Canada

 
Going Out
The long winter can become very lonely time unless you make the effort to go out and socialize. Seek activities and events for children especially if they are under 3 years old.
 
Child Benefit
If you have a child, you may be eligible for child benefit. They will calculate the amount according to your income. Even a bit helps.

U.S.A.

 
Immunization
Immunization shots are almost mandatory and you have no choice. The governmet will make sure your children get all the shots required before entering pre-school.
 
Child Obesity
Obesity is almost an epidemic in the U.S. Pediatricians, nurses and teachers are all repeating, 'eat plenty of fruits and vegetables"

Mexico

 
Drug Stores
In Mexico city, you may find drug stores almost at every block. Those who cannot afford to see a doctor, rely heavily on medicine.
 
High Altitude
Because of the high altitude, your child may need sunglasses to protect their eyes when they go out.

Austria

 
Midwives pair in home birth
Home birth is not that popular in Austria, but some people will opt for it. So when you wish to have homebirth, the midwives who work in the hospital will come as a pair and assist you. Some opt to invite midwives from the Netherlands. I believe that is possible because it's Europe.
 
Relax is the key
When you give birth at birth centers, all they tell you to do is to "relax". You can choose wherever you like at whatever position you may wish to take.
           
Specialists for your special baby
The new born will be examined by specialists, such as orthopedics to check how their legs spread, eye specialists to check the eyes.

Belgium

 
PT during pregnancy
You will have access to the services provided by the phisiotherapist to get you through some difficult time during pregnancy. The good news is that the insurance covers the services.
 
No pressure over the abdomen
Don't put pressure over your abdomen. In Belgium the midwives will advise you to strengthen your abdominal muscle, so that you have the strength during delivery.
           
You are back to single
In Belgium they expect you to use your maiden name while you are pregnant. All the records will be in your maiden name. You might feel a bit like the time when you were a single.

Czech Republic

 
Pelvic Exam at every visit
Some doctors will perform pelvic exam every time you go for a check up. However, it has been discouraged among private doctors.
 
Attending birth can be costly
Husbands can attend birth, but some hospitals charge 1,000CK to attend birth. If he stays overnight, his stay can be more costly than the patient.
           
OVA
When you register your baby's birth, it is the practice in Czech Republic to put OVA after your last name. So if your last name is Robertson, then you would be registered as RobertsonOVA

Denmark

 
Abortion
Abortion was not allowed in Denmark until early 70s. Now it is allowed, as it has given choices to women.
 
Midwife means
It means Mother of the Huge Plains, how reliable one can expect from such name.
           
Acupuncture
During the time when you are suffering from morning sickness, and even during labor, you can expect acupuncture to perform great wonders.

Finland

 
KELA
When you register with KELA, you will be looked after well. They provide you with baby goods, so that you do not need to look around. But if you enjoy shopping and buying your own baby goods, then you can decline their offer and receive cash instead.
 
Check up by the health nurse
You may not need to see a obgyn if you are healthy. The health nurse will look after you with necessary check ups during pregnancy. Your visit will be to the health center and not to the hospital.
           
Natural is the best
You might be expected to be tied to tubes, but as for your hospital stay in Finland, you will be rest assured that there will be natural methods tried first. Even when you can't urinate but have to, they will not use the catheter but make you listen to the sound of the sprinkling water from the shower.

Luxemburg

 
Hiking and walking
Surrounded by mountains and trees, it is recommended that one takes a walk through the woods during pregnancy for some exercise.
 
Everyone welcomes the baby
One can choose quite freely who she wants to be with during her delivery. Mrs. W had decided to have her son attend her birth and it all worked out fine.
           
Flexible hospital rules
The hospitals in Luxemburg is quite flexible in terms of visiting hours and who can visitt. Many hospitals do not allow small children to enter the maternity ward, however, in Luxemburg, they are quite generous, allowing children to visit their mothers while she is in the hospital.

Netherlands

 
Home birth
What surprised me the most about birth in the Netherlands was the high percentage of home birth. As high as nearly 40%. This was possible since the midwives were very skilled and knowledgeable and highly qualified to assist normal birth.
 
Choice of birth place
Many Netherlanders opt for home birth. They have mentioned that home birth is most relaxing. At home birth, you progress at your own pace.
           
Home visit by the midwife
Midwives visit for nearly 10 days after birth. You also have the choice of having a well-trained postnatal nurse. She will take care of the woman, the baby, the older children, the house, and attends to the guests.

Norway

 
Waterbed
In some hospitals in Norway, you will be surprised to see waterbeds. Not twin size but queen size. You can have your husband with you while you stay at the hospital. A good way to start a family.
 
Paternal leave
It has not been easy for fathers take their paternal leave after the child is born. Most men do not take the leave, so the government decided to make 4 weeks of leave that will only be for fathers and that mothers cannot take. Well, we'll see whether this may force men to be with the new borns.
           
Cutting of the umbilical cord
It is a custom in some countries for the fathers to cut the umbilical cord of the baby. It is no exception in Norway. Fathers get the chance to cut the cord and the baby lies in mother's breast.

Poland

 
Contract with the hospital
In order to use the medical service, you sign a contract with the hospital and pay a membership fee. The service you receive will depend on what kind of plan you have chosen with the hospital. This system distinguishes private hospitals from public hospitals.
 
Epidural, a choice?
You may want to think twice if you opt for epidural, because many Polish women do not opt for epidural and as a result, the doctors may not be too experienced in providing one, which may put you at risk.

Sweden

 
Midwives
Midwives in Sweden perform almost like an obstetrician. They can write prescriptions, give shots, draw blood, and also do ultrasound scanning. And of course, they deliver the baby and look after the mothers after birth.
 
Raising the birth rate
Since birth rate was declining in Sweden, they have decided that all cost involved in delivering the baby will be at the expense of the government. They also receive various child support until the child reaches the age of 12.
           
Babies don't get bath
Babies are not dipped in the water to be cleaned soon after they are born, they just wipe the baby.

China

 
Birth means having a boy
Chinese people expect to have boys so much that it even sounds like when you give birth it means you have to have a boy. Therefore, the Chinese would eat sunflower seeds and watermelon seeds so that they will have a boy.
 
No Privacy
Doctors in China has to see many patients, therefore, you may expect other ladies in the doctor's office while you are having your pelvic examination.
           
Ob-gyns are all women doctors, no men allowed
In China, almost all the obgyns are female. Men are not allowed in the delivery room. Therefore, you may have to engage in video-phone conversation.

India

 
Entire family
Some facilities allow numerous birthing partners to be present in the labor room. They all want to participate in welcoming the new member.
 
Nursing Home
In the U.S., nursing home means more like home for the elerly, but in India, it means a small medical unit, where you can also give birth.

Japan

 
Sash around your belly
On the dog's day, which dogs are believed to have easy delivery, women in Japan choose the day to wrap a sash around their belly. It also function as to lift the heavy belly as well as to warm the belly.
 
Natural birth is the thing
Japanese women cannot think of anything other than natural birth. They even say that the labor pain is the ritual in becoming a good mother.
           
Luxury of long hospital stay
You can stay on average of 5 to 7 days in the hospital. During the stay, you will learn how to nurse your baby and bathe your baby.
           
Home bound for 1 month
Women usually stay home bound for about a month after the baby is born. They believe it is not good to expose newborns out in the public.

Korea

 
Birthday predetermined
It is said that in Korea, one's birth date will determine one's destiny. So they decide on when the child will be born. Therefore, it is common for some to choose elective Cesarean section, raising the C-sec rate.
 
Floor heating
The Koreans opt to lie down on the heated floor called "Ondol" after given birth. It is believed that she would have a faster recovery by warming the body. But it was summer when I visited and it was so steamy hot inside the Ondol.
           
Husbands do not attend delivery
It is not at all common in Korea for husbands to attend delivery. I interviewed some women and asked how she feels about it, they almost all mentioned that they do wish husband to be present and hold their hands and to give support.

Mongolia

 
What time was the baby born?
The Mongolians cannot be bothered by what time the baby was born. You may see a clock in the delivery room, but it may not be accurate. So it is advised that you take your watch with you.
 
Wrap your baby
Newborns are wrapped tightly in a large cloth. Their legs are stretched straight. The nurses say that when they are wrapped in such manner, it would be easy to handle.
           
No birth certificate
It was such a surprise that the hospital did not provide foreigners with a birth certificate. They certainly had one for Mongolians but no such form for foreigners.

Pakistan

 
Boys are welcomed
Families expect boys to be born. So they would usually keep on trying until they can have a boy. When they can't have a boy, they consult doctors and in some worse cases, she can be divorced.
 
Home birth is not a choice
The government pays for the cost of delivery, but up to the second child. Therefore, the consequent birth is usually at home for the poor.

Philippines

 
Do not put anything around your neck
There are many restrictions during pregnancy: do not step over a rope the baby will be born bleech, do not put anything around your neck, the baby may be born with his/her umbilical cord wrapped around its neck,
 
Herbs used after episiotomy
The Philippinas will burn incense to soothe the atmosphere after birth. They also put char coal and herb indirectly on the perineum for quick recovery.
           
Bargaining on delivery fees
One must bargain for hospital charges. Sounds a bit like the U.S. where the health insurance companies negotiate with hospitals on our behalf.

Saipan

 
Big body, small baby
The natives called Chamorro are large, but often times they have small babies or even premature babies.
 
Rubbing oil
In the old days, during labor, those who assist the birth would rub oil over the abdomen and place thick blanket and there were smoke from the burning bark.
           
Only 1 month stay for non-visas
Because some plan to give birth in Saipan, to attain US citizenship for the baby, Saipan is discouraging mothers to enter the country with non-visa status by allowing them only one month stay.

Sri Lanka

 
Being fat, being good
In Sri Lanka where fatness is considered an indication of wealth, the doctors do not particularly restrict your diet during pregnancy. Fat is considered a beauty of its own.
 
Shape of the tummy determines the sex
Sri Lankans believe that you can determine the sex of the baby by looking at the shape of the tummy. For example, if the belly sticks out and pointy, then it is said to be a boy.
           
Medical equipments out of order
Although the hospital may be equipped with advanced medical equipments, they can be out of order. The reason be that they lack the technicians to fix the equipments.Advanced industrialized countries cannot just send these equipments, but also to send maintenance technicians.

Taiwan

 
Medicine for good delivery
Can you imagine that there is a medicine for good delivery? Well, there is. It's Eastern Medicine. You boil the herbs that the Eastern doctors prescribes you and boil it and drink it.
 
No moving
You cannot move your place during pregnancy. The God of babies may get angry and do something nasty to your child. You can't even move furniture while you are pregnant. So you might have to postpone that nursery for your baby until after she/he is born.
           
Hospital does not serve meals
If you expect to enjoy hospital meals, well, don't in Taiwan. After delivery, women are on strict recovery diet and it is the duty of the mothers-in-law to bring in the food.

Thailand

 
Innovative delivery
Bangkok private hospitals can be quite open minded. You can have water birth, active birth or whatever method you wish.
 
BCG shots
Although many developing countries do not give BCG shots, in Thailand, you would expect your baby to get his/her first shot of BCG (to prevent tuberculosis) while he/she is still at the hospital.

Argentina

 
Know the sex of your baby
It is essential that you know the sex of the baby before she/he is born because you need to name her straight away.
 
Carry your records
You are responsible for your records, so you need to carry it every time you have your check up, tests, as well as on the day of your delivery. It's quite a responsibility.
           
Shaving the head
As early as the next day after birth, babies' heads are shaved, so that thick hair will grow out. But imagine, putting razor over the baby's head, it seems scary.

Brazil

 
Depends on your insurance
One can find a tremendous difference in treatment, depending on the insurance you have. If you have private insurance, chances are that you will have your own private room, whereas if you do not have it, you might be in the basement with 10 other patients.
 
Take in salt
In order to avoid pre-eclampsia, most women are told to have less salt than usual, but in Sao Paulo, because the land is dry, the doctors will tell you to take a lot of fluid as well as salt, so that you won't be affected by the low blood pressure. Salt to be taken from Olives, now that sounds very Brazilian.
           
C-sec in demand
Cesarean section is very popular in Brazil. In some hospitals it can be as high as 95%

Peru

 
Salt works
When they are waiting for the placenta to be delivered, they would put a bit of a salt on the mother's tongue. It is believed that will ease the delivery of placenta.
 
Citizenship of Peru
If you are born in Peru, no matter what your parents' nationality may be, the baby will be granted Peruan Citizenship.

Venezuela

 
Keep your maternity wear
It is believed that if you keep your maternity dress, you will most likely to conceive your second child.
 
Birth in a political unrest environment
It is an insecure environment in Venezuela when you know there is political unrest. Water supply can stop or electricity cut off at any time. Imagine no water with a new born baby.
           
A cold shower
One must be prepared for a cold shower even in a private room equipped with shower and toilet. The locals don't mind cold shower.

Australia

 
Waiting period before the initial visit
In Australia, they make your initial appointment with the doctor after 12 weeks of your pregnancy, since it is common that you may have miscarriage in the first part of your pregnancy.
 
Birth Centers
There is no doctors but just midwives at the birth center. They will not do pelvic examination during pregnancy, they will not give you epidural, they will not over medicate you, they will not perform episiotomy.
           
Discharged within 24 hours
If you give birth at the birth center, they will allow you to return home after 24 hours, but midwives will visit your home every day for a week. If you have birth in the hospital, you will be in the hospital for about 3 days.

Egypt

 
Weight Gain
Women do not have to worry much about gaining weight during pregnancy, as being a bit overweight shows that the husband is taking good care of her financially and feeding her well.
 
No bumps
Many women in Egypt wear a robe where it covers the entire body, so people hardly notice you that you are pregnant. You may be close to your due date, still it's not showing.

Kenya

 
Nausa - girl?
Some doctors may tell you that the nausea likely indicates that you might be carrying a girl.
 
Don't ask questions
Questioning doctors or hospital procedures is simply not done in Kenya. If you ask basic questions like , 'Can I have a tour of the hospital?' may give the impression that you don't trust the doctors and you may respond with uncomfortable laughter.

South Africa

 
Tea Time
Because of the strong British influence, the South Africans enjoy tea time. The hospitals may have 5 tea time a day.
 
In desperation
Although the government tries to help as much for the disadvantaged girls, some of these moms become so desperate after birth, they abandon their babies at ths hospital they gave birth to.

Senegal

 
Toxoplasmosis
As in France, even in Senegal, the doctors are quite obsessed about testing toxoplasmosis. This disease is caused by a parasitic protozoan, transmitted chiefly through undercooked meat, soil, or in cat faeces.
 
Malaria prevention
Malaria medicine has to be taken every day and how nuisance would that be while you are pregnant. But there is a medicine for pregnant women.
           
Upside down shower
Babies can be put upside down and given water from the tap in some villages.What a shock for a new born baby.