Growing a living being inside of you for nine months, enduring painful labor, and pushing all the way through to delivery is no small feat. Over the years humankind has come up with inventive new ways to celebrate the development of life as well as interesting rituals for after a baby's birth.
Scrolling along you will learn all about lotus births, male "pregnancy," gender reveal parties, and more. You're sure to view pregnancy in a new light after reading some of these unusual trends and customs!
Babymoons Are Growing In Popularity
We've all heard of honeymoons, but what's a babymoon? A new trend taking the pregnancy process by storm these days is having a babymoon, a getaway with your partner before the baby arrives and sleep is no longer an option.
It's probably the last "real" vacation many new parents will be able to take in years, so who can really blame them? Vanessa Lachey, pictured above, got to go to St. Lucia with her husband Nick Lachey for her babymoon.
Push It Real Good
Getting a "push present" is a particularly lavish gift-giving trend popular with celebrities and common folk alike. As if creating brand new life wasn't enough of a gift, push presents are given by the non-pregnant parent to their partner after they have given birth.
Marc Anthony, for example, gave J-Lo a $300,000 canary yellow diamond for delivering their twins. Kylie Jenner got a Ferrari from Travis Scott after giving birth to daughter Stormi. Ah, the miracle of life.
Lotus Births Date Back To Medieval Times
Despite what the name might imply, a "lotus birth" has nothing to do with the aquatic water lily. Parents who opt for a lotus birth forgo the usual snipping of the umbilical cord when the baby is born and instead wait for it to break naturally from the placenta.
The argument behind this is that lotus births ease the transition to life outside the womb. Many parents who go this route end up carrying the placenta around in a bag or bowl until the break happens. Although lotus births were recorded as far back as Medieval times, they have grown in popularity again in the past few years.
Pink Or Blue?
If you thought baby showers were the only party expectant parents get before the baby is born, think again. Gender reveal parties are the big new thing and have been gaining popularity over the past several years.
Instead of a good old-fashioned visit to the doctor where an ultrasound reveals the gender, some modern couples opt to keep it a secret between their doctor and their party planner. To find out the gender, couples will cut open a cake with pink or blue frosting or pop a balloon that has pink or blue confetti inside, depending on the gender. Everyone has their own creative "reveals."
French Babies Were Once Bathed In Wine
In France during the 1700s, royals who gave birth were given VIP treatment. As soon as a pregnant woman began experiencing labor pains, she would be escorted to a special birthing couch. There, she had access to a variety of 18th-century remedies to comfort her, including sneezing powder which was said to aid in labor.
The doctor and midwives cleansed their hands with almond oil and powdered the newborn's umbilical cord after birth. Then, the cord was cut and the baby was washed with red wine, oil, and roses. We're not sure we can see this trend taking off today!
Belly Casts Are A Big Thing Now
In their third trimester, many women do some arts and crafts by covering their pregnant bellies in plaster to have as a keepsake of their pregnancy. Some women include their arms and breasts in the sculpture, then decorate and hang it as art later on.
To make a pregnancy cast, women lather up their abdomen with Vaseline and add strips of wet plaster gauze on top. The plaster sets in 20-30 minutes and is removed from the body and hung to dry for 24 to 48 hours, and viola! You now have a memento of how big your belly used to be.
Live Tweeting Has Taken Off
Of course, social media does not go unused during modern pregnancy. Every month is documented on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram from conception to birth, but you know what else is increasingly being put on social media? Live births.
Yes, there are people out there who live-tweet their births. One Twitter employee live-tweeted her labor from the moment her water broke and got the hashtag #inlabor trending. And celebs have gotten involved, too, like Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Fields.
The Empathy Belly
The "empathy belly" is a specially-designed weighted vest that mimics the size, shape, and some of the struggles women go through during pregnancy. The wearer gets a realistic sense of what it feels like to be pregnant: what it's like to suddenly gain 30 lbs, feel pressure on your bladder and internal organs, and gain a slew of new back problems, just to name a few.
With an empathy belly, people get to live a day in a pregnant woman's shoes. (Or lack thereof, given that pregnant women's feet swell so much that a closed-toe shoe is nearly impossible to wear anymore!)
The Way of the Future: 3D Prenatal Ultrasounds
If you have money to spare you can ditch the traditional ultrasound picture you have hanging on your fridge and get a 3D prenatal ultrasound instead.
With this pricier method, an MRI scan is done of the mother's womb through 3D imaging software. You can even take it up a step and opt for a 4D ultrasound. This uses the same technology as with 3D but has the added element of motion.
Inventive Names Are Becoming The New Norm
Baby names are getting weirder--um, more interesting--by the day. From cardinal directions (Kim K's daughter North West) to cities (Chicago), and from Game of Thrones characters to adjectives, there are apparently no rules when it comes to naming your child.
Over 700,000 parents shared the names of their children who were born in 2017 with Babycenter.com. Unusual names that were given to at least three children that year include Balthazar, Dove, Quill, Zephyr, Misty, and Lion, just to name a few. Rhaegar, as in Rhaegar Targaryen from Game of Thrones, is on that list too.
Pregnant Dad Photoshoots
One of the funniest trends to date is where dads-to-be do photoshoots of themselves sticking their beer bellies out to look like they are the pregnant ones. It is a comical but creepy new practice sweeping the social media-verse.
During a "we're pregnant!" photoshoot with a professional photographer, pregnant women's partners take the opportunity to flaunt their dad bods in solidarity with their wive's big baby-growing stomachs. If only actual pregnancy were so easy!
England Has Special Rules For Its Pregnant Royals
Though this one only applies to members of the British Royal Family, it's still pretty wild. Some of the rules include no baby showers, no traveling for the entire nine months, and no open-toed footwear.
As you might know, Meghan Markle and husband Prince Harry departed from several royal traditions during her pregnancy, including calling the baby the offbeat "Archie" rather than naming him after a relative or ancestor.
Eating The Placenta
Proponents of this pregnancy trend (called placentophagy) think it might help with postpartum depression and improve lactation. Some opt to freeze it for later consumption, but there is reason to believe there are more risks than benefits to placentophagy.
In 2017, the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology published a study warning of the dangers eating the placenta poses to newborns and mothers. The risks include viral and bacterial infections via breastmilk. People who do opt to eat their placenta frequently cook it into a meal or use it in a smoothie.
According to a study conducted in 2007, men can feel "sympathy pains" for their partners going through pregnancy. Through sympathy pains, fathers-to-be can experience pregnancy symptoms like cramps, irritability, morning sickness, back pain, food cravings, depression, and toothache, among others.
There's a name for this odd hormonal phenomenon: Couvade Syndrome. Perhaps Prince Harry is sharing the same soup craving as his pregnant wife Meghan in this photo? Parenting is all about teamwork, after all!
The Full-Faced Makeup Routine
The rise of social media is undoubtedly the central reason around this trend. Some women prepare their hospital bags with everything they have in their makeup arsenal so that they can put their faces on before giving birth. This way they look Instagram-ready even tough they were just sweating, screaming, and ugly-crying during delivery.
Despite having to sit through horribly painful contractions until push time, these women are committed to fighting it in order to get the perfect contour or winged eyeliner.
"Free" Births Are Completely Unassisted
Some people want to go through birth without any medical assistance. No doctors, no midwives, and no epidurals. This is what's called a "free birth." Not a single medical professional is present during an unassisted birth.
The unassisted childbirth movement is controversial. Several national medical societies and professionals, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Royal College of Midwives, have warned the public of its dangers and advise against the practice.
Pregnancy Test Pics
Nothing says "I'm pregnant!" to the world like a picture of something you just peed on. Many couples try to think of a clever or cute way to announce their pregnancy on social media, but some of them opt to post a picture of a positive pregnancy test.
Though this gets the message across, a standard "we're expecting!" post still suffices for others. Their argument is that no one posts pictures of their dog's stool sample to announce that they're parasite-free, so why share your urine-soaked stick? To each their own, we suppose.
Improved Care For Mothers And Babies In Some Areas
In a few advanced parts of the world, governments have put a focus on improving the care that new mothers and their babies receive. Canada, for instance, has universal health care. There, a government program in Quebec sends a baby nurse home with the family to check in on the new mom every couple of days for the first few weeks.
After giving birth, new moms get the nurse to help with breastfeeding, weigh the baby, and answer any questions that help with getting the baby and its new family on the right foot to keep it happy and healthy.
Headphones... For Your Belly
They're called "BellyBuds" and they look like earbuds with suction cups for speakers because they are. These specially-designed buds can play music and voices through the womb (a baby in the womb can hear as early as 20 weeks).
The product has an audio splitter so you can listen to what your baby is hearing whether it's Metallica, Mozart, or a recording of your own voice. Be sure to carefully curate a playlist that's fetus-appropriate!
Puppers And Doggos > Babies
A new trend developing in recent years with the new generation of young adults is forgoing pregnancy entirely. Data in 2014 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that a drop in the number of babies born to women ages 15 to 29 corresponds with an increase in the number of dogs owned by young women in the U.S.
Many women are just as happy and fulfilled with a baby that has four legs and is covered in fur as women who have human babies. With pets rising so much in popularity, that means there are better chances at clearing the shelters!