Pregnancy Customs in Thailand – What Expats Need to Know
Thailand has a distinct culture and a rich set of traditions, which people here have been following since ages. If you are an expat living in Thailand and are planning to raise a family, you will be expected to abide by certain pregnancy related customs. Though it is not necessary that you follow all of them, it will help you be aware of what may or may not be expected of you during such times. Here is a look at some common and a few uncommon customs related to pregnancy in Thailand:
There is no hype around ‘pregnancy’
While people from the West tend to get nervous about pregnancies, in Thailand it is considered to be a normal life event. So you may not find many Thai women opting to deliver their babies in hospitals. Instead most of them prefer giving birth at home. Certain villages in Thailand do not offer pre-natal care, which is another reason for women giving birth at home.
Food and drinks
Pregnancy is described as a ‘hot’ condition, so a pregnant Thai woman is advised to keep her body hot by consuming spicy or warm food. Thai women normally have warm fluids and drinks during pregnancy to keep their body temperature high. They shower with warm water. Ginger tea is an important part of a pregnant woman’s diet in Thailand. It is said to alleviate discomfort and boost lactation. Some women also rub the tea along with coco butter salve on their body to prevent stretch marks.
Determining baby’s sex
Thai people believe that if the fetus shows high level of activity, it is a male whereas lesser activity indicates that the baby is a female.
Thai people believe that babies are most vulnerable for the first three days of the birth, so family members visit temples and make offerings to ensure the safety of the baby. After three days, the baby is taken to a monk who ties a cotton bracelet around his/her wrist. The mother is not allowed to eat meat for three to five months after delivering the baby. However, she is encouraged to eat fish as it is rich in proteins.
Though people living in bigger cities of Thailand do not follow all the age-old customs related to having a baby, it is advisable for expats to know a few basics about Thailand birthing customs so that they do not offend the Thai culture or people.