There are many traditions that are important to pregnant Arab women. Ranging from eating certain foods to saying additional daily prayers, these traditions are designed to ensure good health. Although some traditions owe to Arabic cultural traditions, most practices are derived from Islam, since the majority of Arab women practice this religion.
In addition to the daily prayers most Muslims say, pregnant Arab women recite additional prayers in the early morning hours. There are also many duas, or prayers, that Arabic women read aloud. These prayers are said to achieve a healthy pregnancy and to prevent miscarriage. Aside from prayers, it is also a common tradition for pregnant Arab women to read aloud the entire Quran during their pregnancy.
For each month of an Arabic woman's pregnancy, different traditions are performed. For example, during the first weeks of pregnancy, a woman is encouraged to say certain prayers each day while blowing on her stomach, to eat a pomegranate every Friday at breakfast and place her hands on her stomach while reciting her regular daily prayers. During the ninth month of pregnancy, women are supposed to refrain from eating any foods with spice, eat dates frequently, sacrifice a goat and recite specific prayers.
For most Arab women, it is customary for only female doctors, nurses and midwives to assist with prenatal care, and to be present during labor and delivery. Although there is no explicit cultural or religious rule against male doctors, female medical professionals are preferred; however, some Arab women do choose male doctors during their pregnancy. In addition, it is very common for only female family members to be present for the birth of a child. In fact, in state-run hospitals, male family members are not allowed into the labor and delivery area.
Ramadan is a month-long Islamic period of observance that many Arabs celebrate. However, since Ramadan requires fasting from sunrise to sunset, in order not to shirk their nutritional needs, many pregnant Arab women do not fast. These women can also chose to make up the period of fasting after the birth of their child.
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