each other.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Home birth after hospital birth - reflections

Some interesting reflections of women's feelings after having a home birth. 

"Some Key Findings: Women’s Choices and Reflections
To summarize, five recurring themes were identified from the women’s reflections on both their hospital and home births: choices and empowerment; intervention and interruptions; disrespect and dismissal; birth space; and connection.
Choices and empowerment. The women in our groups reported that with their hospital births they felt they did not actually have much choice in the direction of their care. Although a few women in the study had generally positive hospital experiences, most reported feelings of disempowerment and limited choices associated with their hospital birth and more meaningful choices and feelings of empowerment with their home births.
Interventions and interruptions. During their hospital births, women experienced significantly more interventions compared to their home births. Many of the women in our study perceived these interventions as unnecessary. They commented on timetables, hospital “agendas” and interruptions both during the birth and postpartum period for their hospital births.
Disrespect and dismissal. Many of the women in our study said they felt that their hospital-based providers tended to focus more on anatomical parts and the medical process of birth, rather than on them as whole people. With their home births, they reported a much more holistic model with great respect for their decisions.
Some women who wanted to continue care with both a home birth provider and a hospital-based provider (known as “dual” or “concurrent” care) were dismissed from their hospital-based practice when they revealed that they were planning a home birth.
Birth space. Universally, women reported feeling more comfortable laboring in their own homes, surrounded by only the people they chose to invite into that space. Several women mentioned the appeal of having their older children with them for the birth, or at least having that option.
Connection. When women in our study reported positive hospital births, they also spoke of their positive connections to their providers. For both home and hospital settings, women said that feeling a sense of trust and connection to their doctor or midwife was important and even helped them to feel more comfortable with the process of birth. That theme of connection extended to women’s reflections that during their home births they also generally felt more connected to their bodies, to their babies and to other family members."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Peanut Ball for promoting progress in labour

Sounds a very interesting piece of equipment. We shall do some more investigation regarding the peanut ball because it appears a good addition to the kit. 

"Most experienced peanut ball users recommend either the 45 cm or 55 cm sized peanut ball. The size is measured from the floor to the tallest point on one of the larger ends. Because it will be used between the legs to open up the pelvic outlet, you don’t want it to be as large as the balls that are used for sitting and swaying. As I learned about the peanut ball, I found that many moms who did not like the peanut ball in labor felt it was too big. For this reason, I chose to purchase and use the 45 cm sized ball, which is the size used in the photos that accompany this article.
The peanut ball is most commonly used when mom needs to remain in the bed, whether because of epidural use, complications, or simply because mom is exhausted. There are two main ways in which peanut balls are used, with plenty of room for variation. The first is with mom in a semi reclined position, one leg over the ball, one leg to the side of the ball. The ball is pushed as close to mom’s hips as is comfortable. As the ball can have a tendency to slide away from the mom, a rolled up towel can be used to hold it in place. This position seems to be most commonly used to promote dilation and descent with a well-positioned baby.
The second common use is with mom in a side-lying or semi-prone position, with the peanut ball being used to lift the upper leg and open the pelvic outlet. The ball can be angled so that the leg hooks around the narrower part, or aligned with both mom’s knee and ankle resting on the ball. Mom’s comfort level is key to knowing the right placement. Most women who used this position used it to help rotate a posterior baby to a more favorable position for delivery."

The Research
There is not much research out there on the use of the peanut ball. In my search, I found one study, presented as a poster presentation at the 2011 AWHONN Convention. Tussey and Botsois (2011) randomized 200 women (uncomplicated labor with an epidural) into two groups. One group used the peanut ball in either the semi Fowler’s position (bottom photos) or the sidelying position (top photos), switching sides every 1-2 hours. The sample size was small, but the results were very promising. The first stage of labor was shorter by an average of 90 minutes, and second stage was roughly half as long (43.5 min in the control group, 21.3 min in the peanut ball group). The use of vacuum and forceps was also lower in the peanut ball group. There were no serious adverse events reported in the study. This looks very promising, and I will be watching for more studies on the peanut ball in future years.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Interesting article on epidurals and breastfeeding

"In Canada the rate of epidural anesthesia use during labour and delivery sits at >50% and continues to climb.  The rate ranges from 90-100% in some American hospitals.  As breastfeeding rates also continue to increase, the lack of research of the effect of epidural medications on breastfeeding is striking. The majority of research that has been done looked either at maternal satisfaction, maternal and infant homeostasis or Apgar scores, not infant feeding behaviours. Given what we know about the importance of breastfeeding to lifelong health, it is important to understand the impact that birth interventions such as epidurals have on both initiation and duration of breastfeeding."

Epidurals and breastfeeding

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pregnancy Time Lapse video

This couple took pictures everyday of her growing bump and turned it into a video.  Cute 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dads Breastfeeding to encourage Mums

Well done guys for supporting your woman to breastfeed :-)  

"Cruz hired a lactation consultant to help his wife and daughter. He soon realized that most of the information about breast-feeding targeted mothers.

So Cruz, a professional photographer, asked a few fathers if they would pose as if breast-feeding their children. His goal: raise enough money to use the photos for billboards around his hometown of Clarksville, Tenn. 

But first, Cruz had to find subjects. Alan Bartlett’s wife, Rebecca, exclusively breast-fed the couple’s two daughters, so he felt very passionate about it. When Cruz asked if he would pose, Bartlett immediately said yes.

“I think that men posing with their child in a similar way as women breast-feeding … shows the support that men have for their wives,” he says."


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Waterbirths and dolphin midwives

This beautiful video with a dolphin acting as midwife at the Tutukaka coast in Northland.

We came across this video on Maggie Banks birth spirit website and thought it too beautiful not to share.  

Monday, March 3, 2014

What to expect from your pregnancy

Sometimes it is easier to visualize your pregnancy milestones, this image depicts various stages of what to expect in your pregnancy.

Visual display for a healthy pregnancy
If you go to our website videos you can see the development of your baby in the womb.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

What to expect in early pregnancy.

For a lot of women who had previously been full of energy, suddenly find they become very tired in early pregnancy (and towards the end), many experience morning sickness and breast tenderness, also headaches are very common as your blood volume expands.  The symptoms do improve and usually by about 12-14 weeks most have been resolved.  

This article explains why.

"The first several weeks of pregnancy can be strange to say the least. At times you might feel completely normal; your jeans still fit, and no one can tell you're pregnant. Other times you might feel like you're moving in slow motion and about to fall asleep on your feet. And although the side effects of early pregnancy may seem freaky, rest assured that what you're feeling is almost certainly normal. How many of these classic signs and symptoms of early pregnancy do you have?
Happiness! And then sadness. And then happiness again.
Women who get PMS are more likely to have severe mood swings during pregnancy, but most women can expect some level of ricocheting emotions. Swirling and soaring hormones can make you irritable, giddy, or weepy, sometimes all at once! These mood swings are most frequent in the first trimester, and later one toward the end of your last trimester.
An aching head
Headaches are one of the biggest complaints women have during the first trimester, likely caused by hormonal changes and increased blood volume in early pregnancy. (Stress or anxiety can trigger them, too). Wait it out and they'll fade, but if you need relief now, try cold or warm compresses or a neck and shoulder massage which has been shown to relieve headache pain. And also be sure you're eating small meals regularly. Fluctuating blood sugar can trigger pregnancy headaches as well.
Breast swelling and tenderness
If you're like many women, sore breasts may have been the first clue you were pregnant! The hormones that are preparing your milk ducts for breastfeeding can also make them achey or sensitive. Investing in a larger size, very supportive bra can make you more comfy."
If you have any concerns about you or your pregnancy, please speak with your midwife.  


Monday, February 17, 2014

Oxytocin - The love or cuddle hormone

As midwives, we LOVE oxytocin which has also been called the love hormone, or the cuddle hormone in this article.  At birth, your baby will be put on your abdomen for skin to skin contact and we leave mum and baby alone to get to know each other.  

"Everyone knows not to go anywhere near a mama bear and her cubs. The maternal bond is truly fierce, and not just in animals! Human moms share a strong bond with their babies, too (so strong that particularly protective mothers are often compared to their furry animal counterparts!) There is a biological reason for the ferocity of the maternal bond: oxytocin. During childbirth, the mother’s pituitary gland, which is a tiny almond sized gland towards the back of the brain, produces oxytocin, pumping it throughout the body. 

As the mother’s brain is flooded with oxytocin, a number of fascinating things happen. Oxytocin acts as a muscle contractor, speeding up labor. It plays a role in preparing the mother’s body to breastfeed. Finally, it fosters an emotional bond between mom and baby that is so strong, researchers say it actually dims the memory of the pain of childbirth. Oxytocin has always been thought of as a childbirth hormone. But oxytocin is actually responsible for the sense of bonding in any relationship, not just the relationship between moms and their children.

Even men produce oxytocin. In fact, oxytocin is referred to as the love or cuddle hormone because it is released during any type of physical touch. Believe it or not, even petting an animal can cause your body to produce the hormone! If you’re not a new parent, how do you benefit when your body produces oxytocin? You’ll be glad to know that oxytocin lowers stress, brings down blood pressure, and reinforces feelings of love, trust and generosity.  In honor of Valentine’s Day this month, naturally increase your levels of the love hormone with physical touch. Hugs and kisses are always a great idea, but even a rub on the back can boost your oxytocin production. 

And if you’re lacking in the “significant other” department, spend time petting an animal or even flipping through an old photo album and reminiscing about people you love. All these things can cause your “love hormone” meter to spike, nurturing the biological factor that brings us all together.  -

Link to this article here
Read our leaflet on the importance of skin to skin here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Historical images that normalise breast feeding

Women have been breastfeeding their baby's in public since time immemorial, so why is there, in our so called era of enlightenment is there such a public outcry to ban breastfeeding in public? These fantastic photographs normalise breastfeeding has always been done in public.  


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Giving birth in nature

"The movie ‘Birth Into Being’ inspired this woman to give birth in nature.

So a week to her due date she took a trip to a rainforest; a perfect location for the outdoor birth she had long desired.

As she went into labour she went down the creek to have her baby in the serenity of the fresh water."

Inspired by the sounds of nature, the gentle warm creek running through the rain forest, this brave lady birthed her baby in this beautiful setting.  I think is is a wonderful video and when women are unobtrusively observed, they labour well, notice how she walks around, swaying her body, she is in her own space and in control of her labour and birth.    

WARNING : The video is graphic!  So I will not put the video here but have pasted the link.

Birth in Nature

Birth in Nature - website link

Monday, February 3, 2014

A blast from the past, Liverpool Maternity hospital

A fascinating series of photographs from the 30's,40's,50's and 60's giving us an insight to to childbirth at that time.  Women were in bed for 10 days after giving birth (let alone the risks of a deep vein thrombosis), there were strict visiting hours, no partners/husbands (they had to pace the corridors) during labour and adhere to visiting hours only.  The midwives wore masks and women were confined to their beds until the Doctors had done their rounds.  

Liverpools maternity hospital

Legal to ban breast feeding at work!

I find it absolutely ridiculous that a mum cannot breast feed her baby where she wants and considering it was at a store that sells sexy lingerie!  Seriously?  I guess it is OK to promote sexuality with the line of clothing but not to breast feed your baby, which is exactly what the mammary glands are designed to do.

"A Victoria's Secret customer in Texas was not allowed to breastfeed in a fitting room, Austin's KTBC-TV reports. But was it legal for the store's staff to turn her away?
Customers and business owners alike are wondering whether employers can legally ban breastfeeding.
The answer to that question is generally state-specific.
Right to Breastfeed
The legal ability to ban breastfeeding at a business depends on state-specific law. Most states grant a mother the right to breastfeed in any location -- public or private -- in which she is authorized to be. In such states, businesses cannot ban breastfeeding.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are at least 45 states with laws that protect a woman's right to breastfeed in public, but the contours of the laws vary. For example:
  • At least 24 states recognize the right to breastfeed in the workplace.
  • Some states, such as Illinois, limit the protection in certain settings such as "places of worship."
  • Other states require women to be discreet -- businesses should always bewareasking nursing mothers to cover up in states that don't require it.
It's likely the Victoria's Secret customer in Texas did have a legal right to express milk in one of the store's fitting rooms. This is because Chapter 165 of the Texas Health and Safety Code provides that "a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be."
Employees' Right to Accommodations
Under Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers with at least 50 employees must provide non-exempt nursing employees unpaid break time to express milk, for up to a year after the birth of a child. An employer must also "provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view" for the employee to express breast milk.
The law on "lactation discrimination" is a different story. For example, a federal judge in Texas dismissed an alleged discrimination case in which a Houston woman was fired for requesting permission to pump milk at work. The judge ruled there was no cause of action for "lactation discrimination" under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act because "lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition." The judge also determined lactation discrimination is not sex discrimination.
Breastfeeding laws are far from clear-cut. But as the Victoria's Secret snafu clearly demonstrates, limiting a woman's ability to breastfeed can lead to many more uncomfortable consequences than catching a glimpse of an exposed breast."

You GO Baby!


25 pregnancy beliefs from around the world

Happy New Year everyone, wow, time has flown by.  This article is about pregnancy beliefs around the world.  We find it very interesting to read about different cultures and beliefs.

"Learning about the pregnancy and childbirth beliefs from cultures around the world is nothing short of fascinating, don't you think? Whether you follow them or not, we have our "standard" ones in the U.S. -- don't tell people you're pregnant until after the first trimester, for one -- so don't you ever wonder what other unwritten protocols mamas-to-be follow? There are some truly unbelievable ones out there!
(Note: Everyone from these cultures doesn't necessarily adhere to these beliefs.)"

Pregnancy in Japan

Pregnant women in Japan are urged to use positive thinking, imagery, and listen to music.
Pregnancy in China
It is thought in China that pregnant women should avoid using glue or other adhesives, as it may cause birthing complications. Also, hammering nails is thought to cause deformity in the fetus. (Marie - probably common sense due to the fumes).

Pregnancy in the Hispanic/Latino Culture

Some pregnant women in the Hispanic/Latino culture believe that unsatisfied pregnancy cravings may cause birth marks. (Marie - cravings could be your body needing a vitamin or mineral contained with the food being craved, although the photo depicts soft whipped ice cream, it is not recommended that you eat this during pregnancy).

Pregnancy in Korea

In the Korean culture, there is an order of people that women must tell they are pregnant. She must tell the mother-in-law first. Then she tells her husband and then her own mother.

Pregnancy in Bali

Balinese mamas-to-be avoid eating octopus, as it is believed that doing so brings difficult deliveries. (Marie - eating raw seafood is not recommended).

Pregnancy in Guatemala

Pregnant women in Guatemala, particularly those of Mayan descent, may stay at home throughout the entire nine months of their gestation out of fear of exposure to illness, evil spirits, or the ill will of others.

Pregnancy in the Inuit Culture

Pregnant women avoid inflating balloons or blowing bubbles with gum while pregnant to prevent premature rupturing of the membranes.

Pregnancy in the Italian Culture

Some Italians believe that once a woman begins telling people she is pregnant, she must tell everyone else right away. It's thought that if she doesn't, the baby will never speak, or won't speak for a very long time!

Pregnancy in Portugal

In Portugal, some believe that pets, such as cats or dogs, should be kept away from a pregnant woman to avoid having a hairy baby. (Marie - changing litter trays for kittens is not a good idea and always wear gloves if gardening because of the risk of toxoplasmosis in cat and dog poo).

Pregnancy in the UK

It is believed by some in the UK that the baby's heart rate can predict the sex. A faster heart rate means the woman is carrying a girl, and a slower one means it's a boy. (Marie - a very much asked question by ladies, unfortunately baby changes their heart rate all the time so it would be difficult to predict the sex of baby).