20 Ways Pregnancy Is Different In Russia

Anyone would expect that pregnancy rules, traditions, and beliefs would be different in each country. And, many people in North America are well aware that certain countries around the world such as most of the countries in Asia, South America, and in Africa have their own rules and beliefs when it comes to pregnancy.

For instance, in most places around the world, pregnant moms will not eat sushi due to the concern that raw fish can be a host to bacteria that could have a very negative impact on their unborn babies. And, in Japan, pregnant moms not only have no problem with eating sushi but are expected to because as it is a known fact, low-mercury fish has many important fatty acids that will help with the baby's brain development. And, because, sushi is Japan's specialty, it is prepared in a very safe way.

However, moms in North America may not be aware of the pregnancy rules, traditions, and beliefs that many European countries have. And, they may not be aware that there are many differences. Especially when it comes to pregnancy in Russia. There are plenty of ways that pregnancy different in Russia from how it is in North America. It is time to take a look at 20 of those differences right now.

20 Pregnant Moms Must See A Doctor Within 12 Weeks Of Conception 

Russian pregnancy test

In North America and in many other parts of the world, pregnant moms can decide whether they want to be under the care of their doctor, or their OBGYN, or a midwife. That usually depends more on what their insurance covers than preference, especially in the USA where there is no universal healthcare.

However, according to Russia Beyond, pregnant moms must start getting medical care 12 weeks after they conceived. That is because they have mandatory medical insurance and pregnancy and childbirth are included in it, which means they have a lot of paperwork to fill out. And, they need to schedule in all of their ultrasounds and other tests, as well as decide on a hospital where they want to give birth.

19 Moms Make Money Even While On A Three Year Maternity Leave

mom and toddler

New moms in Russia will be heavily envied by many other moms that live in different counties. Especially in the USA where they only get a 12-week maternity leave that is not even paid. Because, according to Russia Beyond, new moms living in the largest country in the world, not only can they take three years of maternity leave - but they also are paid by their employer while they are on leave. They also have their jobs ready and waiting for them when they are about to return to work!

And, the reason they receive plenty of payment during the time they are on mat leave is that the money that these moms are paid is meant to go towards extra housing expenses for having a new member of the family and their child's education. Russia may be cold throughout most of the year, but it certainly sounds like it has some great perks.

18 Mom Receives Birth Certificate At 30 Weeks

30 weeks pregnant

It has already been mentioned that once the mom is 12 weeks pregnant, she must start getting medical care and that also means that a hospital where she will be delivering must be decided upon. And, according to Russia Beyond, by the time the mom is 30 weeks pregnant, she will receive a birth certificate in order to give birth at the hospital that has been decided for her for free.

However, according to the same source, if she wants to have extra services or if she prefers to give birth in a clinic that is private, then a contract for paid childbirth has to be signed.

17 Pregnant Moms Are Told To Always Sleep On Their Left Side

sleeping on left side

Pregnant moms are told to not to sleep on their backs or their stomachs in general because it is not only uncomfortable but there is a small chance that the baby may not be getting enough oxygen due to mom not being in an ideal position. And, according to Russia Beyond, moms are actually told that they must sleep on their left sides because of the fact that less pressure will end up on mom's internal organs.

And, I personally know that when you have issues with acid reflux as I do, I was told to sleep on my left side as well for that reason alone which has nothing to do with pregnancy. Not in my case anyway since I am not pregnant, but it makes sense since organs such as your liver are on the right.

16 Pregnant Moms Cannot Take Medicine At All


This rule can be quite difficult for pregnant moms in Russia that need to take medication. For instance, what if mom has morning sickness to the point that she needs anti-nausea drugs? Unfortunately, according to Russia Beyond, pregnant moms are not prescribed medication because of the fact that the unborn baby could very well be affected.

In fact, according to the same source, doctors in Russia do not want pregnant moms to even take over-the-counter medicines that are even safe to take during pregnancy. And, they will not even prescribe hand cream in case it is needed. Even though having a baby in Russia has its perks, this rule can be quite challenging in certain situations.

15 Pregnant Moms Are Advised To Give Into Their Cravings

Russian dessert
Russia Beyond

Pregnant moms in most parts of the world are told not to eat certain foods or drink certain beverages because of the fact that they may not be good for the baby. Especially when it comes to anything that is unpasteurized since raw and undercooked food can easily contain bacteria which can be quite risky for the unborn baby.

However, according to Russia Beyond, pregnant moms are told to give in to their small pleasures regardless of they are. The belief is the more diverse menu a pregnant mom has, the better it will be for the child, which can be perplexing to think about since Russia seems to have some strong rules (especially about how pregnant moms are not permitted to take medications)!

14 Pregnant Moms Don’t Give Up Exercise

pregnant mom doing yoga

It is a known fact that exercise during pregnancy is important to keep up because it is not only good for the unborn baby, but it is good for the mom. Exercise helps keep the circulation going, and according to Russia Beyond, pregnant moms are told that they must exercise.

That is a strong recommendation for pregnant moms in North America and in many other parts of the world, but in Russia, this is a rule. That means moms during pregnancy must take up yoga, or take brisk walks, or take prenatal classes. However, according to the same source, prenatal classes can be costly in Russia, so many moms just take a long brisk walk for free.

13 Pregnant Moms Don’t Raise Their Hands Above Their Heads

hands stay down

There are many cultures that hold the belief that if a pregnant mom raises her hands above her head, then she is putting her newborn at risk despite the fact that medical research conducted has shown that this is not possible. However, according to Russia Beyond, this belief is also very strong in Russia. That means pregnant moms are not permitted to raise their hands above their heads.

That means that they will need to rely on their partners or anyone else to reach items that are high up so that they do not put their unborn baby at risk by reaching for the item themselves.

12 The Average Age To Give Birth Is 27 Years Old In Russia

mom and baby

There are plenty of first-time moms that are 27 years old in other countries, and this may not seem like a huge difference between moms in Russia and moms in North America and some other countries that are known to have a western culture. However, according to Russia Beyond, the average age of moms to give birth in that country is 27 years of age.

And, according to Allure, the average age of first-time moms in the USA is 28 whereas, in Canada, the average age that women become moms is 29 according to StatCan. With that said, the difference may not be significant, but it is still an indicator that many moms get a bit of an earlier start embarking their motherhood journey in Russia than they do in North America.

11 Unmarried Moms Face Judgment

married mom

It is a known fact that in many cultures, single moms are not all that well respected because they expect women to be married before bringing kids into the picture. And, according to Cultural Atlas, those in Russia are expected to not get married or pregnant on a whim. They are expected to date and then form a long-term relationship before getting married, and then they are expected to have kids.

However, in many western cultures, the expectations for women having kids only after they are married have watered down because there are many single moms who have never been married in North America. It is now the norm, and this is why this issue is not a major problem in western culture. However, in Russia that is not the case.

10 The New Baby Stays Home For The First Month Only

new baby

You may think that new moms in Russia must keep their babies home for the first month in order to reduce the chances of them getting sick. However, that is not the reason that they need to keep their babies home during the first 40 days. According to Prezi, newborns in Russia must be home only with the mom and no visitors are allowed to visit them even during this time because it is believed that these newborns need space for themselves.

And, they won't be able to get the space they need to grow if mom ends up having visitors or takes them out into public places. However, at the same time, newborns do get fresh air a little each day during that time frame as well since mom will take them for walks in their strollers.

9 There Are No Pregnancy Announcements Until The Bump Shows

pregnancy announcement

Many couples are hesitant to announce their pregnancies until they reach that 12-week mark which is when the risks of anything going wrong do drop quite a bit. However, there is no real rule in many countries of the world, especially in North America about when a pregnancy announcement can be made.

However, according to To Discover Russia, pregnant moms cannot announce their pregnancies until they have a visible bump. Otherwise, they may end up attracting spirits with not so good intentions and they are afraid that these spirits will not disappear and have a negative impact on their unborn baby's lives.

8 Pregnant Moms Don’t Cut Their Hair

hair care

When I was pregnant I remembered getting my hair cut several times because my hair was growing a lot as it can be expected to happen during pregnancy. However, according to To Discover Russia, pregnant moms are not permitted to get their haircut because it is believed it can cause the baby to arrive very early.

That also can make you wonder what these moms in Russia end up doing with their hair to keep it tidy. Because since hair can grow a lot more during pregnancy, it can be more difficult to manage if it gets to be too long.

7 Grandparents Help With Child Rearing

grandparents and baby
Today Show

Because it is in the norm that three generations live in the same home in Russia, then it is not a surprise to learn that the baby's grandparents are heavily involved in their lives. However, the reason that grandparents are strongly involved in their grandchildren's lives does not only have to do with the fact that they are living under the same roof.

According to Russia Beyond, grandparents or babushkas, as they refer to them in Russia, pass their wisdom onto them so their kids become wise during their early years. And, grandparents also take their grandkids to their summer homes which they also refer to their dachas during the summer while their parents are working.

6 Dads Are Not Permitted To Be In The Delivery Room

after delivery

Back in the 1960s and 1970s in North America as well as in other parts of the world is when fathers were allowed in delivery rooms to help support their wives in labor. However, according to Cultural Atlas, the rule of fathers not being permitted in delivery rooms still stands. In fact, they can only reunite with their wives after they have given birth and that is when they meet their newborn babies.

The reason for this is because husbands are not supposed to watch their wives give birth in Russian culture. This is also because fathers are seen as providers and the mothers are meant to be the ones involved in the child-rearing, just like how it was back in the 1950s in most places of the world.

5 No One Can Visit The New Mom In The Hospital For Seven Days


Staying in the hospital after giving birth for seven days is a concept that is quite foreign to most of us in North America unless there are any complications involved. However, according to Russia Beyond, not only are new moms expected to stay in the hospital after giving birth with their newborns for a week, but they also do not want to worry about their babies being around dangerous bacteria. 

That is a legitimate concern because the newborn's immune system is still quite immature and is still developing, but as long as healthy visitors that see someone's newborn wash their hands thoroughly and don't kiss the baby, then it is fine. However, in Russia, it is not viewed as fine and is viewed as too risky regardless of who would be visiting someone's newborn.

4 Mom's Growth Is Carefully Monitored During Pregnancy

pregnancy monitored

You are already aware that pregnant moms in Russia need to have extensive and heavily monitored prenatal care. And, according to Russia Beyond, this also applies to their expansion being strongly monitored. That is because it is a known fact if the expected gain is too quick and out of control, that can lead to many pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.

At the same time, even though pregnant moms are told to give in to their cravings, they do so and realize that moderation is the key. That is a good concept regardless because moderation really is the key for anything in life, not just for giving in to cravings whether they are due to pregnancy or not.

3 Self-Care Is Highly Practiced Among Pregnant And New Moms

self care for mom

This particular concept that is practiced in Russia is a very important one that all pregnant moms and moms of babies and small kids in other parts of the world should follow. And, that is them making sure that they do not neglect their self-care, ever. According to Russia Beyond, self-care goes beyond making sure that pregnant and new moms maintain an excellent appearance.

Even though they always put their babies first, they also do not neglect their own needs which will likely lead to these moms living happier lives. Not to mention, their stress levels are likely less than their North American counterparts because they really take the time to make sure their own needs are met while meeting the needs of their little ones. Additionally, it is quite helpful to them that their parents are helping out with the child-rearing too. That does make a huge difference.

2 Pregnant Moms Must Be Around Only Clean Language

mom and baby

It is a known fact that pregnant moms in most countries such as North America say anything they choose, including words that are not particularly polite - or words that are clearly unclean. However, according to To Discover Russia, pregnant moms must not only use clean language but they must not be around anyone who says words that are not clean.

The reason for this is because they are worried that their babies could end up with birthmarks if any unclean language is used around them. However, many couples during pregnancy do get into heated arguments and will use words that are definitely not polite and clean, and end up having babies that have no birthmarks.

1 Pregnant Moms Cannot Cross Their Legs While Sitting

pregnant woman sitting

It is a known fact that it is never a good idea to sit for a long period of time in uncomfortable positions such as keeping your legs crossed during pregnancy because it can disrupt the blood flow. However, according to To Discover Russia, pregnant moms are told not to sit with their legs crossed because it can increase their chances of having a baby that has legs that are crooked.

And, you can definitely see that just like in many other countries, those living in Russia can be superstitious and have strong beliefs even though medical evidence would suggest anything that they are superstitious about is not problematic like they think.

Sources: rbth.com, Allure.com, 150.statcan.gc.ca, ToDisoverRussia.com, CulturalAtlas.sbs.com.au, Prezi.com

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