20 Unique Ways That Women In Europe Do Pregnancy Differently

Whenever people think of different cultures when it comes to pregnancy, they may have a general notion that pregnancy in Asian and in African countries must be quite different. The reason for that is because many people that live in countries in Asia, Africa, and even in South America have different ways of dealing with certain things.

That said, many would imagine that pregnant moms that live in any of those countries would end up not doing the same things that we would due to superstition and culture. For instance, pregnant moms in China and in many other Asian countries don't raise their arms above their heads. That is to avoid the baby ending up with bad luck, even though the research that has been conducted on that has found that it is perfectly safe for moms to raise their arms above their heads during pregnancy.

And, many would also think that the European culture when it comes to pregnancy is not really all that different from North America, or the Western culture in general. However, the fact of the matter is, moms in Europe do pregnancy differently from moms that are from North America. Let's check out which 20 of those things are!

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20 Pregnancies Last For One Week Longer

Who wants to be told that their pregnancies will be going on for a week longer than they anticipated? That in itself will make the pregnancy feel like it is just going to go on forever. However, according to The Local, in European countries like France, they count 40 weeks and six days from the date of your LMP in order to calculate the estimated due date.

And, according to the same source, in the UK it’s 39 weeks and six days, which is a lot more bearable. That said, pregnancy life is made a little easier in North America, the UK and likely in most other countries in the world because that one week makes a load of a difference.

19 Toxoplasmosis Is Screened On A Regular Basis

cat in box

There is plenty of awareness about the risks of pregnant women contracting toxoplasmosis and that is why they are discouraged from cleaning kitty litter - especially if their cats are outdoor cats. And, that is also why they are told that they must avoid certain foods because it can contain the bacteria.

Toxoplasmosis is a bacteria that can be transmitted from certain sources such as from certain foods and from cat feces that can affect the unborn baby. However, in most places, toxoplasmosis is not tested on a regular basis. But, according to The Local, many European countries such as France do screen pregnant women for toxoplasmosis poisoning on a frequent basis. That is a good thing because the earlier it is detected, the earlier it can be treated, which increased the odds of the unborn baby not being affected if it were to happen.

18 They Don’t Like Surprises

Many people are generally very curious, and that is why many expecting couples want to find out what they are having before the big day. However, there are plenty of people in North America and other parts of the world that are quite content with being surprised on the date of the delivery. That is why they don't want to know what they are having beforehand.

However, according to The Local, most pregnant couples in Europe do not like surprises and must find out what they are having before the big day. Especially in France, however, in England, many expecting couples are not so picky about finding out the gender of the baby like many expecting couples in North America.

17 Pregnancy-Related Questions Are Not Rude

pregnancy questions

Most pregnant women in North America and in many other parts of the world become quite offended if they are asked by strangers if they are pregnant. After all, they could have added some extra pounds over time which had given them the appearance of being an expectant mom. Additionally, they become offended if others ask them if they plan to expand their families any further, or at all. Especially if they are dealing with infertility.

However, according to The Local, in most European countries, especially in France, those types of questions are not considered to be rude. And expectant or non-expectant women will answer those questions honestly, without being offended. And, if they have not expanded their families due to infertility, they will not hesitate to say that as well. That is considered to be part of a normal conversation in most European cultures.

16 Drinking Is Still Acceptable In Most European Countries

Pregnant women in most areas of the world, especially in North America have been taught that drinking is off-limits because there is no safe amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy. And, many pregnant moms panic if they find out that they are pregnant and then a week ago they had a glass of wine!

However, according to The Local, in many European cultures, drinking during pregnancy is not an issue. Now, they don't tell pregnant women to drink every day. However, they find nothing wrong with enjoying a few glasses of wine a week.

And, since for the most part the babies are born healthy, if you had a glass of wine before finding out that you were pregnant, then there is a good chance the unborn baby was not affected. However, alcohol should be totally avoided for the entirety of a pregnancy. 

15 They Have Actual Childbirth Classes That Are Different From Lamaze

childbirth classes

In North America and in many areas of the world, many couples attend Lamaze classes, and these classes are there to help give you tips on how to handle labor pain. They also gloss over infant care, and they take place anywhere such as at local community centers and in churches.

However, according to The Local, these classes are different from what you are used to if you live in North America. These childbirth classes are arranged by a midwife and take place at a local hospital. The classes cover not only pain relief during labor but go over the stages of labor, as well as being aware of potential complications. And, they also teach you how to care for yourself while you care for the baby. In fact, these childbirth classes sound a lot more helpful than the average Lamaze class.

14 They Stop Working Six Weeks Before Due Date

pregnancy and work

Maternity leave laws are different in different parts of the world, and many women work up to their due date. And, many pregnant women voluntarily take time off a few weeks before they deliver in order to plan for the baby's arrival, and they need to take time off so they find comfort. It is difficult to stand or even sit for long periods of times during the end of the third trimester.

In Europe, the beliefs about working during your pregnancy are different.

According to The Local, many European pregnant women are encouraged to take six weeks off before their due dates in order to rest and plan for their baby's arrival. After hearing that, you probably wish you would be able to live in Europe because that is one huge perk that many pregnant women in other areas of the world don't get!

13 Group B Tests Are Standard Earlier On In The Pregnancy

Many pregnant women are aware of the Group B streptococcus bacteria which does not cause symptoms. That means no one knows that they carry it. And, if it is passed onto their babies, then they could end up ending up with an infection. However, there are also many pregnant women that have not heard of it because they were not informed, depending on where they live.

However, according to The Local, as soon as a pregnant woman enters her eighth month, she is tested for Group B strep through a swab, as it is just like getting a pap. If the test is positive, then she is given antibiotics so that the bacteria is eliminated and is no longer an issue for the baby. This test is available in Canada as well, but pregnant women are tested later than they are in Europe.

12 Community Midwives Arrange Appointments

midwife makes appointment

If you are under the care of an OBGYN during your pregnancy, then you are the one that is expected to make the appointments for your prenatal care. You are the one that is responsible for making sure you go to your appointments on time, and if you need to cancel, you need to let the OBGYN know right away.

However, according to Expatica, you are not the one who is responsible for making your prenatal appointments if you are a pregnant woman living in Europe. The community midwife at the hospital is the one who arranges your prenatal appointments, blood work, ultrasounds, and other forms of screening. They are the ones who take care of the appointment setting for you. All you have to do is show up.

11 Maternity Leave Is For 16 Weeks

maternity leave

Maternity leave laws are different in different areas of the world. In the USA, maternity leave is not generous at all as you are only entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. In Canada, you are entitled up to 15 weeks of paid leave, but you are also entitled up to 18 months where your job will be secured.

However, according to Expatica, standard maternity leave is for 16 weeks in most European countries, and if you have twins, it is 18 weeks. And, if you have triplets, you are entitled to 20 weeks of maternity leave. That said, if you live in Europe, you are given more time to bond with your baby than in the US before having to go back to work.

10 Physiotherapists Are Used


In most areas of the world, pregnant women either are under the care of an OBGYN, a midwife, or their doctor. And, unless there are complications, they rarely need any other types of care. However, according to TheVillage, European pregnant women are under the care of either a midwife or an OBGYN along with a physiotherapist.

Physiotherapists play a large role during pregnancy in Europe, especially in countries like Belgium. They assist pregnant women during the end of the pregnancy to help prepare them for labor. Many times, they help them during labor. And, they also play an important role in helping new moms recover during their postpartum period. The care they receive from a physiotherapist would help them get back their strength quickly.

9 Doulas Are Used More Often Than Not


There are many pregnant women in North America that use doulas, however, it is up to any expectant mom whether or not she wants to hire one to help her get through labor and delivery. That said, in North America, doulas definitely exist but are optional.

However, according to The Village, in Europe, doulas are not only extremely popular but are highly encouraged to help pregnant women during their pregnancies, during labor, and during their postpartum periods. Even though they cannot offer medical advice that is only given by the midwife or OBGYN, they offer expectant moms extra support that they will need to get through a pregnancy, even if the pregnancy is easy.

8 Rules For Watching Your FigureAre Different In Each Country

In North America, pregnant women are advised to gain anywhere between 25 to 35 lbs, depending on their pre-pregnancy size. For multiples, the expectations of the amount gained are going to be a lot higher.

However, according to Mind Body Green, the attitudes towards gain during pregnancy in Europe vary. In Italy, it is expected that pregnant women only gain 20 lbs during their entire pregnancy.

And, in Holland, expectant moms do not have their size monitored during their prenatal appointments at all. That said, gaining during pregnancy is not even a concern in the Dutch culture. They are not concerned if a pregnant woman does not gain enough or if she gains too much.

7 Birthing Centers Are Very Common And Preferred

birthing center

Most of the time, whenever you hear of any mom give birth, she is either delivering the baby at the local hospital or at home with the help of a midwife. Birthing centers are somewhat common in North America.

However, according to Mind Body Green, the majority of European pregnant women prefer to give birth at a birthing center instead of at their home or the hospital. They want to give birth in a setting that is very homelike, that is equipped with professionals that can monitor them during the entire childbirth process. It is difficult to say if birthing centers will become more popular in other parts of the world, but they are hot in Europe and have been for a while.

6 Glucose Screening Test Is Not Usually Done

glucose test

The one thing about going to a prenatal appointment in the latter part of the second trimester is that you have to prepare yourself to go through something very unpleasant, which is the glucose tolerance test. This way, you will know whether or not your blood sugar levels are healthy during your pregnancy, and that you are not at risk of developing gestational diabetes.

According to Mind Body Green, if you are pregnant in any European country, you will not be expected to undergo the glucose tolerance test unless your blood sugar levels are concerning, to begin with.

5 You Cannot Choose Just Any Elective C-Section Dates

due date

If you know you are going to have a C-section and you want to choose the birthdate of your baby, then most of the time you can choose any day you wish unless it is a statutory holiday. And the reason for that is because, on statutory holidays, you have the B-rated staff on duty which will not likely provide you with the best care.

However, according to Body Mind Green, if you want to choose a date for a C-section, you are not at liberty to choose any day you wish due to strong European superstitions. For instance, in Italy, if you are expecting in November, they will not allow you to choose November 2nd to deliver because that is The Day Of The Dead, which is the worst day to bring a life into the world.

4 Prenatal Yoga Is A Way Of Life

prenatal yoga

Pregnant moms in North America and in other parts of the world are highly encouraged to do some prenatal exercises because it is good for the mom and the baby. It helps keep the circulation going. However, according to Mind Body Green, in Europe, pregnant moms are not only encouraged to exercise, but they are told to incorporate prenatal yoga into their lives.

Prenatal yoga has many benefits that will increase the chances of you staying in excellent health, and it also is good for the unborn baby. In fact, if a pregnant woman in Europe does not participate in prenatal yoga, that is the exception and not the rule. And, if she is having a very difficult pregnancy, then it would not be expected or even encouraged. However, if there are no complications, then it is a way of life.

3 A Minimalist Approach Is Taken For Buying Baby Items


In North America, pregnant moms are adding plenty of baby products to their gift registries. They want to make sure that they not only have all of the clothing ready for the baby which is necessary, but they want to add plenty of toys to the mix too.

However, according to Nordlife, in Europe, a minimalist approach is used when it comes to purchasing baby items, especially in Scandinavian and in Nordic countries like Finland. All these moms want is to make sure that they have clothing, diapers, blankets, and a crib mattress. And, if there are baby toys in the picture, then there are only a few in order to help with the baby's growth. You will not likely find toys strewn all over many European households, especially in Northern Europe.

2 Midwifery In Europe Is Highly Encouraged


In North America, many pregnant moms decide to be under the care of an OBGYN, especially in Canada. Many moms in the US prefer to be under the care of an OBGYN as well, but many choose to not go that route and decide to be under the care of a midwife due to their insurance policies.

However, according to Nordlife, most European pregnant moms are highly encouraged to be under the care of a midwife, especially in the Scandinavian countries. Even though they have the option of being cared for by their doctors, midwifery care is more common. Additionally, they can deliver healthy babies, and care for the mom during her postpartum period to make sure that she is in optimal health.

1 They Are Calm!

Staying calm during pregnancy is incredibly important. If you are not calm, then that means your cortisol levels will increase which is the stress hormone, and that can potentially cause complications. And, when you are pregnant in a fast-paced environment, that in itself will increase the stress levels. Unfortunately, that is what pregnancy in North America is all about. And, it is up to the mom to practice meditation and relaxation techniques.

And, according to Nordlife, European moms are calmer and are highly encouraged to bring calmness in their life. They are given tips and techniques to not allow any fast-paced environment have an influence on them. They also do many exercises that will help bring them calmness and relaxation during their pregnancies.

Sources: TheLocal.fr, Expatica.com, TheVillage.be, MindBodyGreen.com, Nordlife.com.au

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