Philippine Culture and Pregnant Women

Canatty asks about pregnant women in the Philippines, and here are answers to those questions. Again, I invite my fellow Pinoys to email your experiences about this topic.

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1. The status of pregnant women in the Philippines.

Pregnant women are treated like goddesses. Drivers who usually zoom through pedestrian lanes tend to stop if they see a pregnant pedestrian. Pregnant women are sometimes thought of as fragile, and need every support we can offer. This assumes that the pregnancy is a "proper" one. Otherwise, you'll meet highly unsupportive folks.

2. The way various members of Filipino society treat pregnant women.

Professional: "Oops, why didn't you tell me you were pregnant? I would have gladly set our meeting at YOUR office instead of at OUR office. I feel so guilty about you having to drive all the way here..."

Parents (if pregnancy is within the bounds of marriage): "Do you need anything? Here's this... and that..." (while smiling supportively)

Parents (if pregnancy is outside the bounds of marriage): "Harrumph!"

Guy responsible for the pregnancy (if within the bounds of marriage): "I'll do anything for you..."

Guy responsible for the pregnancy (if unwanted): "Take care of it yourself..." (NOTE: This is not a blanket description; some guys will not act like the jerks we usually are.)

Others, Friends, Classmates -- usually supportive.

3. How teenagers who are or get pregnant are treated.

Teeners get support once their parents get over the shock of the early pregnancy. Sometimes, parents don't get over it, so some teenagers turn to support groups like Homes for single mothers-to-be.

4. The availability of medical care for pregnant women.

It depends on the support group of the pregnant woman. Consultations with OB-GYNs can go from P100 to P300 per visit.

5. Interesting little known facts about pregnant women in the Philippines. Any bizarre or unusual rites of passage involving pregnant women in the Philippines.

Pregnant women are asked not to tie anything around their waist, lest their child get strangled by the umbilical cord.

Pregnant women whom people think will bear a girl get greeted with: "Oh! You're soooo pretty! I bet you're going to have a girl!"

Those whom people think will bear a boy get the usual greeting: "When is the baby coming?" (while the person asking surreptitiously stares at the woman's large nose and dark neck lines.)

PAGLILIHI - Pregnant women are allowed to demand for any strange request for food (i.e., seedless mango), and the husband is expected to fulfill such demands.

If a pregnant women steps over her sleeping husband, she'll be able to pass her morning sickness to him.

That's it for now. Again, I invite fellow Pinoys to email me your experiences about this topic. Thanks!

[ First posted on 11/11/2002 by Manuel Viloria ]

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