Japan and Sweden have some of the lowest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world, and yet, their cultural practices and behaviors vary widely between the countries. While both nations encourage mothers to stay at home with their families after giving birth, there seems to be a lack of choice for mothers in Japan compared to Sweden. As Ugochi mentioned in her presentation, only 3% of mothers take pain relieving medications and are told that it is not appropriate to scream out during labor. I feel like telling mothers that they have little choice in reliving their pain, whether through medication or screaming, is not a healthy cultural behavior. While it seems that Japan is beginning to incorporate more paternal involvement in the birth process, their inclusion of fathers doesn’t seem to compare to the Swedish model.
How then are both countries so successful in maternal outcomes when their practices seem to vary widely? Do you think encouraging mothers to not take any pain reliving medication is a healthy practice?