The following is advice that you should NOT follow but is freely and liberally given here. I don’t remember most of the incredibly strange guidance I received while pregnant but these are just a few:
1) No doctor will ask you if you have a birth plan… that’s their job you don’t need to know anything about it.
2) You can get an ultrasound whenever you want, you have to pay of course, but sometimes they are on sale!
3) Do not tie your shoe laces while pregnant as they are invisibly attached to the umbilical cord and will cause it to be tied in a knot as well.
4) Do not go near other new born babies while you are pregnant as they will sense your presence and become very colicky.
5) Do not speak after giving birth for 24 hours, air can get into all that empty space where the baby was and it won’t let your stomach get flat again! (this explains a LOT) I secretly think the doctors just say this so they don’t have to hear their patient’s complaints!
6) If you don’t eat Caldo de Gallina (hen soup) every day after giving birth your milk won’t come in.
7) Do NOT drink anything cold, your milk will be cold and the baby won’t like it.
8) Stay in bed, except for using the bathroom, for 40 days after giving birth, otherwise your back will be sore when you are older.
9) You must wrap a cloth tightly around yourself to pull your stomach back in, others wise it won’t.
10) If your baby is hungry after nursing you can give them a bottle with sugar water.
The thing that bothers me the most about child birthing here is that if you decide to go to a doctor, as opposed to a midwife or the public (and kind of scary) hospital is that most of their births are c-section. I mean seriously, if you are in labour, and the doctor says, “You have to have a c-section” you can’t really go and get a second opinion. I’m sitting here counting all the women who have babies in the last few years that work in the ministry here with us and I’d have to say that 2/3s to ¾ of them have been c-section!
In fact when I had my son, the Christian doctor where we had been going through the whole pregnancy told me two weeks before my due date that my baby had not dropped which meant that he wouldn’t be able to be born naturally and she scheduled me for a c-section the next week, a week before my due date. We left her office and never returned and I had my son naturally.
Doctors charge twice the amount for a c-section; they get to do it at an hour that is convenient for them and by doing the c-section guarantee that your next children will be c-sections as well, since they do not allow a natural birth after a c-section here. So even though the public hospital is kind of scary, the last girl I knew who had her baby there was told her baby was going to die to scare her into giving birth…??? and then gave birth to a healthy baby, naturally, at least there, no one gets paid extra if they can convince you to have a c-section!