20 Major Cultural Differences Between Pregnancy In The US And Canada

Whenever an individual that does not live in North America thinks about the fact that the USA and Canada are different countries, they may not know that there are any real differences in the culture.

The only thing they may realize is that in Canada, two official languages are spoken which is French and English, and in the USA, English is the official language. Spanish is also spoken in many areas of the USA.

Additionally, they may also realize that the two countries are different considering that Canada as a Prime Minister running the country, and the USA has a President instead. However, other than that, they may not be aware that there are other cultural differences between the USA and Canada.

People from Canada or the US may not realize how different both countries really are as well in regards to their culture. The differences can be quite surprising to some people if they weren't aware of it in the first place. And, you will also see how different both cultures are when it comes to pregnancy and maternity care in both countries.

Let's find out what those major cultural differences are when it comes to being pregnant in Canada and the USA right now.

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20 Maternity Leave Policies Are Vastly Different

Working moms in Canada that have just given birth have one huge advantage over moms from the US that just delivered their bundles. According to The Globe And Mail, working women in Canada are entitled to have between 17 and 52 weeks of leave from their jobs and will be able to return to work once they are ready. Dads can also take up to 35 weeks of leave as well if they choose.Their counterparts in the US are only allowed to have 12 weeks of unpaid leave, which makes them envious of moms in Canada for obvious reasons.

This is why many moms would have loved to live in Canada for this reason alone.

19 There Are Huge Differences With Healthcare

If it is not rough enough for working moms in the US for not having much time to bond with their babies based on the fact that they can only be on maternity leave- unpaid for 12 weeks, they also have to face having costly medical appointments and procedures.

According to The Guardian, families in the US need to have good-quality health insurance to not have to spend an arm and a leg to cover their doctor appointments, and their hospital stays after giving birth. In Canada, the health care costs are covered so moms in Canada do not have to pay for their doctor appointments or their hospital stays.

The only thing that moms in Canada will have to pay for is if they choose to have a private hospital room unless their health insurance covers it. The higher taxes that people in Canada do pay do cover health care, so it's not entirely free.

18 The USA Has Higher Birth Rate Than Canada

The one thing that most people would figure out is that the birth rate in the USA is higher than the birth rate in Canada, and it largely has to do with the fact that there are simply more people in the USA than in Canada.

According to Fair Valley Dental, 13.8 babies per 1000 people are born in the USA, while Canada has 10.3 babies per 1000 people. That said, the USA has over a 25 percent birth rate than Canada. However, that may soon change considering that more and more immigrants are moving to Canada. My bet is in the next decade or so, those figures will change drastically.

17 New Moms Are Generally Older In Canada Than New Moms In The US

older mom
Via: Peps.org

Do you remember how it was mentioned that in Canada, higher education is emphasized more than it is in the USA? That also shows by the fact that overall, first-time moms in Canada are older than their counterparts in the US.

According to The PEW Research Center, as of 2010, it was found that over 52 babies born were born per 1,000 women ages 35 to 39. And, there were 46 babies born per 1,000 women ages 20 to 24 in Canada. Those figures have not changed since, and now women over 40 are starting their families.

In the USA, the majority of first time moms are still under 30 years of age. In time, that could change.

16 Working Mom-To-Be In Canada Gets More Breaks Than Those In The USA

pregnant at work
Via: Moneyish.com

There is another reason that expectant moms in the US that are working are envious of working pregnant moms in Canada. According to This Is Insider, moms in Canada, in general, are given more breaks and vacation time at work than their southern counterparts.

That means pregnant moms in Canada are able to take more breaks during work to rest if they must. And if they are dealing with rough morning sickness or extreme fatigue, they can take more sick days than their counterparts in the US. Now, some employers may be generous as far as that goes- but that is the exception and not the rule when it comes to working in the USA.

15 Moms-To-Be In The US Do More Online Shopping

online shopping
Via: pregnancyandbaby.com

You would think that with the evolving technology that everyone would be shopping online at the same rate regardless of where they live. However, according to This Is Insider, people in the US do a lot more online shopping than people in Canada. The same source indicates that e-commerce makes up over seven percent of sales in the US, where it only makes up just over four percent of sales in Canada.

That said, you will see more moms-to-be in the US taking advantage of online registries and shopping for their new babies online. In fact, many moms in Canada will physically go to department or baby stores to set up a registry. Not to mention, their baby shower guests will have physically bought their gifts as well.

14 Moms-To-Be In Canada Think Ahead About Education

Baby preschool grad wearing cap and gown holding hands with mom and dad.


Every parent wants their child to receive the best education regardless of where they live. However, according to This Is Insider, people in Canada focus more on education than people in the US. That said, it is more common for pregnant moms in Canada to start making plans to invest in their future child's education than moms in the US.

In fact, according to the same source, Canada has the largest percentage of adults going to post-secondary schools to keep advancing their learning. In fact, the highest percentage of women with a college education is in Canada. That said, moms in Canada are more likely to plan for the baby's education than moms in the US only because Canada really does put more emphasis on a higher education.

13 Metric Vs. Imperial

One huge difference between America and Canada is that in Canada they use the metric system for measurement whereas people in the US use the Imperial system. Canada did use the Imperial system decades ago until metric took over, according to This Is Insider.

The only time when the metric system is used in the US is when moms are in labor and go by how far dilated they are. They don't use inches for that. However, doctors will be telling these moms-to-be how many pounds they had gained. In Canada, moms-to-be will be told how much they have gained in kilograms which in itself is a huge cultural difference.

12 The USA Has Dunkin' Donuts And Canada Has Tim Horton’s To Satisfy Cravings

Expectant moms in America and Canada will most definitely get hit with the same level of cravings, depending on how their pregnancies are going. There is no difference there. However, the places where they go to satisfy their cravings will be quite different.

According to This Is Insider, if people in Canada want a donut or fast food in general, then they will go to Tim Hortons since that place really does represent Canada. For women in America that want the same thing, they will have to go to Dunkin' Donuts or even Starbucks. Starbucks is also available in Canada, and in the US there are some Tim Horton's franchises, but it is not the same as how it is in Canada.

So you will likely hear moms-to-be in Canada talking about having their cravings satisfied by going to their local Tim Horton's. And, their counterparts in America will be going to Dunkin' Donuts to do the same. That in itself is how you know whether mom is from Canada or America.

11 Moms-To-Be In Canada Can Indulge In A Craving For Poutine Chips

poutine chips
Via: twitter.com/Agent_Gray/status/617789318992531457/photo/1

If you hear a mom online that is expecting to have her bundle of joy very soon talk about how she satisfied her craving for poutine potato chips- then she is definitely from Canada.

According to Bustle, even though it is a known fact that poutine is loved in Canada, mostly Quebec- which is French fries that are covered in gravy and cheese curds, Ruffles took it a step further and created poutine flavored potato chips.

This is not available in the USA, and moms that have a craving for this type of chips will not easily be able to get it- unless she lived near the US-Canada border. That said, you will never hear of a mom-to-be in the US say that she has a craving for poutine because not many people even know what it is!

10 Moms-To-Be in Canada Can Indulge In A Maple Syrup Craving Without Spending Much Money

People in the US do not have the luxury of enjoying authentic maple syrup as people in Canada. According to Bustle, real maple syrup is a delicacy that is expensive and only used for special occasions. However, people in Canada can enjoy as much authentic maple syrup as they want and not have to spend an arm and leg for it. That is because maple syrup is made in Canada.

That said, one craving that many pregnant moms in Canada may have is maple syrup and can enjoy getting the real stuff. Their US counterparts will not have as easy of a time getting real maple syrup. At best, they will have to indulge their sweet craving by using manufactured maple syrup which is not nearly as good. That said, pregnant moms in the US are not going to truly get their maple syrup fix as easily as those in Canada!

9 Moms-To-Be In Canada Will Not Put Pennies In Their Kids’ Future Piggy Banks

Pregnant moms in the US and Canada will do many of the same things when it comes preparing the arrival of their new bundles. That is by setting up a piggy bank for the baby. However, moms in the US may be collecting pennies to throw in their future kids' piggy banks. Moms in Canada will not be doing that.

According to Narcity, in 2013, Canada got rid of the penny because it was seen as worthless. So Canadian pennies no longer exist unless they are old. But they are not usable, and moms in Canada will be putting nickels, dimes, quarters, and loonies and toonies if they are well-off. Loonies and toonies are one and two Canadian dollars in a coin form that Americans don't have either.

8 Many Moms In The US Use Midwives Whereas Moms Use More OBGYNs In Canada

Via: babycentre.ca

Being pregnant in the USA is not cheap, especially for women who do not have health insurance. However, because health care in Canada is covered, being pregnant in Canada is not nearly as costly. That is why, according to The Daily Beast, more pregnant women in the US are using midwives than OBGYNs.

And yet, in Canada, pregnant women go to their OBGYNs more than they use midwives. The only issue that pregnant women in Canada find is that wait lists for getting an appointment with a OBGYN can be a bit long. And in that case, their doctors can just monitor them until they get a spot.

7 Moms-To-Be Are Generally More Health Conscious In Canada

health conscious
Via: mumsgrapevine.com.au

There have been numerous reports stating that Canada is generally more health-conscious than many other countries in the world, which include the USA. And, I have noticed it myself as a Canadian while traveling in the USA as well. The evidence is that most of the restaurants I visited in the USA do not have the caloric values on their menus unless the restaurant is part of a chain.

In Canada, most restaurants to provide caloric values on their menus regardless of how large or small they are. The same applies when it comes to expecting moms. According to Body And Health, more pregnant women in Canada are careful with how much they gain than their counterparts in the US. According to the same source, no more than 300 to 400 extra calories are needed in the second and third trimesters, and that is hardly eating for two. Canada tends to emphasize on that fact more than the USA does.

6 Ketchup Chips Is A Common Mom-To-Be Craving In Canada

ketchup chips
Via: thetakeout.com

If you hear a pregnant mom announce that she has a sudden craving for ketchup chips, then there is a good chance that she is from Canada. Now, some of their counterparts in the US may have a similar craving, but in their case, they will likely dip regular potato chips in ketchup. That is not how it is done in Canada.

According to The Odyssey Online, the best ketchup chips are only available in Canada and were established by Lays. And even though Pennsylvania has been making ketchup-flavored chips since the 1980's, they cannot be compared to the Lays brand in Canada. So that said, pregnant moms in Canada that are craving ketchup chips literally can go to their local convenience store to get some.

5 Moms-To-Be In The US Will Be More Likely To Crave Buffalo Wings

Buffalo wings
Via: barstoolsports.com

Whereas pregnant moms in Canada can easily fulfill their cravings by going to their local supermarket by getting themselves authentic maple syrup and ketchup chips, their counterparts in the US may have different cravings altogether. One of those cravings is for the best Buffalo wings.

According to The Odyssey Online, Buffalo wings can be found in restaurants across Canada, but they are not the same as those found in the USA. The Buffalo wings in the USA are one of the things that America is known for. And, it is heavily part of the US culture. That said, that is where the Buffalo wings had originated from. That does not mean that pregnant moms in Canada won't crave that food and that also does not mean that she can't get it in Canada either. However, it won't measure up to the real thing where it was originally established.

4 Moms-To-Be Will Buy Milk In Bags In Canada

bagged milk
Via: Mentalfloss.com

Expectant moms in Canada and the US have been told that it is important to consume dairy because their growing babies need that calcium for their bone-development. And, for pregnant moms that don't have a problem with drinking milk can get their calcium needs through that.

However, according to The Odyssey Online, the way milk is packaged in the US and Canada are quite different. Cartoned milk is seen in Canada and the USA, but only in Canada will you find milk in bags. That said, for pregnant moms in Canada that go grocery shopping will bring home bagged milk, whereas, in the USA, that is a foreign concept. Not to mention, people in the US may think that having bagged milk is suspicious. However, the milk is perfectly fine in bags.

3 Pregnant Women In Canada Only Buy Items That Provide Value

shopping list

If you were to look at a pregnant moms' shopping lists in Canada and the US, you will see that many of the products they purchase for themselves and their developing bundles will have differences. Yes, all of them will purchase maternity wear, sleepers for the baby, newborn diapers if they are really near the end, and stuff like that.

However, according to Buxton, people in Canada are more likely to purchase items that have value or less money than people in the US. That means what you will find on an expectant mom's shopping list in Canada are items that are functional but basic. And, the shopping lists created by expectant moms in the US will have items that are full of bells and whistles and are more costly. This does not mean people in the US are necessarily more wasteful, but it all boils down to the difference in the culture.

2 Pregnant Moms In Canada Are Generally More Comfortable Due To Colder Weather

One fact about Canada that is known from all of the countries around the world is that it is just a lot colder than the USA. The northern parts of the USA have a similar climate to Canada, but the majority of the country has much warmer winters. 

As MacLeans says it, the majority of people in Canada embrace winter because it is just part of everyday life. That means that pregnant moms have one advantage over their counterparts in the US who live in the mid and southern part of the USA. They will be extremely comfortable during the winter because pregnancy just makes you sweat! Meanwhile, expectant moms in the US will be sweltering all year round unless they live in the northern part of the country.

And that said, even those sweltering pregnant moms would think it is odd to not wear a winter coat when the weather is frigid. But, that is something that moms-to-be in Canada do, and they embrace the cold because it provides them so much comfort.

1 'Labor' Is Spelled Differently

Via: Mumcentre.com.sg

If you are a mom-to-be in the United States and you notice that expectant moms from Canada on pregnancy forums are spelling labor as labour, they definitely know how to spell. However, they just spell certain words differently and spell words the same way as those in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand- according to Fair Valley Dental.

Other words that they will spell differently are flavour, favourite, and colour. That also means that if an expectant mom in Canada complains about the flavour of the drink that they must need to perform the glucose tolerance test on a Facebook forum, she is spelling the word the correct way. The way people in Canada and the US spell many words are most definitely quite different based on the cultural differences.

Sources: TheGlobeAndMail.com, TheGuardian.com, ValleyfairDental.com, ThisIsInsider.com, Bustle.com, Narcity.com, TheDailyBeast.com, PEWReasearchCenter.com, BodyAndHealth.com, TheOdysseyonline.com, Buxtonco.com, Macleans.ca

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