There are not a lot of places in the world that are as exotic as Fiji. It has been a dream vacation destination for a long time now, and how could anyone resist. With beautiful, clear blue waters and greenery that is enough to make anyone jealous. It is not surprising that Fiji is one of the most visited spots every year for tourists.
What people often forget is that these destinations are not just spots for people to go and relax, they are someone’s home. There are people who live in these places. They go to school, they work, they marry, and they have children. People don’t often stop and think about what it is like to be pregnant in other countries. Countries we may not know a lot about.
Fiji is a South Pacific island that resembles an exotic tropical paradise, but how do the locals see it? Those who are native to Fiji are called Fijians. Much like those from Canada are called Canadians. How do the women handle being pregnant over there? Are there any stark differences in the customs and ways in which a baby makes their grand entrance into the world?
We would not be doing the beautiful country any favours if we only focused on pregnant women. That is why this will be a piece that not only discusses the pregnancy customs of those who live in Fiji, but it will also include some facts about this majestic place. Not a lot of people know the true history and culture of the country because so much emphasis is placed on going there for vacation.
15 If She Can't Have Babies She's Considered Disappointing
Being a woman is special, they appear to be superhuman almost every day with the struggles and challenges that they face in the world today. The fact alone that their body can grow and nurture a new life is nothing short of miraculous. A lot of women are treated better when they are carrying a child and they should be, but in Fiji it is much more than that. In Fiji, when a woman becomes pregnant it automatically elevates her status as a woman. She is seen as doing what she should be doing to help further her family heritage.
That seems like a nice thought, but it comes with a huge negative. 1 in 8 women experience some form of infertility and that is not prejudiced based on where you live in the world. Chances are there are a lot of women in Fiji who are unable to get pregnant, or who have a hard time. They are not regarded as highly as fertile women.
Infertile women may be seen as wasting their family’s resources.
It is not a positive image, but it is deeply rooted in their culture, and while this may be changing as the world changes it is not quite there yet.
14 Accidental Pregnancy: The Mother's Fault
It may be more common in some countries as opposed to others, but it happens all over the world. That is unwanted pregnancies. A pregnancy that is not planned can happen to anyone at any time. Birth control fails all the time, no matter how careful couples are, and technically nothing other than abstinence is 100% effective. What is different between countries and cultures is how they treat women who find themselves in this situation. The western world has a more liberal approach, allowing a woman the right to her own reproductive health and understanding that accidents can happen.
They think of it a little different in Fiji.
Unwanted pregnancies in Fiji are regarded as a personal responsibility and is linked to moral failure of control and bad luck.
They do not appear to place any blame on faulty contraceptive methods. This can either work in one of two ways. Either, it helps reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies because women are more careful about not falling in this category. Or, it can place women in a very tricky situation if they find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy, already immediately thinking that they will be shunned from their community for their immoral ways.
13 Almost All Moms Choose Hospital Birth
There seems to be a handful of places a woman can choose to birth her hospital these days. She can have a birth at home, either in water or not. She can elect to go to a birthing center and have even more options there, or she can give birth in a hospital. The hospital is still the highest elected place of birth. Mostly because a lot of women like to know that they are in the right place if an emergency should happen or if they decide that they really need some form of pain management.
It would appear that a lot of Fijian women feel the same way.
It is estimated that about 98% of women in Fiji choose to give birth in a hospital.
This could be due to many factors that would require more research. It could be based on the comfort level of birthing in a hospital, but it could also come down to not having anywhere else suitable for birthing a child nearby for most Fijian moms. If there are no birthing centers nearby, or a person’s home is not safe or suitable for childbirth it would leave women with very few choices on where to deliver.
12 Support Is All Around For New Moms
We mentioned before how much support Fijian women receive when they are pregnant and after the baby is born, and it is very important. Every woman needs support at this point in their life. Being pregnant and preparing to be new mother is not always easy, actually it is rarely easy. It is only made easer by the loving support that a woman receives from her partner, family, friends and community. A woman who does not receive these things is at risk for a lot of things that could go wrong.
Women who lack support after giving birth are at a higher risk for developing PPD (Postpartum Depression). The Fijians recognize this and, in an attempt, to thwart it off ahead of time they make sure the mother and infant are given a lot of care and support in the first while after the baby is born.
They must be doing something right, because Fiji has one of the lowest rates of new mothers with PPD.
Again, this could be due to the changes in population. The country is not as big as Canada, so the numbers would not seem as high to us due to that
11 No Complaining For Pregnant Moms
Isn’t it like a right of passage that pregnant women get to complain? We go through a lot to bring this little one into the world, so it seems only fair that we should be allowed to complain about our aches, pains and all the heartburn! In the western world, it is not strange to hear someone complain, we are a generation of complaining. We complain about everything, and it can be a little much at times, so we need to take a lesson from the Fijians.
Those in Fiji do not complain. When it comes to health matters, pregnancy included, they just don’t complain.
They will tell family and close friends if something is bothering them physically, if they are in mental or physical pain, but it is not to be said to a stranger. If a stranger or person they do not know well are in the sae area they are, they keep their mouths shut and hold it all inside. While this may seem like it would be hard to do for most women, especially when pregnant, it does go a long way to having good manners and to not spill all your personal information with everyone. Facebook must be pretty boring in Fiji.
10 Lots Of Family Help With The New Baby
Childbirth is one of the most dreaded parts of being pregnant. It is not a common thought in the beginning, but as time goes on and that baby gets bigger it starts to hit women hard. They start to realize that this baby has to come out and there are only so many ways to do that. Women are so preoccupied with what happens during childbirth (especially if this is their first) that they neglect to think about what happens immediately after birth.
Medical care is very important to Fijian women who are pregnant. They receive a lot of care during their pregnancy through a medical doctor or through a midwife. They have regular check-ups and monitoring when pregnant to make sure that everything is going the way it should be. They also receive a lot of care after the baby arrives. They make sure that the mother is cared for both physically as well as mentally. They are aware of the prevalence of post-partum depression and want to go to all lengths to prevent it. They do this by making sure that the new mother has all the support she needs, both by formal and informal methods.
This means that a woman’s family is heavily involved in the after care.
9 Must Take Pain Relief If The Doctor Says So
Pain relief during childbirth will always be a hot topic. There are always those who are waiting to judge you for how you choose to give birth. If you decided not to use pain relief, you will be branded as some sort of goody-two-shoes who just wants a pat on the back for doing it all natural. If you receive an epidural you will be marked as a woman who couldn’t make it and choose to drug her baby before he was even born. Either way, it really doesn’t matter how a woman gives birth as long as mom and baby are healthy and happy.
The Fijians are not opposed to pain relief medications and will happily take them considering something happens first. If a medical doctor clearly tells the woman how the medications will help and the different benefits they have than they will take them with no question.
It is not something that is left up to the mom, they want to be told what it all entails and to make sure that what they are taking is healthy and doctor recommended.
They have strong Christian values, so they do prefer to not take any medications if they can handle not too.
8 Don't Get Pregnant While Lactating
A lot of women choose to have babies close in age, a lot of woman don’t plan to have babies close in age, but it happens anyways. This is generally not a problem unless you are breastfeeding. The Fijians are large supporters of breastfeeding and do everything they can to make sure that the breastfeeding relationship between mother and infant is strong and that it lasts as long as possible. Therefore, they don’t look to kindly to women who conceive while they are still breastfeeding another child.
They go as far as to say that getting pregnant while lactating is shameful and unacceptable.
It is said, in Fiji, that getting pregnant while lactating can hinder the quality and quantity of the milk so that the older child will suffer from this ‘inadequate’ milk.
They believe that this will weaken your child. Modern science has told us that this is not true, and the only effect pregnancy has on milk production is that it may alter the taste due to all the hormones that are running through mom’s system. It appears that this information has not travelled to Fiji yet. Hopefully it will soon, and the stigma of having babies close together will ease off of moms.
It seems the world has forgotten about the Zika virus. It wasn’t too long ago that this was all over the news, with hopeful mothers all over the world worrying about the health of their unborn children. The Zika virus was a virus that was transferred by mosquito bites. When an infected mosquito bit a mother and the illness entered her bloodstream it had the ability to cause some pretty severe health concerns with her growing baby. These mosquitos were often found in tropical places, and Fiji was one of them. Doctors will still warn mothers about travelling to places that are known for carrying these mosquitos.
It is still better safe to wait until after the baby comes to travel to Fiji, but what about the women who live there?
Sadly, they are at risk for being bitten by an infected mosquito, however they are used to these little pests and have a lot of ways in which to keep them away.
They use mosquito netting to make sure that they are left alone at night, and they know not to be around standing water. Two of the biggest and most effective ways in keeping mosquitoes away.
6 Heat And Rain: Climate Comfortability
The weather has a lot to do with how comfortable a woman is when is pregnant. A woman who lives in a country that experiences all four seasons will have a hard time in different seasons. In Winter, when it is incredibly cold and snowy, it can be hard for a pregnant woman to bundle up every time she has to go outside. In the summer, it is hot and humid and there are only so many clothing items that a mom can take off. This means she spends a lot of time in the house with air conditioning or at the local pool.
So, what is the weather like in Fiji? Well, as you probably have guessed it is hot and tropical. Fiji is a country that has a dry season and a wet season. Meaning there is a period of the year in which they get an immense amount of rain. It may be a pain for a pregnant woman, but it is needed to make sure their tropical plants thrive. It is fairly hot all year round, so if you are not a summer person be glad you do not live in Fiji. The good thing is, a person who was born and raised in Fiji is accustomed to their climate and will probably not feel any effects from the weather.
5 Half Of Maternity Leave While Pregnant, Half After The Baby Comes
A big part of being pregnant is planning for what to do when the baby comes. How are you going to set up the nursery? Most importantly, what will happen with the baby when and if you have to go back to work? A lot of countries are still lacking in the maternity leave department, with very few having excellent programs that allow moms to stay home with their baby’s.
Fiji does have a maternity leave plan. Fiji mothers are entitled to 84 days off when they are expecting a baby.
They get 42 days before the baby is born, and then another 42 after the baby is born.
This may not seem like a lot, but when compared to a lot of other countries, including the United States of America, it is quite a lot. Maternity leave laws are very important and there are fights going on all over the world to have them changed in a lot of countries, because the realization is there of just how important the mother and baby bond is. A lot of the mother’s in Fiji do work in travel or on farms, both of these jobs would require time off for mom to recover from childbirth as well as bond with her baby.
4 Wait Until Their Late-20s To Become Mothers
They do studies for just about everything, so you can believe me when I tell you that they have done studies to find out when the average age is for a woman to become a mother based on the country they live in. The choice of becoming a mother is a very personal one, and it is one that usually is decided between a woman and her spouse. However, there are trends when we look at countries on how old they are when they first have a child. Some of the countries have teen-age mothers as their average, and others have mothers who are much older and everywhere in between.
Where do Fiji mothers come in on this poll?
The average age for a woman in Fiji to become a mother is 28 years old.
This puts them at number 150 on the list. If you are curious at who the number one is on this list, I will let you know that as well. Libya comes in at number 1 with the oldest average age for a mother at 32 years old. So, which country has the youngest mothers? According to the study, Bangladesh has the youngest mothers coming in at 24 years old.
3 Balanced Meals Are Standard For Everyone
When a woman becomes pregnant, food is everything. There is a lot of anxiety about food when you are pregnant. A pregnant woman has a lot to think about: what can you eat and what makes you violently ill? Then there is the panic on whether you will always have access to food. When a pregnant woman’s blood sugar drops it can leave her feeling dizzy, nauseous and faint and it is not fun. She will normally load her bag up with snacks just in case she gets a craving.
So, what does the diet look like for an expectant mom in Fiji? A lot of Fiji’s population are people from India, so a lot of their foods are based on Indian culture. They consume a lot of peppers, bread and curry.
Due to the climate and the land on Fiji, they eat a lot of fruits, vegetables and grains. The meat that they do consume often comes from a can, but they do not eat meat as often as we do in the western world.
All in all, it seems like a pretty healthy and balanced diet for a woman who is nourishing a growing baby in her womb.
2 A Fijian Mother's Place Is At Home
When a woman becomes pregnant it is accepted that not only her life will change, but so will her role in the family unit. She is not only someone else’s daughter, now she is someone’s mother and that is bound to have changes on her as a person. So, what does the role of a mother look like to a woman who lives in Fiji?
Traditionally, the woman’s role in a family is to tend to the house and raise the children. While this view is changing in other parts of the world, it is pretty standard in Fiji.
They are not alone as there are still many families all over the world who believe that the husband goes out to work while the wife stays home and takes care of the family. If that is how the family is happy then it shouldn’t bother anyone in how they set up their roles within the family unit. Fiji does still have a long way to go when it comes to women’s rights, as they are still not the ones who get a say in any decisions that are made for the family, that is still the role of the man.
1 Baby Is Coming Home To A Large Household
When we think of Canada and the US, the family home is relatively small. A baby comes home to a mom and dad and maybe a few siblings. There may even be a grandma around for a while to help, but then they leave, and it is all calm again. In Fiji, the only people who live alone are the elderly. The rest of the family form one household. There are normally some grandparents, parents, sisters and any and all babies that are hanging around.
This has upsides and downsides. It may be hard to get a moments peace when you are constantly surrounded by people. However, there is always an extra pair of hands if mom needs some help and support. This may lead to why there is so much support available for a new mom and why they have one of the lowest rates of PPD. As we can see there are a lot of similarities between Fiji and other places when it comes to being pregnant, but there are a lot of differences as well. Now, you can decide whether Fiji is somewhere you wish to live, or just to visit and soak up the tropical sun.