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Just as in childhood, when the development of our personality depends on the interplay between genetics (what we are simply born with), the social (which family we are born into) and cultural (the values and ways of living surrounding the family), so in prenatal life the development of the unborn baby is influenced at all stages by changes in the chemical and physical environment within the uterus. [View source]

Blackwood, D.H.R., "The biological determinants of personality," Companion to Psychiatric Studies, London: Churchhill Livingstone, fourth edition, 1988. pg. 52.


A powerful experience of pregnancy - a wonderful thing to aim for

excerpted from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

"In the early days, it is a bit like belly-gas. . . . Just there -- like little bubbles rippling through your belly. But then later, you feel the child move, and it's like a fish on your line and then gone -- like a quick tug, but so soon past you're not sure you felt it. . . . They sleep, ye know, for hours at a time. Sometimes ye fear they've died, when there's no movement for a long time. Then you try to wake them . . . and you're happy when they kick again. But it's not just the babe itself. You feel swollen all over, near the end. Not painful . . . just so ripe you could burst. It's as though you need to be touched, verra lightly, all over."" Jenny was no longer looking at me. Her eyes held her husband's, and I knew she was no longer aware of me or her brother. There was an air of intimacy between her and Ian, as if this were a story often told, but one of which they never tired.

"And in the last month or so, the milk begins to come in. You feel yourself filling, just a wee bit at a time, a little each time the child moves. And then suddenly, everything comes up hard and round." She cupped her stomach again. "There's no pain then, just a breathless feeling, and then your breasts tingle as though they'll explode if they're not suckled. . . . And late in bearing, when the child moves a lot, sometimes there's a feeling like when you've your man inside ye, when he comes to ye deep and pours himself into you. Then, then when that throbbing starts deep inside ye along with him, it's like that, but it's much bigger; it ripples all through the walls of your womb and fills all of you. The child's quiet then, and it's as though it's him you've taken inside you instead." [view source]

Gabaldon, Diana, Outlander, New York:Dell Publishing, 1991, p. 630-1


Imagining Babies through Belly Talk

by Sallie Han

"Babies are not simply born, but are made, and made significant, through social practice." Belly talk -- talk that pregnant women and others direct to her belly and to the child imagined inside it -- shows a lot about how the baby and the new parents see themselves. see an anthropologist's perspective in ag

Anthropology News, Feb. 2009, pg. 13

Maternity Leave in Vietnam

An organization called Alive and Thrive encourages regulation of maternity leave in Vietnam. How much of the population is actually affected at all by state-wide social welfare regulations? How relevant is this for Vietnamese women?

Pregnancy in Tibetan medicine

-In the Tibetan medical system, pregnancy is confirmed by pulse diagnosis and Tibetan urinalysis, as well as questioning and physical examination.

-Tibetans make detailed dietary recommendations for the pregnant mother, each based on the relationship of the food to her particular biological system and the stage of development of the fetus.

-Tibetan women continue hard work during pregnancy but avoid overly stressful or jarring activities; fathers and extended families are intimately involved with the gestation process.

-The meaning of dreams during pregnancy is considered significant and can be linked to later life experience. It also enables the discovery of young incarnate lamas.

-Each week of gestation holds evolutionary developments, which, when attended to, can guide parents to make choices that assist, rather than hinder, the life unfolding in the womb. [View source]

The Tibetan Art of Parenting: From Before Conception Through Early Childhood, pg. 59-60

Yoga in Pregnancy

It is so important to take care of yourself


Wine during pregnancy ok

by Charity Curley Mathews

"...My European midwife says that two cups of coffee--and a glass of wine--each day is just fine, but she'd like me to avoid fresh fruit and salads from restaurants. My doctor performs ultrasounds every month but has never weighed me. This seems strange to my American sensibilities but it's very normal outside the US. pregnancy around the world

Ultrasound is 100 decibels for fetus

by Eugenie Samuel

"Ultrasound examinations during pregnancy expose the fetus to a sound as loud as that made by a subway train coming into a station, say US researchers. But doctors do not think the experience causes a baby any lasting harm. . . . Neither adults nor fetuses can hear ultrasound waves because they vibrate at too high a frequency for our ears to detect them. But James Greenleaf, Paul Ogburn and Mostafa Fatemi of the Mayo Foundation in Rochester, Minnesota, investigated the possibility that ultrasound could cause secondary vibrations in a woman's uterus. . . . Ultrasound machines generate sound waves in pulses lasting less than one ten thousandth of a second. Pulses are used because a continuous soundwave could generate too much heat in the tissue being examined. The Mayo team predicted that the pulsing would translate into a "tapping" effect." go to New Scientist

Chemicals in San Francisco

by Victoria Colliver

"Pregnant women participating in a pilot study at San Francisco General Hospital had the highest levels of banned chemicals used in flame retardants in their bodies compared with other expectant mothers in other studies conducted worldwide. read more
Finnish Baby Box for Every Child

"For 75 years, Finland's expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It's like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. . . . It's a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and it's designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they're from, an equal start in life. The maternity package - a gift from the government - is available to all expectant mothers [who enter pre-natal care in the first trimester]." Box contents have neutral colors, no garish Superman or neon My Little Pony logos. It includes blanket, mattress, sleeping bag, snow suit (sized according to season of birth), clothes, bra pads, shampoo, mittens, book, teething toys, and even condoms! Pointedly, the contents have altered over the years to match child- and environment-friendly scientific research. Cloth diapers have now replaced disposables, bottles and pacifiers (dummies) are no longer included, to encourage breastfeeding. The box currently comes with the subtle message that babies should sleep there rather than in bed with parents, but that will probably go the way of disposable diapers, too. go to BBC


Vietnam, is someone making money off of mothers' fears? - ultrasound proliferation

Obstetrical ultrasound technology as a revenue-generating service has become so widespread in the Vietnamese capital city that women now adopt this 'new' technology at high rates even though they express great cultural mistrust of the process. Tine Gammeltoft's ethnographic study found women used ultrasound not to bond emotionally with the baby as in industrialized countries, but as an oft-repeated cold diagnostic test aimed to detect fetal abnormalities. Ultrasound testing was loaded with anxieties which mirrored a high level of fantasized fear surrounding pregnancy conveyed by neighbors and friends. For example, having a soar throat or stuffed nose in early pregnancy was often accompanied by finger-wagging stories that this would result in a handicapped child. Women turned to technology for reassurance, although the study shows the fantasized fears continued even after a 'positive' scan, leading to a new scan a few weeks later to reassure the mother yet again. Hanoi doctors' offices advertise with ultrasound pictures and in-and-out practices alter their hours of operation to between 5pm and 10 pm so that women can "stop by for an ultrasound on their way home from work". Averaging $1.30 for a regular scan up to $20 for a 4-D scan, this is affordable for many women. Although the safety of repeated use of obstetrical ultrasound imaging remains uncertain, ultrasound use in pregnancy since 2005 has become a signifier of modernity that runs hand-in-hand with three market occurrences: 1) Health care reforms and struggles to earn a decent living lead physicians to turn to the 'easy' money of ultrasound pictures. 2) A government-initiated 2-child 'happy family' advertising campaign has contributed to declining fertility rates over the past 20 years, though the preference remains for boy children. There is some speculation that ultrasound may be used prior to sex-selective abortions. 3) Consumer goods, such as baby-care products and electronics, now fill Hanoi store shelves. Glossy magazines sell "the idealized two-child happy, healthy, wealthy family." Yet, pregnancy in the capital is embedded in fear and stories 'gone bad'. [view source]

Gammeltoft, Tine, "Sonography and Sociality: Obstetrical Ultrasound Imaging in Urban Vietnam," Medical Anthropology Quarterly, vol. 21. Issue 2. June 2007, pp. 133-153

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Interested in more? Here are other articles:
yoga Wochenbett
water birth Vietnam
ultrasound North America
maternity leave Finland
Diapers child development
Breast-feeding birth
Australia Africa

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