Wednesday, 26 September 2012

#25 Taking Stock

FACT OF THE DAY: A surprising amount of you are superstitious and interested in hyenas....
I have been blogging intermittently for about a year now, and have written a grand total of 24 posts.
Like most bloggers I enjoy looking at the stats to see what people are reading and where these people come from. There is something quite amazing and exciting to log in and and see that at that very moment someone over in the Philippines or Australia is reading my blog.
So what do the stats tell me you interested in? The top three posts in terms of reader numbers are;

#20 Pregnancy superstitions around the world (a clear winner)


#5 Getting a flat stomach after birth


#15 Pity the hyena mother (an unexpected hit!)

If I could find some material about superstitious hyenas getting their shape back maybe that would really hit the spot!
Other popular posts include:
#23 Nipple stimulation in childbirth - does it work? A recently added post seems to be gaining popularity
I can also tell you that people are not as interested as I thought they might be in;
#9 Grass Hut Ceseareans;postID=7141900427892493707 (which I personally think is fascinating (!) about Cesearean type operation being performed in the Uganda in 1879 before it was done successfully in Europe) or
#19 Stress and Infertility which is about remedies for infertility found in other cultures which may deal with the stress of infertility.
In terms of the readers, the vast majority of you come from the UK and the USA, however, lots of readers also come from Canada, India, The Philippines, Australia and Malaysia. All countries where English is spoken widely - maybe all bloggers writing in English will find that these are the main places where their blogs are read.
Thanks for comments and following so far, its always nice to get feedback on what you think.
So I will keep writing, I hope you keep reading!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

#24 Nipple stimulation in childbirth - does it work?

FACT OF THE DAY: Nipple stimulation has been used around the world for centuries to bring on labour
I don’t think I can be the only one who was incredulous the first time I heard that nipple stimulation can be a good way of getting labour going.
There was a definite snigger around the room at the antenatal class as we sat there absorbing this ‘titillating’ piece of information. We had been hoping to hear about medical advances and scientific methods that would help us in childbirth, not something as simple, available and sexual as nipple stimulation.
After my initial surprise I was quite quick to discard this piece of advice, imagining that it would be unlikely to be effective, and that it probably wouldn't be what I felt like doing in the early stages of labour.
However, since embarking on my research I find that I may have been wrong to dismiss this idea so quickly. A number of cultures around the world have independently come up with this strategy.

Monday, 20 August 2012

#23 'Childbirth Myths' article published!

Hooray! I've had an article published as a result of this blog.

The article is called called 'Childbirth myths around the world' and it appears in "Midwives" which is the magazine for the Royal College of Midwives.

The article is a double spread with a great illustration - have a look at pages 42/43 in:

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

#22 Does 9 months of "eating for two" give you a bigger baby or a bigger bum?

FACT OF THE DAY: Women in some cultures near starve themselves during pregnancy in hope of giving birth to a smaller baby that is safer to deliver

What’s one of the first thing people say to you once you’re pregnant? After the initial congratulations, often the next reaction along with your celebratory cup of tea is encouragement to eat more, saying “Go on, have another biscuit, now that you’re eating for two”.

Our culture’s obsession with feeding up pregnant women probably relates back to the days when food was scarce. But food is not so scarce these days, in fact for most of us it’s more than plentiful!

The current NHS advice specifically says “you don’t have to eat for two” during pregnancy. Making sure you eat sufficient vitamins and minerals while pregnant is now recognised as more important than extra food.

Exact figures vary, but it seems that for the first six months of pregnancy you don’t need any extra calories as your body becomes more efficient, and for the final three months just an extra 200-300 calories per day are needed (equivalent to a couple of slices of toast, or one Mars Bar).

That’s really very little excuse to be putting our hands in the cookie jar too often. It also explains why even in famine conditions women are able to produce babies.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

#21 Don't change your bedding on unlucky days

FACT OF THE DAY:  Women in Hong Kong, China, are encouraged to follow a list of over 75 superstitions during pregnancy, believed to protect them and their baby

In the last post I described some of the more extreme pregnancy superstitions found around the world.

From what I’ve read, generally the more Westernised (and medicalised) a culture, the fewer the number of superstitions that are followed, in daily life as well as during pregnancy.

But it seems this is not always the case.

I’ve been reading a fascinating account of the superstitions that are still going strong in Hong Kong, even among women who are receiving Western obstetric care.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

#20 Pregnancy superstitions around the world

Are you superstitious?

Even though I think of myself as a rational person with a scientific approach to life, I still can’t help following superstitions which I know to be totally ridiculous - I admit to feeling slightly uncomfortable if I have to walk under a ladder. And during pregnancy I probably gave in to my superstitions more than normal.

In our culture we seem to be particularly driven by the fear of tempting fate during pregnancy, for example not bringing the cot or pram into the house before the baby is actually born.

Monday, 13 February 2012

#19 Stress & Infertility

So my question is, do any of these infertility rituals actually work?

Religious or spiritual rituals, often aimed at banishing an evil presence which is preventing conception from happening, are a very common approach to solving infertility in many non-Western cultures.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

#18 She put a spell on me

FACT OF THE DAY: Spells and sorcery are common explanations for infertility in some African cultures. Women unable to have children are often accused of being witches themselves.

Today, I am staying on the witchcraft theme – shame it’s not Hallowe’en.

Last post I shared a 2009 Gallop poll which shows the amazingly high number of people who believe in witchcraft in various African countries. Of the 18,000 people polled in 18 countries, on average 55% said they believed in witchcraft.

Given the high prevalence of these beliefs, I guess it’s not surprising that witchcraft comes to mind for women who are having difficulty getting pregnant. Maybe it’s only one step further from us saying we feel so unlucky, or even ‘cursed’ in the same situation.