Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Assignment: Birth Experience here and in Japan

My assignment is to discuss a birth that I’ve been apart of. I obviously don’t remember my own birth. The only thing I really know is that I was born in the hospital and that since my birthday was so close to Christmas, I came home in a stocking. My mom mentioned at one point that she knew of other mothers who didn’t have the chance to interact or bond much with their babies at the hospital. Meaning that the nurses fed and changed their babies. That wasn’t the case with me. She said that they handed me over right away when it was feeding or changing time.

My stocking.

The only other birth I’ve been remotely apart of was when my nephew keith was born in 1995. Like most of us, he was born in the hospital. I wasn’t there for the birth, but I got to hold him when he was only a couple of hours old. At one point that day, my mom even fed him. he got a lot of care and attention that day. I had never held a baby that tiny and haven’t since. It’s amazing that he’s a teenager already.

Keith's first baby picture.
I believe it was taken on his actual birthday. If not, it was the next day.

For the second part of my assignment, I chose to learn about the birthing process in Japan. These days, prenatal care is very similar to what we have here in the US with the mother regularly seeing the doctor to check up on the baby’s progress. In addition, Japanese women can choose to have a home birth with visits from a mid wife once per month until towards the end of pregnancy when visits become more frequent. The mid wife is there during birth and for a few hours after delivery. She visits every day for the following week and then occasionally visits over the following months. Traditionally, fathers aren’t there for delivery, but one person interviewed from the article said her husband was there so that may be changing. The mid wife and female family members will be with the mother for support. It’s also customary for women to not leave the house for two to four weeks after giving birth. This is also changing. Two women in the article that I read stated that they had appointments or had to get back to doing chores and couldn’t stay home for that long.
Japanese women are encouraged to eat a diet of foods such as fish,
tofu, soup, and fresh vegetables during pregnancy. Women here in the US are often encouraged to eat little fish if any. Thought and music are believed to affect the baby so positive thinking, music and imagery are encouraged during pregnancy for a healthy baby.
The babies aren’t named until seven days old in a ceremony called OSHICHIA. I found it interesting that sometimes the babies are named by their grandparents. If I were having a baby, I can’t imagine letting someone else name him or her. Only family and close friends attend this ceremony.

During my research, I’ve found interesting information about other cultures as well. Some of it you can see in the customs around the world link below if you are interested. The process might be a little different, but every culture has their own ways of encouraging the healthy development of a baby.

Created by students at the Hawaii Community College.
Traditional Health & Beliefs Japanese Pregnancy & Child Birth
Birth Customs Around the World Japan


  1. Thank you for your post. I find the concept of a midwife intriguing. I've had a co-worker use a midwife and attempted to birth her child at home in a birth tub. This process do not go well and she ended up in the hospital. Her child's life was never in extreme danger, but this made me question the appropriateness of a midwife vs doctors & hospitals. My own childbearing experiences have been very "medical", and I often times wish that I had welcomed my two children into this world without such medial stress and trauma.

  2. Thank you for your post about birthing experiences in Japan. I find it
    to learn how children are born in other parts of the world. I also cannot
    someone else naming my baby! I think my jaw dropped when I read that. I
    can't wait
    to learn with you throughout this class!


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