Childbirth in my life and around the world

My experience in childbirth within United States was as follows.  I went to my gynecologist when I thought I was pregnant and from that point on I was given routine checks at specific timeframes.  My doctor informed me about what was going on. It was essential that specific tests were taken at every trimester.  I remember that I had several ultrasounds to check the development of the baby and to make sure everything was going well.  Vital signs were always taken and if anything looked off it was checked out.  I was also asked if I wanted to know the sex of the baby, for every pregnancy I always said no because I just liked to be surprised and I wanted to guess without being told.  Towards the last part of the third trimester I was seen within shorter intervals than before and I was told to watch out for contractions and how often they happened, water breaking and things that could indicate that I was going into labor.  I was told where to call in case of an emergency.  My husband was very much involved throughout when it came to the time of labor, he always drove me to the hospital and stayed through the labor till delivery.  When I got to the hospital the nurses checked to see how dilated I was and the position of the baby’s head to make sure he was in the proper position for delivery. I was asked if I wanted any anesthesia which had to be administered within a certain timeframe.  The nurses were well coordinated, and the doctor made it on time for the delivery. Once the baby was born and the placenta came out, we were both monitored all the time to be sure everything was alright.  I was also helped with breastfeeding, and what to expect to see for the baby and me.  I was also given an appointment for six weeks after delivery. My doctor also called me at home to see if we were doing well.   My family came to take care of us for a few weeks after we left the hospital.  In my culture the new mom’s mother would come over to her house and take care of them for a few weeks or months.  The mother helped to prepare meals, bathe the baby and take care of the baby when the new mom needed to rest and help her with what she did not know or needed help with.   She was there to support the family through this transition period. In my case, my mother was not alive, so my sister-in-law so graciously offered to come and help us.

I looked at another African nation rather than the nation in Africa I was already familiar with- Tigrean culture in Ethiopia.  From the article I looked at, women are helped through pregnancy by their mothers and other female family members, friends and neighbors. The women do household chores and work as usual until they give birth. There is a belief that keeping active will quicken labor. If the baby is a woman’s first, she will go to her parents’ home in the eighth month to relax and prepare for the birth. Rural and urban women observe this custom. It is considered bad luck to buy items for the baby until it is born. It is also considered impractical to buy clothes for the baby before the gender is known. Urban women recently started taking vitamins during pregnancy and only a small percentage of rural women take vitamins.  Hot mustard is avoided during pregnancy, as it is rumored to cause miscarriage. During pregnancy and postpartum, warm foods are eaten as they are believed to aid in healing after birth. Men are not present during labor. If a woman is in labor she might notify her mother or a female friend, but not her husband. Men aren’t involved in the delivery process.  In rural areas, babies are born with the assistance of a midwife, who is a member of the mother’s community. Other women can be present up until the point of labor, when it is just the woman, her mother, the midwife, and her helpers – such as neighbors who are especially experienced with childbirth. In the cities, women may have prenatal care if affordable, provided by a clinic or a hospital. Cesarean sections are done in the cities but are not common and are never performed by a midwife. When the baby is born these women will make a series of loud sounds to broadcast the arrival and gender of the baby: five times to announce a boy; seven times to announce a girl (Duncan, Hayden, September 2008).


Getahun, H. & Berhane, Y. (2000).  Abortion among rural women in north Ethiopia. Int J Gynaecol Obstet, 71(3), 265-266.  Retrieved from

Laureate Education (2010).  EDUC 6160: Early Childhood Development.  Retrieved from