What to Expect when you Are Expecting in Vietnam
Pregnant women world over have interesting tales of strange customs, rituals and behaviors that you have to endure from strangers feeling your stomach to being force to wear a radiation proof apron. If you are living in Vietnam or moving to Vietnam when you are expecting you are fairly luckily, the country does not have strange pregnancy customs or traditions, however they do have rigid post pregnancy confinement rituals.
During your pregnancy all you might have to deal with is unusual or superstitious advice mixed with typical pregnancy advice from strangers.
Here are a few examples of advice you might receive whether you are an expat, a tourist or non-resident Vietnamese:
Unusual Reaction 1: Be prepared for random strangers being thrilled about your pregnancy.
Vietnam is a family centric society where large families are the norm. So, if you are pregnant and showing while in Vietnam be prepared for people to express their delight. They will be even more delighted if you are expecting a boy. (Patriarchal society)
Unusual Reaction 2: Be prepared to be encouraged or discouraged from eating certain food
In Vietnam, the three trimesters are divided into hot and cold stages. The first and third are hot stages while the second trimester is neutral. During this time you may receive advice on which foods to eat or avoid.
Unusual Advice 1: Don’t eat too much nourishing food
Vietnamese believe that by overeating nourishing food during pregnancy the baby will grow too big.
Unusual Advice 2: Walking over Hammocks is a big No No
Vietnamese believe that if you walk over a hammock when you are pregnant you risk turning your baby into a lazy person.
Unusual Advice 3: Don’t go to weddings or funerals
Pregnant Vietnamese women are not confinement during pregnancy but they are strongly discouraged from attending weddings or funerals as it is believed they will bring bad luck. If you have been invited to a wedding pre-pregnancy be prepared for negative reactions to your presence especially if you are showing.
Unusual Advice 4: Don’t buy or dress your newborn in new clothes
Vietnamese believe that by dressing your newborn in new clothes you will attract evil spirits who will make the baby ill.
P.S. You might also be encouraged to follow the stringent post delivery Vietnamese traditions that recommend that to ensure good health of mother and child, you should not leave the house for a month and eat bland or traditional Vietnamese meals like pork leg porridge.