Friday, June 24, 2011

Will Miss #334 - 10 months of pregnancy

One of the situations which continues to fascinate and interest me is the way in which pregnancy lasts 10 months in Japan, but 9 months in Western countries. When I address this inconsistency with Japanese friends, they grow wide-eyed in a response which I sometimes feel scarily validates (to them) all of the nonsense about how Japanese people are biologically very different from foreigners (such as the longer intestines theory). At first, there is a sort of awe that Japanese women may gestate longer than other women. The truth is that in the case of pregnancy, doctors count 4 weeks as a "month" rather than using calendar months. There's a good explanation of it here.

I don't care how people count the weeks and months of their pregnancy, and have no interest in debating the merits or demerits of one system over the other, but I will miss the responses and discussions I get when I talk about this issue for the first time with Japanese people.