Life in the Amish culture is so much different than the lifestyle of a typical American person. When a woman in the Amish community finds herself pregnant they certainly can't just do whatever they want. They have to follow strict rules and guidelines set forth by the Amish culture as they move along in their pregnancy journey.
These expecting women don't have the luxury of epidurals and hospital stays. They also don't get to throw on their husband's sweatpants in their third trimester and lie around on the couch watching reruns of The Real Housewives of Orange County. Once they discover that they are with a child, not a whole lot changes outside of the physical. They pretty much act as if nothing major is taking place and carry on for nine long months until the big day arrives. Amish women are nothing if not pregnant soldiers. They do this song and dance many times over the course of their lives and they do it a lot more effortless than many of us.
This is one culture that has pregnancy and childbirth down to a science. No fuss, no muss, and no baby showers! (That last one is kind of a bummer though right!?)
15 Home Births Are The Norm
Some Amish women do give birth in local hospitals, but home births are much more common among this population. Most Amish mothers do not carry commercial insurance, making hospital births pretty stinking pricey. Home births tend to cost the family and community a whole lot less when compared to standard. Considering the number of times Amish mothers give birth, without insurance they could never afford the seven-plus births that they will endure in their lifetime.
According to Amishamerica, the typical home environments of the Amish also tend to be clean, quiet and soothing, offering comfort to the laboring mothers. Home births also allow moms to be to be close to their families and communities as they welcome their new bundle of joy into the world. Due to all the above factors, home births have become the overwhelming custom of the Amish people.
14 Babies Out Of Wedlock Is A Big No-No
Having babies out of wedlock is a big, old Amish no-no. It is expected that couples will marry within the church and abide by cultural norms before starting a family and bringing children into the family. There are varying reports as to what lengths Amish communities will go to in regards to scorning young women who fall pregnant without being properly married.
Some expectant, single mothers might be shunned from their community while others might just be looked down upon.
Neither sounds like a very nice way to bring a baby into the world.
According to Daviddfriedman.com, should the single mother decide that she isn't up to raising her baby on her own, abortion would not be a consideration and the baby would likely be adopted out to another couple within the community.
13 Must Stay Silent During Labor
I have no clue how this next one is even humanly possible, but some cultures find it optimal for mothers to labor and deliver babies in silence rather than screaming. I barely started contracting before I started whining and whimpering so this phenomenon is way past me. Thanks to good old TomKat, we know that the Scientologists prefer this quiet method of childbirth and apparently so do many in the Amish community. That said silent births aren't so much a rule for pregnant Amish mommies, but more of a reflection as to how they live their life in general. Amish women aren't typically outspoken nor are they flamboyant in words or actions. They are reported to be quiet and stoic in personality and this often times carries over to the birthing process.
12 Pictures Are Forbidden
Amish people don't do pictures, especially ones that might show their faces. The belief is that photographs are "graven images" According to Discoverlancaster, there is even a biblical commandment regarding these graven images.
Photographs are seen as a means to express individuality and call attention to one's self. Both of these are a big no-no in the Amish culture.
When pregnant women of the Amish community find themselves in dire straights, they might have to have a number of pictures taken of their bodies.
Ultrasounds can be construed as pictures as can x-rays. Both procedures are ones that expectant Amish women aren't huge fans of. If doctors need to gather images of an Amish women's body to better provide prenatal care for her and her unborn baby, it's probably best to steer clear of terms like, "take some pictures."
11 No Such Thing As Baby Showers
Ask any run of the mill American women what the most fun part of being pregnant is and she will tell you that it's hands down the baby shower. They are pretty amazing events if you think about it. Women who love you organize and throw a party in your honor and shower you with gifts for your baby and then they feed you cake! What pregnant woman doesn't want presents and cake? Women in the Amish culture have to miss out on this tradition, however. According to amishquilter.com, baby showers aren't really a thing for them, in fact, the pregnancy itself isn't even publicly celebrated or even acknowledged, so a baby shower would be a bit hypocritical for these ladies to indulge in. People in this culture do not like to focus on a single event or themselves.
10 Must Stay Active Until The Baby Comes Out
Once I hit my third trimester I could barely walk from the family room to the kitchen and when I did make the trek, it took a whole lot longer than I thought it would. I had that pregnant waddle down to an art form. It's completely understandable that women would slow down as they are nearing the end of their nine months. You're huge, you're sore and your just plain old tired of lugging around a tiny ninja in your belly. Amish women just keep plugging along though. They tend to let nature take its course and many times nature decides to keep babies in bellies longer than their mothers would prefer, this means Amish moms go a few weeks past their due dates more often than not.
Even though they are as pregnant as can be...or more...they just keep on with their household duties.
9 Breastfeeding Is Best
Let's get one thing straight as an arrow here, the Amish love themselves some breastfeeding. Not only is it an extra, all natural method of birth control, but it's free! The majority of the Amish aren't exactly rolling around in the moolah, so free is great. Amish women even work to educate other women on the benefits of breastfeeding in order to produce even more breastfeeders. Amish mommies also don't drive cars and probably don't use Amazon Prime, so running up to the corner store really quick to grab formula probably isn't happening and we moms know screaming babies don't like to wait around for their next meal. Aside from being convenient and free, it's very good for growing babies. The Amish got this one right.
8 Birthing Twins Is Quite Popular
If you are Amish and gearing up to become pregnant, you better make sure you have two of everything just in case you get hit with the twin big. While any couple can find out that twins are headed their way, twin births are unusually common in the Amish culture.
In fact, the Amish have the highest known incidence of spontaneous twin births of any known population, according to Amishwisdom.com.
Sure genetics have something to do with the phenomenon, but age does as well. Amish mothers birth babies well into their older years, and older mothers have a higher rate of twins as it is. Your chances of getting a two for one deal also increases with the more births you have, and we all know Amish mothers rack up quite a few births in the lifetimes.
7 Women Are Forever Pregnant
Amish women pretty much turn their bodies over to the childbearing process once they get married. In typical American culture wives often discuss the number of children that they intend to have with their husbands. The process of family planning is normally a joint process and once couples hit their desired number of kiddos, they take measures to make sure they don't end up like Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar. Amish wives don't have these conversations or plans regarding their families. They just keep on getting pregnant well into their 40's, since large families are the aim of Amish families. According jamardaresources.com, most Amish mothers will birth an average of seven children in their lifetimes. The more kids they bear, the more hands they have to help out with the back-breaking chores.
6 No Prenatal Care
Amish mommies-to-be aren't huge fans of receiving an overabundance of prenatal care. They do go into modern medical facilities to confirm pregnancies very early on, but other than that they just leave their condition up to nature and the fates.
When pregnant Amish ladies do seek prenatal care, it is typically much later on in their pregnancy.
According to jamardaresources.com, typically late prenatal care is sought out because of possible complications or serious concerns surrounding the pregnancy. Prenatal health care doesn't come cheap and the Amish community tends to rally financially around expectant women and take care of the costs associated with pregnancy in a conglomerate manner. Skipping out on routine check-ups and medical interventions during those nine months helps to keep the costs at a minimum for Amish families and communities.
5 Churches Might Cover The Costs
Having babies is an expensive business. The baby bills start piling up long before the little ones make it into the world too. being preggers can cost a pretty penny, especially if the mother is uninsured. The Amish don't carry commercial insurance like the vast majority of Americans do, so they aren't covered for hospital births the way that many of us are. This is one primary reason that they choose to skip out on prenatal care and hold home births. When a woman does require modern medicine to see her through a trying pregnancy or challenging labor, the community basically foots the bill. According to healthcare-economist.com the Amish insure themselves by having the church cover the costs. We suppose this is one major perk to belonging to such a closed and close-knit community who seems to really care deeply about each law-abiding member.
4 Vaccines Might Not Be Possible
Vaccinations have gotten a bit of a bad rap in certain circles over the past few years. Many anti-vaxxers, including large populations of the Amish, believe that these preventative shots cause a lot more harm than good. According to Amishamerica.com, vaccinations have yet to be widely accepted by the Amish community due to a number of reasons including misunderstandings in their benefits, distrust over safety and certain religious grounds.
Amish mommies don't have much of a choice when it comes to vaccinations.
They are products of a heavily patriarchal community that chooses to leave certain decision up to men and above all their God. It's no wonder the dreaded Measles have come back to bite America in the bum with pockets of anti-vaxxers refusing to trust in modern medicine.
3 No Need For Education
No, you didn't read that wrong, the Amish really do prefer their ladies to be fairly uneducated. According to Amishamerica.com, the Amish don't allow their children to move past an eighth-grade education, which is crazy thinking for many of us to wrap our heads around. These simple folk see a pursuit for higher learning as motivation to leave the community, which of course they don't want. With an eight grade education, these folks won't have much of a chance at making it out there in the big world. Imagine giving birth to your little ones and knowing that they will never go on to be teachers, doctors or scientists. Their futures are pretty much written in the stars at the time of their birth. This is maybe one area of Amish life we wouldn't mind seeing change.
2 How Do They Recover?
On rule that the Amish moms are made to follow that we can totally get down with is their requirement for post-childbirth recovery. According to Amishwisdom.com, the overwhelming majority of new Amish mothers find that they are surrounded with plenty of help as they transition into this new and exciting chapter of their lives.
Both the mother and mother-in-law are probably close by and Amish husbands take good care of their recovering wives.
Older children do their part in helping make the household function properly and new moms even hire young, unwed girls as nannies to assist them in taking care of their newborn child as well as the household duties. According to Healthbeat.com, perhaps this is one of the contributing factors to Amish mothers' lower rates of postpartum depression. I know I wouldn't have minded an Amish maid running my home while I was recovering from labor.
1 It's Like They Aren't Pregnant
Pregnancy is a very taboo topic in the Amish culture. Even though a nine-month pregnant lady is a pretty obvious thing to notice, the Amish don't discuss the blossoming belly. They just carry on like it's just another day and a human isn't about to pop on out of the mother. This lack of excitement over a new baby though isn't a reflection of an Amish mother's thoughts on pregnancy.
According to Amishamerica, Babies are seen as true treasures from God in the Amish community. In fact, this culture sees children as the only "riches" that can be taken with them when they leave this earth. A little morbid yes, but sweet in its own way. These people are simply not flamboyant and tend to hold their cards close to them, hence the glossing over of celebrating pregnancies.