How to be pregnant – Thai Style
I know sporting a baby bump can be the equivalent of wearing a sign that says, “Please, give me your thoughts on my body and advice on how to take care of it.” While I haven’t been overwhelmed or inundated with either, I have chosen to keep careful track of all of the advice I have gotten so I can share all the best tidbits I’ve heard. For the most part, it’s the same as I think I would have heard in the US, but there are some doozies mixed in too. These are all pretty much direct quotes, and I’ve opted to include a few that came from cultures other than Thai as well.
On the topic of saving money in preparation for baby:
- Eat less, use less.
On the topic of food:
- Drink soy milk everyday and your baby will have creamy white skin like Chinese people.
- Drink at least one box of milk every day (soy or UHT).
- Pregnant people shouldn’t eat candies like that. (individually wrapped breath mint)
- Don’t drink coffee, your baby will come out with dark skin.
- Eat small amounts of food frequently to prevent swelling in hands and feet.
- Don’t drink too much water while you are pregnant. This causes pain during childbirth. (Uganda)
- Drink coconut water every day. (Coconut water consumption amongst pregnant women is a favorite, and apparently debated, topic for Thai people.)
- Drink only the water, but give away the meat.
- Drink it twice a day, morning and evening.
- Drink it only in the first trimester.
- Drink it through the entire pregnancy.
- Drinking coconut water washes the baby so that baby will have white skin. (Because my relationship with this advice-giver allowed, I told him, “Really though, I think that baby is already going to have white skin…”)
On the topic of exercise:
- Don’t run. Walking, swimming and cycling are all okay though.
- No exercising. “How can you swim when you are pregnant?” (Uganda)
- Eat jackfruit seeds for milk production.
- Eat rice porridge for milk production.
- Baby should not go outside for two months.
- Mother should not go outside for one month.
- Mother should not shower for two weeks.
- While still in the hospital, the mother should sit in a special contraption (I gather it’s like a dry sauna) to help heal the body. This special heat system prevents pain when sitting on cold things in the future and prevents “bones from feeling tortured.” (Graphic by my Thai teacher below.)
- Don’t carry heavy things like that. (Lady points to my purse.)
- Don’t go to funerals. (Korea)
- Wear a safety pin on your belly. This shows people they need to be careful around you, and protects your baby from evil spirits.
- Don’t ride in bumpy cars.
- Don’t take any medicine.
- Don’t wear pants. (I got to show this lady how maternity pants from the US work.)
Pretty fun, eh? If baby comes on time, I only have about another week of pregnancy advice. After that I am looking forward to entering the world of newborn advice!