Childbirth traditions from around the world displayed in touching photo series

'Communities hold to traditions believed to keep the mothers safe and bring the babies good luck, happiness or good health'

Sabrina Barr
Monday 25 February 2019 08:22
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A poignant series of photos has been released documenting childbirth and motherhood traditions from around the world, in countries including India, Uganda, Sweden and Scotland.

Following the birth of a child, different communities have various ways of celebrating the momentous occasion.

Take Malawi, for example, where new mothers are served a special porridge that's believed to provide them with energy and essential nutrients.

Or Madagascar, where new mothers wear a "masonjoany" mask, a paste that's made from a grounded sandalwood tree branch to protect them from evil spirits.

These rituals and several more were captured on camera by non-profit organisation WaterAid, in a series of images that pay tribute to the beauty of childbirth and familial love.

Click through the WaterAid childbirth rituals photo series below:

Many rituals carried out by communities following childbirth involve water.

Yet one in nine people across the globe don't have access to clean water, with one in three health centres not being able to provide patients with water that's safe to drink.

WaterAid, which was first established in 1981, helps people living in poor communities access clean water, healthy sanitation and education regarding hygiene.

Tim Wainwright, the NGO's chief executive, explained that while many communities conduct rituals for new mothers with the belief they'll be provided with protection, for some, this isn't a reality.

“The birth of a new baby is a time of great joy and celebration, and all over the world, communities hold to traditions believed to keep the mothers safe and bring the babies good luck, happiness or good health," he said.

"But for the millions of mothers who have no choice but attend a health centre without clean water, they do not have the most important thing to welcome any new life – clean water and a hygienic environment."

The photo series has been launched as part of WaterAid's Water Effect campaign, an initiative that aims to provide mothers and babies with clean water, healthy sanitation and good hygiene in health centres across the globe.

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