Pregnancy and Birth Traditions Around the World

Pregnancy and Birth Traditions Around the World

Every region has its own special way of celebrating pregnancy and birth. From the Dominican Republic to South Korea, here are a few customs from countries around the globe.

Pregnancy and Birth Traditions Around the World
Just as every pregnancy is unique, pregnancy and birth customs vary around the world, from pregnancy myths to predicting baby’s sex. That said, many places worldwide have very similar practices. To celebrate that we’re all ultimately striving to stay healthy, we talked to women about traditions from their home countries. Note that these vary between regions and even homes; this is a very small sample and won’t reflect everyone’s beliefs or experiences.
Dominican Republic
knife, fork, and spoon baby gender game from the Dominican Republic

One popular folklore among some parents in this Caribbean country to predict baby’s sex: A spoon, a knife and a fork are placed under three separate chairs. The expectant mom chooses which chair to sit on: If she picks the spoon, it’s a girl; the knife, it’s a boy; the fork, the sex is undetermined (the link between the utensil and baby’s sex varies by region). Local tradition also says that being pregnant with a baby boy makes mom’s hair lush and full, while a baby girl has the opposite effect.

Bangladeshi woman with radiant skin during pregnancy is though to be carrying a girl

In Bangladesh, however, if your skin looks brighter and radiant during pregnancy, you’re said to be carrying a girl, while if you have dark circles under your eyes, you’re thought to be having a boy. After giving birth, family members encourage women not to leave the house for 40 days, as protection from negative forces.

Turkish sweets are thought to be craved by women who are carrying boys
Darren Muir/Stocksy

For an early hint at baby’s gender, custom has it that some Turkish moms are steered toward a sofa with a knife under one cushion and a pair of scissors under another. If she sits on the cushion above the scissors, she’s having a girl; if she sits above the knife, she’s having a boy. Cravings are also believed to suggest the baby’s sex: Women who gravitate to sweets during pregnancy are suspected to be having a boy, while craving sour foods indicates a girl.


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